WTCR Race of France 2022 - 07-08/05/2022

In 100 words: FIA international-level racing returns to the streets of Pau for the first time since 2018 with the revival of the world-famous Grand Prix de Pau in southwest France. Having previously hosted the FIA World Touring Car Championship between 2007 and 2009, Circuit de Pau-Ville lies 20 kilometres east of Circuit Pau-Arnos, the setting of the inaugural WTCR Race of France in October 2021. Pau has been home to car racing of varying types since the 1930s with legends such as Jim Clark, Juan Manuel Fangio, Lewis Hamilton, Sébastien Loeb, Jackie Stewart taking victories on the challenging undulating layout over time.

WTCR RACE OF FRANCE 2022: THE WEEKEND’S BIG WINNERS

RACE WINNERS
Race 1: Néstor Girolami (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR
Race 2: Mikel Azcona (ESP) BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse, Hyundai Elantra N TCR

WTCR TROPHY WINNERS
Race 1:
 Mehdi Bennani (MAR) Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS
Race 2: Rob Huff (GBR) Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición

POLE POSITION
Race 1: Néstor Girolami (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR, 1m19.783s (124.5kph)
Race 2 (reverse grid): Norbert Michelisz (HUN) BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse, Hyundai Elantra N TCR

FASTEST LAP
Race 1: Rob Huff (GBR) Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición, 1m22.293s (120.7kph)
Race 2: Mikel Azcona (ESP) BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse, Hyundai Elantra N TCR, 1m21.331s (122.1kph)

GOODYEAR #FOLLOWTHELEADER
Néstor Girolami (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR, 49 points

QUALIFYING REPORT

RACE REPORT: GIROLAMI AND AZCONA STAR AS WTCR SEASON FIVE IS GO IN PAU

*Honda-powered ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport celebrates Race 1 1-2 as Guerrieri takes second
*Azcona wins Race 2 after BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse team-mate Michelisz collides with Tassi
*Mulller, Urrutia and Ma take podium finishes in Cyan Racing-run Lynk & Cos
*Bennani and Huff share WTCR Trophy laurels on a sunny day in southwestern France
*Thousands of fans watch the action on Pau’s challenging street track

WTCR Clean Fuels for All Race of France Race 1 classification (30 minutes + 1 lap)
1 Néstor Girolami (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR, 32m03.148s (120.3kph)
2 Esteban Guerrieri (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR +1.239s
3 Yvan Mulller (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR +2.314s
4 Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR +2.991s
5 Ma Qing Hua (CHN) Cyan Performance Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR +6.001s
Fastest lap: Rob Huff (GBR) Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición, 1m22.293s (120.7kph)

WTCR Clean Fuels for All Race of France Race 2 classification (25 minutes + 1 lap)
1 Mikel Azcona (ESP) BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse, Hyundai Elantra N TCR, 31m55.170s (122.1kph)
2 Santiago Urrutia (URY) Cyan Performance Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR +3.876s
3 Ma Qing Hua (CHN) Cyan Performance Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR +4.378s
4 Nathanaël Berthon (FRA) Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS +6.563s
5 Esteban Guerrieri (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR +7.679s
Fastest lap: Azcona, BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse, Hyundai Elantra N TCR, 1m21.331s (122.1kph)

WTCR provisional standings after Round 2 of 20
Goodyear #FollowTheLeader: Néstor Girolami, 49 points
2 Esteban Guerrieri, 42 points
3 Mikel Azcona, 41 points
4 Santiago Urrutia, 30 points
5 Ma Qing Hua, 30 points

The 2022 WTCR − FIA Touring Car World Cup got off to a sensational start on the streets of Pau with wins for Néstor Girolami and Mikel Azcona, but frustration for King of WTCR Yann Ehlacher who twice finished outside the podium.

Hosting FIA World Touring Car racing for the first time since 2009 as part of a combined event with the opening event of the inaugural FIA ETCR eTouring Car World Cup, Circuit de Pau-Ville attracted thousands of fans with hot and sunny conditions helping to create a true festival atmosphere.

Girolami took the Race 1 victory in his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR with team-mate and fellow Argentine Esteban Guerrieri finishing just behind as Yvan Muller completed the podium for Cyan Racing Lynk & Co.

Azcona’s win in Race 2 followed a dramatic start when his BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse team-mate Norbert Michelisz collided with fellow front-row starter Attila Tassi (LIQUI Moly Team Engstler). Although several cars suffered contact as they threaded their way through the incident, racing quickly resumed with Santiago Urrutia putting Azcona under pressure at the restart, albeit to no avail. Ehrlacher was on course to follow Urrutia home in third but a damaged tyre forced him to pit.

The Frenchman’s delay let in China’s Ma Qing Hua to round out the podium places for Cyan Performance Lynk & Co on his return to the WTCR after two seasons away. By finishing seventh, Girolami is the Goodyear #FollowTheLeader with a narrow seven-point advantage over Guerrieri with Azcona one point behind Guerrieri.

Ehrlacher began his WTCR title defence with fourth in Race 1, one place ahead of Ma as Azcona, Urrutia (Cyan Performance Lynk & Co), Gilles Magnus (Comtoyou Team Audi Sport), Michelisz and Mehdi Bennani completed the top 10. Bennani (Comtoyou Team Audi Sport) took the WTCR Trophy honours ahead of Tom Coronel (Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport) and Rob Huff (Zengő Motorsport).

Berthon hit back from missing out on fourth in Race 1 with fourth in Race 2 ahead of Guerrieri, Muller, Girolami, Huff, Cyan Performance Lynk & Co’s Thed Björk and LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler driver Tiago Monteiro. Huff won the WTCR Trophy category ahead of his Zengő Motorsport team-mate Dániel Nagy and Coronel. Pau-based wildcard racer Éric Cayrolle placed P14 in both races.

RACE 1 FLASH REPORT

RACE 2 FLASH REPORT

RACE WINNER QUOTES

RACE 1: Néstor Girolami (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR
“It was really nice to start the season like that and to get a 1-2 at Pau for the first race of the season feels so good. We knew the key thing of the race was the start and we did it well. It was very similar to Esteban. We turned around in P1 and somehow controlled it a little bit, the tyre degradation was consistency high and I didn’t want to use the kerbs because I knew for the tyres it’s not the best. Mid-race I was just trying to survive and I was also informed one Audi had a puncture on the front left so I was even more cautious about that. I would say it is so difficult to go in the car slow at a street circuit because you are prepared to go 100 per cent, and when you start changing reference it can be even more tricky, so you have to be even more focused about this. It is so difficult to slow down. That’s why I tried pushed every lap and tried to do it quick, because if you slow down too much you lose the focus and your concentration is going down, then the mistake happens. I tried to keep 80-90 per cent of the pace and that’s how I finished the fight.”

RACE 2: Mikel Azcona (ESP) BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse, Hyundai Elantra N TCR
“I’m really happy, an amazing race. First of all I’m very sorry for my team-mate Norbi, I hope he’s well. For the race to start my first weekend with Hyundai Motorsport and BRC with a win on the streets of Pau, my first time here, is amazing. I have to say the track is awesome. The car felt amazing through the whole race, especially at the beginning. I was able to make a good distance from Urrutia from the middle of the race until the end. Degradation on the front tyres was very good, so I was able to keep the car in one piece until the chequered flag. I was checking the mirrors in the crash at the start because Urrutia did a better launch than me, so I was checking him just to defend myself. Suddenly I looked to the front and saw all the cars in front of me and I needed to avoid it in a very short time. I’m sorry for Norbi, I need to see the video.”

PREVIOUS WINNERS:

2021 (Circuit Pau-Arnos):
Race 1: Frédéric Vervisch (BEL) Audi RS 3 LMS
Race 2: Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA) Hyundai Elantra N TCR

ESSENTIALS
Name:
CIRCUIT DE PAU-VILLE
Location:
ASAC Basco Bearnais, Palais D'Aragon, Bd D'Aragon, Pau F-64000, France
Track length:
2.760 kilometres
Race 1 distance:
30 minutes + 1 lap
Race 2 distance:
25 minutes + 1 lap
BEST LAPS
WTCR qualifying lap record:
Néstor Girolami (ARG)
ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
Honda Civic Type R TCR
1m19.783s (124.5kph)
WTCR race lap record:
Mikel Azcona (ESP)
BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse
Hyundai Elantra N TCR
1m21.331s (122.1kph)