Santiago Urrutia fights back to win Adria reverse-grid race

Santiago Urrutia has won the reverse-grid FIA World Touring Car Cup race at Adria Raceway, elevating him up into second place in the championship standings – equal on points with Honda’s Esteban Guerrieri.

However, from second place on the grid, it was Guerrieri who made the best getaway, managing to slot into the lead ahead of polesitter Urrutia before turn one. Nevertheless, the Lynk & Co driver was back in front by the end of the opening lap thanks to a last gasp move at the final corner. 

Meanwhile, Thed Bjork dropped down the order to act as rear-gunner for championship-leading team-mate Yann Ehrlacher. However, contact from behind in sector two soon put an end to that, pushing Bjork out of contention. 

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Further back, Nestor Girolami made an important move on Frederic Vervisch, stealing crucial points away from Audi’s title challenger. Luckily for the Belgian, his compatriot and team-mate Gilles Magnus was the next car in the queue, so it was unlikely that he would fall back any further. 

A few car lengths behind, Ehrlacher conceded tenth place to his key title rival Jean-Karl Vernay, who was a man on a mission following a disappointing qualifying session yesterday. It nearly all went wrong for the points leader though, following front-to-rear contact at turn one with Gabriele Tarquini. In the end however, it was Tarquini who was most compromised by the incident, with Mikel Azcona scything past on the inside as the Italian ran deep into the corner. 

Vernay’s charge continued, meanwhile. Having closed in on the three-car train of Audis, he attempted to get by rear-gunner Nathanael Berthon on the inside of the penultimate bend. However, this meant that he would be stuck on the outside for the final corner, allowing Berthon to hold onto the position. 

On lap nine, there was a shuffle amongst the Comtoyou Racing pack. Seemingly struggling for outright pace, Vervisch allowed Magnus ahead of him in the hope that his younger team-mate could perhaps get ahead of Girolami in front, pushing the Honda driver back into the clutches of the Belgian. The plan worked perfectly, and a few laps later the pair of them were ahead of the Argentine.

Meanwhile, just behind, Vernay finally made his robust move on Berthon stick at the penultimate corner, leading to an equally robust fightback from the Audi driver. In the end, side to side contact at the first of the switchbacks put Berthon into the barriers, and eventually, the pit lane.

While the mid-pack was busy going at each other, Tom Coronel in the fourth of the Audis managed to pass Guerrieri for second place at the penultimate bend as well. Guerrieri fought back immediately though, sticking his nose up the inside at the final bend and at turn one, but the Dutchman was able to fend him off.

Onto the last lap, Tarquini’s comeback through the order continued. Having dealt with Azcona, the Italian then got the better of a tentative Ehrlacher for tenth. 

Out in the lead though, Urrutia was largely unchallenged en route to victory in race one. Coronel achieved his best result of the year in second place, while Guerrieri will be somewhat disappointed with third after having led for most of the first lap. 

A second further back, Michelisz was Hyundai’s best performer in fourth, while Muller rounded out the top five.

As planned, Magnus was able to concede sixth position to title-challenging team-mate Vervisch, ahead of Girolami who managed to hold Vernay at bay for eighth. 

Retiring home hero Tarquini marked the occasion with a hard-fought top ten finish, just in front of Ehrlacher who had successfully managed to limit the damage in eleventh. 

Azcona wound up as best of the CUPRA contingent in twelfth, while Bjork fought back to thirteenth ahead of Azcona’s team-mate Rob Huff. Luca Engstler scored the final point for Hyundai in fifth. 

Race two gets underway shortly at 12:00 local time (11:00 GMT).

Revised race result

POS NO CL NAT DRIVER ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 12 Santiago URRUTIA Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 14 26:17.538 1:51.980 1
2 32 Tom CORONEL Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 14 1.432 1:51.969 3
3 86 Esteban GUERRIERI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 3.352 1:52.029 2
4 5 Norbert MICHELISZ BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai Elantra N TCR 14 4.675 1:52.183 4
5 100 Yvan MULLER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 14 5.711 1:52.252 6
6 22 Frédéric VERVISCH Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 14 6.957 1:52.161 9
7 16 Gilles MAGNUS Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 14 7.735 1:52.051 7
8 29 Néstor GIROLAMI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 9.940 1:52.209 5
9 3 Gabriele TARQUINI BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai Elantra N TCR 14 10.997 1:52.076 11
10 68 Yann EHRLACHER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 14 11.687 1:52.370 10
11 96 Mikel AZCONA Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 14 12.075 1:52.357 17
12 11 Thed BJÖRK Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 14 12.784 1:52.298 8
13 79 Rob HUFF Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 14 15.279 1:52.485 15
14 69 Jean-Karl VERNAY Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai Elantra N TCR 14 15.400 1:52.107 12
15 8 Luca ENGSTLER Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai Elantra N TCR 14 16.825 1:52.841 16
16 9 Attila TASSI ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 17.258 1:52.688 14
17 18 Tiago MONTEIRO ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 18.672 1:52.463 19
18 55 Bence BOLDIZS Zengő Motorsport Drivers’ Academy CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 14 20.038 1:52.645 18
19 82 Nicola BALDAN Target Competition Hyundai Elantra N TCR 14 23.616 1:52.797 20
20 28 Jordi GENÉ Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 14 26.561 1:52.754 21
21 17 Nathanaël BERTHON Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 11 + 3 LAPS 1:52.250 13
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