Yann Ehrlacher has taken victory in the main race at Adria International Raceway, extending his FIA World Touring Car Cup championship lead to 35 points over Frederic Vervisch.
The Frenchman got a much better getaway from pole than his stablemate Santiago Urrutia had managed in race one, and was able to fend off fellow front row starter Vervisch into the first bend.
As the cars all bunched up on the inside, Vervisch’s team-mate Gilles Magnus hung on around the outside to squeeze past Thed Bjork for third, giving the Audi driver a nice buffer to the rest of the pack.
Behind them, it was incredibly congested in the midfield. Contact between Yvan Muller and Nestor Girolami forced the Argentine wide at the exit of turn three, putting him right into the path of Jean-Karl Vernay who in turn had been squeezed wide by Tom Coronel.
The result was that Girolami and Vernay made heavy contact, ending Girolami’s race, while Coronel also picked up terminal suspension damage. Vernay picked up a puncture for his troubles, and with that, his championship charge all but ground to a halt.
As the race settled down, Esteban Guerrieri emerged as one of the biggest beneficiaries of the opening lap drama, having climbed up to fifth from ninth on the grid. Likewise, Luca Engstler had a stunning start, shooting up into ninth from sixteenth thanks to a robust move on Rob Huff at turn two.
One driver who didn’t have a great start however was race one winner, Urrutia. By lap eight, the Argentine was beginning to fight back through the order though, closing in on the Honda of Attila Tassi for twelfth place. A good slipstream down the start-finish straight allowed the Uruguayan to take to the outside line into turn one, however he ran too deep into the bend, ensuring Tassi was able to hang on to the position.
Meanwhile, Gabriele Tarquini was keen to put on a show in what will be his last ever home race in the WTCR. At the second of the switchbacks, the Italian veteran scythed up the inside of Guerrieri’s Honda, taking him up into fifth from twelfth on the grid, therefore snatching vital championship points away from the Argentine.
A couple of laps later, Tarquini had closed in on the rear bumper of Muller for fourth, but the status quo would remain until the chequered flag.
Out in front though, nobody had any answer to the pace of Ehrlacher, and so the Frenchman took his second race victory of the season.
With second place, Vervisch is now the closest of Ehrlacher’s challengers in the WTCR title fight, but a 35-point deficit will be tricky to make up with just one round left to go.
Magnus, meanwhile, took the final step on the podium in this race, and with that wrapped up the WTCR Trophy for independent drivers.
Muller crossed the line in fourth ahead of Tarquini, but with the Lynk & Co driver under investigation for his role in the first lap incident with Girolami, this particular finishing order is under question.
Guerrieri brought his car home in sixth position, just ahead of Tarquini’s Hyundai team-mate Norbert Michelisz.
After the kerfuffle with Magnus at turns one and two, Bjork would have to settle for eighth place, while Engstler and Huff rounded out the top ten.
Revised race result
|1||68||Yann EHRLACHER||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||17||31:49.017||1:51.500||1|
|2||22||Frédéric VERVISCH||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||17||3.356||1:51.459||2|
|3||16||Gilles MAGNUS||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||17||4.092||1:51.493||4|
|4||100||Yvan MULLER||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||17||5.994||1:51.923||5|
|5||3||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||17||6.507||1:51.621||12|
|6||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||17||8.555||1:51.832||9|
|7||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||17||9.643||1:52.114||7|
|8||11||Thed BJÖRK||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||17||10.130||1:52.231||3|
|9||79||Rob HUFF||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||17||12.046||1:52.099||15|
|10||8||Luca ENGSTLER||Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||17||11.146||1:52.223||16|
|11||96||Mikel AZCONA||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||17||13.231||1:52.118||17|
|12||9||Attila TASSI||ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||17||17.869||1:52.344||11|
|13||12||Santiago URRUTIA||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||17||20.339||1:52.300||10|
|14||17||Nathanaël BERTHON||Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||17||20.804||1:52.468||14|
|15||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||17||23.442||1:52.586||19|
|16||55||Bence BOLDIZS||Zengő Motorsport Drivers’ Academy||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||17||26.074||1:52.688||18|
|17||28||Jordi GENÉ||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||17||27.021||1:52.464||21|
|18||82||Nicola BALDAN||Target Competition||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||17||27.800||1:52.914||20|
|19||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||16||+ 1 LAP||1:52.272||13|
|R||32||Tom CORONEL||Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||1||DNF||N/A||8|
|R||29||Néstor GIROLAMI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||1||DNF||N/A||6|