WTCR Race of Czech Republic 2021 - 08-10/10/2021

In 100 words: Measuring 4.212 kilometres, Autodrom Most hosted the 2017 FIA European Touring Car Cup finale. It’s located approximately 70 kilometres north of the Czech capital Prague and within easy reach of German cities Dresden and Leipzig. As well as action from the WTCR, The Most World Weekend includes the deciding round of the 2021 FIM Endurance World Championship from Discovery Sports Events when leading riders will contest the 6 Hours of Most on Saturday October 9. The track layout offers an exciting blend of medium-speed and high-speed sweeps and turns with a long start/finish straight leading to an ultra-tight chicane.

WTCR RACE OF CZECH REPUBLIC 2021: THE WEEKEND’S BIG WINNERS

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

FIA WTCR JUNIOR TITLE WINNERS
Race 1:
 Luca Engstler (DEU) Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team, Hyundai Elantra N TCR
Race 2: Luca Engstler (DEU) Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team, Hyundai Elantra N TCR

WTCR TROPHY WINNERS
Race 1:
 Tom Coronel (NLD) Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS
Race 2: Gilles Magnus (BEL) Comtoyou Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS

POLE POSITION
Race 1 (reverse grid): 
Petr Fulín (CZE) Full in Race Academy, CUPRA Leon Competitión
Race 2: Mikel Azcona (ESP) Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competitión

FASTEST LAPS
Race 1: Néstor Girolami (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR, 1m40.057s (151.5kph)
Race 2: Mikel Azcona (ESP) Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competitión, 1m39.503s (152.3kph)

TAG HEUER BEST LAP TROPHY
Mikel Azcona (ESP) Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competitión, 1m39.503s (152.3kph)

TAG HEUER MOST VALUABLE DRIVER
Esteban Guerrieri (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR, 43 points

GOODYEAR #FOLLOWTHELEADER
Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR, 135 points

RACE REPORT: 10 FROM 10 AS GIROLAMI AND MICHELISZ MAKE THE MOST OF THEIR OPPORTUNITIES TO WIN IN WIDE-OPEN WTCR

*Girolami and Michelisz become winners nine and 10 of wide-open WTCR season

*Goodyear #FollowTheLeader Ehrlacher extends points advantage

*Guerrieri back in the title fight with double podium

*Azcona claims P2 in Race 2 after away day in Barcelona earns second TCR Europe title

*Spaniard completes memorable weekend with TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy

*Heartbreak for home hero Fulín from reversed-grid pole as contact puts him out of Race 1

*WTCR shares top billing with FIM Endurance World Championship at Autodrom Most

*All-action season resumes at Circuit Pau-Arnos in France next weekend

WTCR Race of Czech Republic Race 1 top 3

1 Néstor Girolami (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR, 26m26.520s.

2 Esteban Guerrieri (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR, +1.060s

3 Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, +1.440s

Fastest lap: Néstor Girolami (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR, 1m40.057s (151.5kph)

WTCR Race of Czech Republic Race 2 top 3

1 Norbert Michelisz (HUN) BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse, Hyundai Elantra N TCR, 43m40.427s (152.0kph)

2 Mikel Azcona (ESP) Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competitión, +1.508s

3 Esteban Guerrieri (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR, +11.043s

Fastest lap: Mikel Azcona (ESP) Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competitión, 1m39.503s (152.3kph)

Top 5 provisional standings after Round 10

1 Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR, 135 points

2 Esteban Guerrieri (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR, 115

3 Mikel Azcona (ESP) Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competitión, 109

4 Santiago Urrutia (URY) Cyan Performance Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR, 105

5 Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA) Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team, 102

The WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup boasts an incredible 10 winners from 10 races after Néstor Girolami and Norbert Michelisz became the latest drivers to top the podium in the all-action series when it visited Autodrom Most in Czech Republic for the first time.

Driving a Goodyear-equipped Honda Civic Type R TCR for ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Girolami triumphed in Race 1 ahead of team-mate Esteban Guerrieri before Michelisz held off a determined Mikel Azcona to win Race 2 for his first victory since WTCR Race of Malaysia in 2019 driving a Hyundai Elantra N TCR for BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse.

By finishing third in Race 1 and hot on Guerrieri’s heels in fourth place in Race 2, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co’s Yann Ehrlacher remains the Goodyear #FollowTheLeader with an increased 20-point margin over new second-placed driver Guerrieri heading to his home event, WTCR Race of France, at Circuit Pau-Arnos next weekend (October 15-17).

There were also strong performances from Yvan Muller, Thed Björk (Cyan Performance Lynk & Co) and Jean-Karl Vernay, who finished fourth, fifth and sixth in Race 1 respectively. Muller was in the top six again in Race 2, taking sixth place behind leading Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport driver Nathanaël Berthon, who finished fifth behind Ehrlacher.

Although a first victory of 2021 got away from CUPRA-powered Race 2 polesitter Mikel Azcona after he slid wide on exiting the first corner, the Spaniard’s second place and capture of the TAG Best Lap Trophy completed a memorable weekend for the Zengő Motorsport driver. Azcona flew back to his native Spain after WTCR Qualifying on Friday to secure his second TCR Europe title by taking a comfortable victory in yesterday’s first race before he flew back to Czech Republic late last night to take part in the two WTCR counters.

Luca Engstler finished as the top FIA WTCR Junior Driver Title contender in both races as Tom Coronel and Gilles Magnus shared the WTCR Trophy wins.

The Most World Weekend also featured an epic finale to the FIM Endurance World Championship for motorbikes when 70 milliseconds separated BMW Motorrad World Endurance Team from YART–Yamaha Official EWC Team in a thrilling finish.

RACE 1 REPORT: IT’S CZECH MATE AS GIROLAMI LEADS FELLOW HONDA-POWERED ACE GUERRIERI FOR FIRST 2021 WIN
Néstor Girolami headed Esteban Guerrieri for an ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport 1-2 to score his first victory of the year in Race 1 at WTCR Race of Czech Republic as the FIA WTCR − World Touring Car Cup made an eventful debut at Autodrom Most.

Girolami, the ninth winner from nine WTCR races, started second on the partially reversed grid, survived trouble at Turn 1 and then lead all the way as Guerreri’s sister Honda Civic Type R TCR held off Goodyear #FollowTheLeader Yann Ehrlacher throughout the 15-lap race to claim second.

Girolami dragged past reverse-grid pole position starter Petr Fulín from the lights, the Wildcard entry having reported clutch problems before the start. Then at Turn 1 Norbert Michelisz nudged the rear of Yvan Muller’s Lynk & Co, which knocked fifth-placed starter Nathanaël Berthon into a spin. Local hero Fulín also found himself caught up in the concertina effect, his CUPRA Leon Competición joining Berthon’s Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport entry in the gravel trap. That triggered an interruption by the Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition Safety Car.

Racing resumed on lap four as Girolami, who had also been knocked sideways at Turn 1 after the start, made a clean escape at the front. His team-mate Guerreri had made impressive gains from ninth on the grid, took an inside line at Turn 1 and avoided the trouble − and jumped straight up to second. He now put up a fine defence, keeping Ehrlacher − up to third from seventh on the grid − at bay throughout a tense race.

“That was tough,” said a delighted Girolami. “I knew Turn 1 was going to be complicated. I was hit and went flat out to recover from that. I want to thank the team, Honda and the sponsors. Now in Race 2 we have a good chance for more points.”

Behind Guerrieri, Ehrlacher was happy to score a podium to consolidate his advantage at the top of the WTCR standings. “Really valuable points, I’ll definitely take that,” he said.

Ehrlacher headed his uncle Muller, who took the escape road at Turn 1 after his contact and recovered well to finish fourth, fellow Lynk & Co driver Thed Björk letting him past on lap five. Behind the trio of Cyan Lynk & Co 03 TCRs, Jean-Karl Vernay completed the top six in his Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Elantra N TCR.

Michelisz finished seventh ahead of qualifying pacesetter and Race 2 pole position starter Mikel Azcona. The Spaniard’s Zengő Motorsport team-mate Rob Huff rose from P12 on the grid to finish ninth, passing Tom Coronel out of Turn 2 on the penultimate lap. The Dutchman finished P10 in his Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport RS 3 LMS.

The other points scorers were Gabriele Tarquini (Hyundai) in P11, Santiago Urrutia (Lynk & Co), Luca Engstler (Hyundai), Frédéric Vervisch (Audi) and Bence Boldizs (CUPRA).

RACE 2 REPORT: 10 FROM 10 AS MICHELISZ BEATS AZCONA IN MOST
Norbert Michelisz made it 10 winners from 10 races in the 2021 FIA WTCR − World Touring Car Cup as he beat pole position starter Mikel Azcona in Race 2 at WTCR Race of Czech Republic following a red flag interruption at Autodrom Most.

BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse driver Michelisz took the lead after Azcona was slowed by a big slide as he exited Turn 1, allowing the Hungarian to gain the momentum out of Turn 2. Meanwhile, there was plenty of action behind them.

Just as in Race 1, the field concertinaed at the first corner as the drivers piled in hard on the brakes. After multiple contacts Gabriele Tarquini, Santiago Urrutia – second in the WTCR points coming into the race – Rob Huff and Attila Tassi were all out, with three of the four cars stuck in the gravel traps. The race was stopped to allow the damaged cars to be recovered safely.

The race restarted behind the Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition Safety Car. Michelisz made a strong restart and although Azcona chased him hard and exerted major pressure in his Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición, the Hyundai Elantra N TCR just had enough win. “Congrats to Mikel because he didn’t make my life easy,” said Michelisz, who victory was his first since Malaysia in 2019. “After the start I knew I had to go for it and I put in 15 qualifying laps which at this circuit is not easy. Thank you to the team because the car was working great. It is fantastic to win.”

Behind the top two, Esteban Guerrieri got the better of Yann Ehrlacher from the second row at the start, the former claiming his second podium finish of the weekend in his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR. The Argentine was forced to work tirelessly or his third place as Ehrlacher chased hard, but fourth place allowed the Goodyear #FollowTheLeader to consolidate his advantage at the top of the WTCR points table. He now heads Guerrieri by 20 points.

Nathanaël Berthon made up for his Turn 1 retirement in Race 1 by finishing fifth in his Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport entry, ahead of Yvan Muller’s Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR. Luca Engstler was seventh in his Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Elantra N TCR, with the Audis of Frédéric Vervisch, Gilles Magnus and Tom Coronel completing the top 10.

Wildcard entry Petr Fulín finished P11 in his CUPRA Leon Competición, with Tiago Monteiro (Honda), Bence Boldizs (CUPRA), Jean-Karl Vernay (Hyundai) and Thed Björk (Lynk & Co) also scoring points. But for Vernay, P14 was a poor return when he lost a potential sixth place to a drive-through penalty, incurred for his car not resting on its wheels at the three-minute board before the restart.

RACE WINNER QUOTES

RACE 1: Néstor Girolami (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR)
“I was really worried before the start, in front of me T1 is really tight and I knew that somebody can overshoot easily from the inside line because it’s very dirty, so I was already downshifting to first gear so that was the secret to try to come back from that hit, because I went flat out to try to recover and make it happen for T2 and it worked. But the important thing is that we were working very well in terms of how much grip was available at the start because it was completely different as before and also in the starts earlier where we take practice. So the engineers did analysis and it worked, so thanks to them. And then during the race we tried to keep conserving the tyres. I got in info that Attila got a puncture and that was in the middle of the race and there were still five or six laps left. I tried to not complicate Esteban with dirty air so I made a gap every time the engineers asked me, but at the end I think we managed very well. So congratulations ALL-INKL.COM, all the team, all the crew, my crew especially. They are really hard workers and they deserve it, and also for Honda it’s a very nice 1-2, so congratulations Esteban. I missed this feeling to get a 1-2 so thank you to the team. And congratulations to Yann for P3.”

RACE 2: Norbert Michelisz (BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse, Hyundai Elantra N TCR)
“I felt it was a long time coming, that a race victory would come. To be honest it was one of the most difficult races of my career because when I saw I was in front and Mikel was behind I just realised that I needed to give it 100% and fortunately the car was just great. I mean I was attacking, sometimes I was sliding a bit but the balance was just great. In the end I managed to do 15 laps without any big mistakes. But I really enjoyed this fight. From the outside I’m not sure all the people understood what was happening but this race I gave it 110% from lap one until the end. Having Mikel in the mirror is not the most comfortable thing in life as a race car driver. This made it a bit more tricky, but in the end I had confidence in myself and in the car. Thanks to the team again for setting up the car so great. And in the end as a race car driver if you have a tool like I had today, I don’t want to say it’s easy but you have the confidence and then you can push without any big mistake. But congrats to Mikel because it was just amazing to fight like this and to Esteban because he did two fantastic races today. But I’m very happy for myself to be honest. It’s just the confidence boost I wanted and needed.”

ESSENTIALS
Location:
Tvrzova 5, 434 01 Most, Czech Republic
Track length:
4.212 kilometres
Race 1 distance:
13 laps (54.756 kilometres)
Race 2 distance:
15 laps (63.180 kilometres)
BEST LAPS
WTCR qualifying lap record: Mikel Azcona (CUPRA Leon Competición)
1m38.757s (153.5kph), 09/10/21
WTCR race lap record: Mikel Azcona (CUPRA Leon Competitión)
1m39.503s (152.3kph), 10/10/21
MORE DETAILS
Time zone: GMT +2 hours
Fly to: Václav Havel Airport Prague (77 kilometres)
Stay: Most