WTCR Race 1 flash: All about Azcona as Spaniard wins in Hungary
Mikel Azcona scored his second WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup victory of the season in Race 1 at WTCR Race of Hungary as he led all the way from pole position at the Hungaroring.
The Spaniard made a strong start in his BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse entry, built a gap and clinched an impressive second win in the Hyundai Elantra N TCR. The victory has made him the new Goodyear #FollowTheLeader after he knocked Néstor Girolami off the top of the title standings.
King of WTCR Yann Erhlacher, who started third on the grid, pounced on a small mistake from Nathanaël Berthon on the penultimate lap to snatch second place. Ehrlacher’s Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR had shadowed Berthon’s Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS all race and with the latter mindful of track limits warnings, one mistake was all it took to change the podium order.
“Really pleased, very happy, a very comfortable race,” said Azcona, who won Race 2 at WTCR Clean Fuels for All Race of France last month. “There was no pressure from behind. The first lap is always the most tricky part of the race. The first few corners I felt the pressure and tried to defend. I have to say the car was working very good, the degradation was amazing. Thanks to my team.”
“It was really tough, it was really hot in the car,” said Ehrlacher. “The start was tough because I was not on the inside. We gave it a good go, but I lacked a bit of speed. But actually I saw I could save my tyres not running too close behind Nath because I would have destroyed them. Then the last three laps I saw as my chance. I felt some vibration in my tyres so I was careful as well. But I went for it.”
Berthon was disappointed about the warnings he received on track limits violations. “I was surprised about it, because maybe it was close, but hmm… we need to check the footage. A big frustration and so close to the end you shouldn’t lose a position. But I was struggling from lap two so I think I did a good race. Anyway, Yann was much quicker.”
Comtoyou Team Audi Sport’s Gilles Magnus started and finished fourth, with Cyan Performance Lynk & Co’s Ma Qing Hua piling on the pressure during the final laps. Rob Huff came through from eighth on the grid to finish sixth, the Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición pulling two good moves on the ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Hondas early in the race.
Girolami, who lost his status as Goodyear #FollowTheLeader to Azcona, finished seventh ahead of Santiago Urrutia, who got the better of Esteban Guerrieri after a tough race-long battle. Guerrieri, who had started fifth, was under attack for most of the race, Urrutia’s Lynk & Co tapping him into a slide on one lap at Turn 3.
Yvan Muller completed the top 10, ahead of fellow Lynk & Co driver Thed Björk. Local hero Norbert Michelisz made up one place for his grid slot to finish in P12, ahead of Mehdi Bennani’s Comtoyou Audi, Attila Tassi in his LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler Honda Civic Type R TCR and Tom Coronel, who was penalised for contact with Zengő Motorsport’s Dániel Nagy.
Huff was the first WTCR Trophy finisher followed by Bennani and Coronel. The Briton extends his lead of the category for independent racers as a result.
Race 2 at WTCR Race of Hungary is scheduled to start at 16h45 CET.