Santiago Urrutia ends the year on a high with maiden WTCR victory

Santiago Urrutia has taken his maiden victory in the final FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) race of 2020, held at the Motorland Aragón circuit in Spain.

With all of the championships decided, the pressure was well and truly off for the final race of the WTCR season. Everyone would therefore be able to go hell for leather in race three, without having to fear the points consequences.

Unfortunately though, neither Néstor Girolami nor José Manuel Sapag would be able to join in with the fun and games as both were unable to resolve their cars’ engine failures in time for the start of the race.

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Urrutia got away well from pole, as did Yann Ehrlacher alongside him. Thed Björk looked to make it a Cyan Racing 1-2-3 on entry to the first corner, but instead the Swede had to concede fourth position to Jean-Karl Vernay after being held up by Nathanaël Berthon.

On lap two, Vernay had evidently grown tired of looking at the back of Berthon’s Audi already. In a rather unorthodox move, the Frenchman teed up an overtake against his compatriot on the outside line through turn twelve.

From then on, Berthon would go backwards, conceding to Björk at the penultimate bend, and then both Mikel Azcona and Yvan Muller on the following lap.

In the midfield, things were heating up too. A few laps into the race, Attila Tassi hopped across the turn twelve curbs to brush past Gilles Magnus for ninth, while not far behind them Luca Filippi and Tiago Monteiro were engaged in a fierce battle for twelfth.

Berthon’s woes then continued, as Tassi made his way up into seventh place having already dispatched with the Hyundai of Norbert Michelisz. The young Hungarian was pushing hard in this final race, this being the seventh position that he had gained from his fourteenth-place grid spot.

At the end of lap five, Azcona could sense an opportunity to get by Björk for fourth position. A late defence from the Swede saw the pair of them compromised into the penultimate bend, paving the way for Muller to sweep past them both.

With that, Muller was up into second place in the overall drivers’ standings, with the likes of Vernay just up the road in third and Esteban Guerrieri way off the pace down in twelfth.

In fact, the Argentine’s day was about to go from bad to worse. In a desperate attempt to defend from Filippi behind, Guerrieri fell foul of the track limits regulations, resulting in a stewards investigation to potentially compound his woes even further.

To mitigate that, Attila Tassi was then instructed to drop back and fall behind his senior team-mate, in the hope that the extra point or two gained would help Guerrieri to maintain his position in the top three of the overall standings (should he avoid a time penalty).

All in all, the race perhaps wasn’t as dramatic as some might have expected, and up at the front, Urrutia cruised home to take a comfortable race victory – his first in the WTCR.

Behind him, Ehrlacher would complete his title-winning year in style with second place, while the 2020 independents’ champion Vernay completed the podium in third.

Fourth place for Muller would ensure his status as Vice Champion this year, making it a 1-2 result for the uncle and nephew in the overall leaderboard.

Azcona would round out the 2020 season with fifth place on home turf, just ahead of Björk who made it four Lynk & Cos in the top six.

Seventh place would have to do for outgoing champion Michelisz. It has been a title defence to forget for the Hungarian, who will be hopeful of bouncing back much stronger with a renewed Hyundai attack next year.

Berthon struggled home to finish in eighth place after starting from third on the grid, while Comtoyou Racing stablemate Magnus tailed him home in ninth.

Guerrieri provisionally completes the top ten after Tassi’s positional sacrifice, though question marks remain over whether or not he’ll receive a track limits penalty after the race.

Race result

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 12 Santiago URRUTIA Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 03 TCR 12 12 LAPS 2:15.272 1
2 68 Yann EHRLACHER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR 12 4.355 2:15.506 2
3 69 Jean-Karl VERNAY Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR 12 11.078 2:16.136 5
4 100 Yvan MULLER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR 12 12.204 2:16.276 10
5 96 Mikel AZCONA Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición 12 15.333 2:16.586 6
6 11 Thed BJÖRK Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 03 TCR 12 19.883 2:16.862 4
7 1 Norbert MICHELISZ BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR 12 27.083 2:16.509 9
8 17 Nathanaël BERTHON Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 12 32.068 2:18.387 3
9 16 Gilles MAGNUS Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 12 33.081 2:17.261 8
10 86 Esteban GUERRIERI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 12 34.732 2:18.048 17
11 9 Attila TASSI ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 12 35.151 2:16.350 14
12 18 Tiago MONTEIRO ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 12 36.221 2:17.590 16
13 25 Luca FILIPPI Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR 12 36.530 2:18.181 18
14 30 Gabriele TARQUINI BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR 12 36.840 2:18.316 7
15 8 Luca ENGSTLER Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 12 37.411 2:18.127 15
16 31 Tom CORONEL Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 12 38.669 2:18.142 13
17 55 Bence BOLDIZS Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición 12 42.323 2:18.611 11
18 34 Aurélien COMTE Vuković Motorsport Renault Mégane RS TCR 12 42.697 2:18.812 22
19 99 Gábor KISMARTY-LECHNER Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición 12 1:13.414 2:19.085 20
20 27 Mitchell CHEAH Min Jie Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 10 + 2 LAPS 2:19.151 21
R 29 Néstor GIROLAMI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 0 DNF N/A 12
R 28 José Manuel SAPAG Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 0 DNF N/A 19

WTCR points deficit after Round 16
Graphic: TouringCars.Net

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