Race report: Ehrlacher, Girolami win as WTCR is all set for a Goodyear following 2020 kick-off
The WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup delivered two action-packed races as Circuit Zolder in Belgium hosted the long-awaited 2020 season kick-off.
Néstor Girolami and Yann Ehrlacher triumphed in the two counters for Honda-powered ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport and Cyan Racing Lynk & Co respectively with Ehrlacher the Goodyear #FollowTheLeader for topping the title standings. Meanwhile, home hero Gilles Magnus scored an FIA Rookie Award win double on his WTCR debut weekend.
Magnus competing with the support of the RACB National Team, a talent-backing programme from Belgium’s ASN, topped the WTCR Trophy classification in Race 2 after his fellow Comtoyou Audi driver Tom Coronel had done likewise in Race 1.
Eurosport Events used the Zolder weekend to launch its #RaceToCare campaign to help in the fight against COVID-19. Initiated by the WTCR promoter in support of the FIA’s #PurposeDriven movement to return to racing with a clear purpose, Eurosport Events is donating €1 for every kilometre completed by every all-season driver in every qualifying session and race in 2020 with the goal of raising €100,000 with additional donations from drivers, other members of the WTCR community and stakeholders.
WTCR Race of Belgium also marked the start of Goodyear’s exclusive WTCR tyre supplier agreement with all teams using the single specification of slick Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport race tyre. Drivers benefited from an extremely consistent compound and were able to push hard to the end of each race, which were both held in warm and dry conditions.
In the two races, Thed Björk and Attila Tassi joined Girolami on the Race 1 podium with 21-year-old Tassi’s appearance his first in the WTCR. Yvan Muller finished second behind his nephew Ehrlacher in Race 2 with WTCR newcomer Santiago Urrutia completing the top-three places in a Lynk & Co-powered, Cyan-run 1-2-3 after a technical issued slowed Gilles Magnus.
Nathanaël Berthon started the second race on the DHL Pole Position but was penalised for a jumped start. The Frenchman’s recovery drive earned him the TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy for the first time.
Erhlacher is the Goodyear #FollowTheLeader
Yann Ehrlacher is the Goodyear #FollowTheLeader of the 2020 WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup after scoring 43 points across the weekend. The 24-year-old claimed five points for going fastest in Qualifying Q1, four points for placing P2 in Q3, nine points for finishing Race 1 in seventh position and 25 points for winning Race 2. New rules for 2020 mean the fastest five drivers in Q1 score points on a scale of 5-4-3-2-1, with the same system applied for Q3.
RACE WINNER QUOTES
Race 1: Néstor Girolami (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR)
“First of all, I’d like to congratulate Attila for his first podium. Also, congratulations to Thed and to all my team who did a fantastic job. We knew the start was the key of the race because here at Zolder it is really difficult to overtake, so we practiced in the pre-season. I was confident every time I practiced the start during the weekend and I knew that after the start I had to avoid mistakes. I made a gap, then suddenly I picked up some oil in the last corner. Suddenly I was very wide, Thed was cutting the difference, he was there, but anyway I think we had the pace to make the gap. We were very solid and I think we did everything well this weekend. We scored points and a victory for Honda, so I am so happy. Also let me dedicate this victory to Oliver who had a family issue yesterday and had to go home, so I want to dedicate this to him and all his family.”
Race 2: Yann Ehrlacher (Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR)
“Everythng happened at the start. I saw [Berthon] jumped the start, but he still did two or three laps and he had really good pace. It would have been good for me to follow that pace. But then he went to the box and I had my free way to work on my pace and saving my tyres to the end, because it is quite a long race. So then I started to build a gap to the guy behind me. The race went really well and I’m really pleased that all three were on the podium, and a family podium with Yvan so let’s say our weekend is well accomplished. We are really thankful to the organisers of the WTCR because it is not easy to organise all this at this time, so I’m really thankful to be a part of this race weekend and I hope it will continue as long as possible. I also want to give a word to the #RaceTo Care project, which offers one euro for one kilometre for all the medical stuff, so that’s a really nice project.”
Provisional results: https://www.fiawtcr.com/event/wtcr-race-of-belgium-2020/
Provisional standings: https://www.fiawtcr.com/standings/
NEXT RACE: WTCR Race of Germany, Nürburgring Nordschleife, September 24-26