Santiago Urrutia heads Cyan Racing 1-2 in Vila Real after team orders

Santiago Urrutia claimed victory in the opening FIA World Touring Car Cup race on the streets of Vila Real in Portugal, although only after Cyan Racing ordered his team-mate Yann Ehrlacher to give up his lead.

At the start, pole-sitter Urrutia made a clean getaway to assume the lead, as further back Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri stalled on the grid, having started from 14th.

Further around the opening lap, Cyan Racing’s Yvan Muller attempted to dive down the inside of Comtoyou Racing’s Gilles Magnus, but the two made contact which terminally damaged the Audi, whilst Muller had to pit for a new tyre after a puncture.

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Urrutia and Ehrlacher were able to scamper away into an unchallenged lead, with Münnich Motorsport’s Néstor Girolami in third not having the pace to keep up, the Honda driver already over two seconds behind after the opening lap.

At the end of the third lap, Urrutia elected to take his joker lap, which handed Ehrlacher the lead. Although reigning champion Ehrlacher then took his joker a lap later, he retained the lead in front of his Uruguayan team-mate.

However, a few laps later, Ehrlacher was ordered via team radio to give the lead back to Urrutia, and he dutifully did so on the 11th lap.

Thereafter the order at the front was fixed, giving Urrutia a second win of the season ahead of Ehrlacher, and also the team’s first 1-2 finish of 2022.

Girolami claimed third, over five seconds off the leaders but able to successfully defend the final podium position.

Hyundai’s Norbert Michelisz was fourth, the Hungarian having jumped ahead of Cyan’s Ma Qing Hua when the two took their joker laps on lap four and three respectively.

Ma was fifth, having dropped behind Hyundai’s Mikel Azcona after his joker before successfully re-passing the Spaniard on track for sixth early on, which became fifth after Comtoyou Racing’s Mehdi Bennani took his joker.

Zengő Motorsport’s rob Huff was a strong sixth, the CUPRA driver having gained a place past Bennani when the Moroccan took his joker.

Bennani finished seventh, but the Audi driver’s race was not without incident. Having dropped to seventh, he was clearly holding up the car’s behind, and on lap 11 when Cyan Racing’s Thed Björk attempted to pass the two made contact, breaking Björk’s suspension and forcing him into retirement.

Championship leader Azcona finished in eighth, although it could have been worse for the Hyundai driver as on lap nine he actually dropped out of the top ten when Bennani baulked the train of cars following, leading to Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Attila Tassi and Tiago Monteiro getting by.

Tassi actually finished ahead of Bennani and Azcona on the road, but the Honda driver was handed a five-second time penalty for cutting the chicane when Bennani had baulked those behind, gaining an unfair advantage in the process. He was classified in ninth as a result.

Comtoyou Racing’s Nathanaël Berthon completed the top ten, after overtaking home hero Monteiro four laps from the finish, leaving Monteiro to take 11th.

Race two is scheduled to get underway at 17:15 local time (17:15 BST).

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 16 32:55.515 2:01.999 1
2 68 Yann EHRLACHER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 16 0.264 2:02.019 2
3 29 Néstor GIROLAMI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 16 5.236 2:02.497 3
4 5 Norbert MICHELISZ BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai Elantra N TCR 16 5.911 2:02.874 5
5 55 MA Qing Hua Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 16 6.651 2:02.966 4
6 79 Rob HUFF Zengő Motorsport Services Kft CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 16 7.103 2:02.801 7
7 25 Mehdi BENNANI Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021 16 14.495 2:03.448 6
8 96 Mikel AZCONA BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai Elantra N TCR 16 14.693 2:03.170 8
9 9 Attila TASSI Liqui Moly Team Engstler Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 16 16.463 2:02.541 9
10 17 Nathanaël BERTHON Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021 16 22.489 2:03.449 15
11 18 Tiago MONTEIRO Liqui Moly Team Engstler Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 16 32.676 2:02.968 13
12 99 Dániel NAGY Zengő Motorsport Services Kft CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 16 35.053 2:03.972 17
13 33 Tom CORONEL Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021 15 + 1 LAP 2:03.859 16
14 100 Yvan MULLER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 15 + 1 LAP 2:03.728 10
R 11 Thed BJÖRK Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 10 DNF 2:02.881 12
R 86 Esteban GUERRIERI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 10 DNF 2:03.179 14
R 16 Gilles MAGNUS Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021 8 DNF 2:03.414 11
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