Yann Ehrlacher crowned world champion as uncle Yvan Muller takes race victory

Yvan Muller took victory in the second race of the day at Motorland Aragón, but it was his nephew Yann Ehrlacher who stole the show, becoming the youngest ever FIA World Touring Car (WTCR) champion with a race to spare.

It was a perfect start for Muller from pole position, but fellow front-row starter Norbert Michelisz was forced to defend from Gilles Magnus. The Hungarian’s defences were in vain however, as the young Belgian managed to stick around the outside of Michelisz through turn one.

Further back, there was drama towards the end of the first lap as Ehrlacher began to fall back into the clutches of the pack behind. Four cars attempted to squeeze into the same part of the track around him, resulting in Bence Boldizs having to suddenly stand on the anchors in the middle of the corner.

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With nowhere to go, Ehrlacher’s main title rival Esteban Guerrieri hit the rear quarter of Boldizs’ CUPRA, ending Guerrieri’s race and any faint hopes of the Argentine winning the championship.

On lap three, there were more fisticuffs in the midfield, this time instigated by Thed Björk dropping back to protect the struggling Ehrlacher. As the charging pack swarmed, everyone effectively tripped over each other, leaving an enticing gap for Aurélien Comte to move into, gaining about five positions as he did so.

However, more contact ensued, and Comte was soon back down the order again. At the end of it all, Boldizs, Guerrieri, Nathanaël Berthon, Santiago Urrutia, Tom Coronel and Gabriele Tarquini had all been forced into retirement.

Once things had calmed down by the halfway point, Ehrlacher had emerged from the midfield in sixth position, just ahead of the Honda of Néstor Girolami. As things stood, this would be enough for the Frenchman to secure championship glory.

The total number of running cars then dropped to fifteen following an apparent mechanical failure for José Manuel Sapag. This meant that all of the remaining circulating drivers were now in line to score points.

However, there was still more attrition to come. A sight which has become all too familiar, Girolami’s Honda suddenly suffered from a catastrophic engine failure, ending Münnich Motorsport’s hopes of overhauling Cyan Racing in the teams’ standings.

The safety car was then deployed in order to retrieve the stricken Honda on lap eight, eventually being recalled leaving just a two-lap sprint to the flag.

At the restart, Jean-Karl Vernay was unable to pose any real threat to Muller, who brought home his Lynk & Co for what was remarkably his first race victory of the year.

Vernay followed him home in second place, and after a tight battle with Gilles Magnus, Mikel Azcona crossed the line in third at his home venue. For Vernay though, that result was enough to secure the 2020 WTCR Trophy title for independent drivers.

Norbert Michelisz equalled his best result of the season in fifth, but all eyes were on the driver behind him.

Finishing the race in sixth position, Yann Ehrlacher had done enough to be crowned the youngest ever FIA World Touring Car Champion. Not only that, but Cyan Racing had also secured the teams’ honours for 2020 as well.

As a marker of how efficient the Swedish team has been all year, Björk finished up as rear-gunner to Ehrlacher in seventh, having successfully protected the team’s golden goose from the pack behind.

Attila Tassi wound up in eighth, just ahead of Luca Filippi who took his first top ten result of the season in ninth. Tiago Monteiro rounded out the top ten.

For Ehrlacher however, it was now time to celebrate. Having wrapped up the championship, the Frenchman can now enjoy the last remaining race of the day without having to worry about any title permutations.

Race three will conclude the season later this afternoon, with the lights set to go out at 15:15 CEST (14:15 GMT).

Race result

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 100 Yvan MULLER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR 12 29:23.671 2:15.965 1
2 69 Jean-Karl VERNAY Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR 12 2.796 2:16.255 6
3 96 Mikel AZCONA Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición 12 4.939 2:16.559 5
4 16 Gilles MAGNUS Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 12 6.110 2:17.317 3
5 1 Norbert MICHELISZ BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR 12 6.292 2:17.237 2
6 68 Yann EHRLACHER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR 12 6.733 2:17.202 9
7 11 Thed BJÖRK Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 03 TCR 12 7.840 2:16.950 7
8 9 Attila TASSI ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 12 9.413 2:16.552 14
9 25 Luca FILIPPI Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR 12 10.130 2:17.571 21
10 18 Tiago MONTEIRO ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 12 10.631 2:17.801 16
11 8 Luca ENGSTLER Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 12 10.930 2:17.968 15
12 34 Aurélien COMTE Vuković Motorsport Renault Mégane RS TCR 12 13.531 2:17.899 17
13 27 Mitchell CHEAH Min Jie Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 12 14.423 2:19.476 20
14 99 Gábor KISMARTY-LECHNER Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición 12 15.964 2:19.367 22
15 31 Tom CORONEL Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 11 + 1 LAP 2:16.516 13
R 29 Néstor GIROLAMI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 7 DNF 2:17.120 12
R 12 Santiago URRUTIA Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 03 TCR 7 DNF 2:16.272 10
R 28 José Manuel SAPAG Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 5 DNF 2:20.028 19
R 30 Gabriele TARQUINI BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR 5 DNF 2:16.702 4
R 17 Nathanaël BERTHON Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 5 DNF 2:17.952 8
R 55 Bence BOLDIZS Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición 3 DNF N/A 11
R 86 Esteban GUERRIERI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 1 DNF N/A 18

WTCR points deficit after Round 15
Graphic: TouringCars.Net

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