Hyundai’s Mikel Azcona claimed victory in the reversed-grid second FIA World Touring Car Cup race on the streets of Pau, after pole-sitter Norbert Michelisz and fellow front-row starter Attila Tassi crashed at the start.
Michelisz had qualified in tenth on Saturday to bag pole for the partially-reversed race, with fellow Hungarian Tassi sharing the front row.
When the lights went out, Michelisz made a worse start than Tassi, but the BRC Racing driver still moved over to cover off his rival.
By this stage, Tassi was already alongside and despite moving his Honda as far over to the right as possible, the two made contact.
Michelisz was pitched into the barriers with front-end damage, whilst Tassi limped back to the pits for a tyre change.
The safety car was needed until the end of lap three for debris to be cleared, with Azcona having assumed the lead in the chaos from third on the grid, with Cyan Racing’s Santiago Urrutia in second.
With racing resumed, Spaniard Azcona was soon able to open up a margin of over two seconds over the chasing Uruguayan, who despite being fast in Saturday’s practice, had no answer to the leading Hyundai.
In the end Azcona won the race, his fourth in WTCR, by almost four seconds, the tenth biggest winning margin in WTCR to-date, ahead of Urrutia in second.
Ma Qing Hua completed the podium, after Cyan Racing team-mate Yann Ehrlacher ran in third for the first 11 laps before the reigning champion had to pit with a front-right puncture and dropped to last.
Comtoyou Racing’s Nathanaël Berthon was the leading Audi in fourth, ahead of Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri in fifth.
Yvan Muller took the chequered flag in sixth, ahead of the second Münnich Honda of Néstor Girolami in seventh.
Rob Huff was the best of the Zengő Motorsport CUPRA’s in eighth, with the top ten being completed by Cyan’s Thed Björk and Team Engstler’s Tiago Monteiro.
Comtoyou Racing’s Gilles Magnus failed to finish after crashing into the back of Muller in the opening lap drama, with his team-mate Mehid Bennani also succumbing on the opening lap.
Ehrlacher eventually took the chequered flag in 15th to score a single point.
After the first two races, race one winner Girolami leads the championship with 49 points, ahead of Guerrieri (42) and Azcona (41).
The next event takes place at the Nürburgring Nordschleife on 27 – 28 May.
|1||96||Mikel AZCONA||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||21||31:55.170||1:21.331||3|
|2||12||Santiago URRUTIA||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||21||3.876||1:21.864||4|
|3||55||MA Qing Hua||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||21||4.378||1:22.123||6|
|4||17||Nathanaël BERTHON||Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021||21||6.563||1:22.111||7|
|5||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||21||7.679||1:22.345||9|
|6||100||Yvan MULLER||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||21||8.406||1:22.484||8|
|7||29||Néstor GIROLAMI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||21||9.168||1:22.623||10|
|8||79||Rob HUFF||Zengő Motorsport Services Kft||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||21||9.455||1:22.510||13|
|9||11||Thed BJÖRK||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||21||10.147||1:21.932||12|
|10||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||21||12.235||1:22.273||15|
|11||99||Dániel NAGY||Zengő Motorsport Services Kft||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||21||14.107||1:22.424||17|
|12||33||Tom CORONEL||Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021||21||14.736||1:22.468||16|
|13||9||Attila TASSI||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||21||19.798||1:22.701||2|
|14||64||Eric CAYROLLE||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021||21||28.208||1:22.595||18|
|15||68||Yann EHRLACHER||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||21||55.829||1:21.772||5|
|16||16||Gilles MAGNUS||Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021||1||DNF||N/A||11|
|17||25||Mehdi BENNANI||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021||1||DNF||N/A||14|
|18||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||1||DNF||N/A||1|