WTCR Race 1 flash: Urrutia overtakes Guerrieri for victory
Santiago Urrutia took a sensational second win of the season at WTCR Race of Italy despite losing the lead to Esteban Guerrieri at the start of Race 1 in Adria.
Starting from the reverse-grid pole position, Urrutia’s Goodyear-equipped Cyan Performance Lynk & Co was beaten off the line by Guerrieri’s ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR. But a determined pass on the Honda at the final corner at the end of lap one allowed Urrutia to grab back the advantage, which he maintained until the chequered flag.
The move began at the penultimate corner, before Urrutia muscled his way on the inside line at the next turn to pull off a brilliant move. “He hit me at the previous corner,” Guerrieri complained, but he was now left to defend from a charging Tom Coronel in his Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport RS 3 LMS.
Dutchman Coronel made his move at the end of lap 10 of 14, pulling off a great pass on the outside line at the final corner. Guerrieri fought back as they started lap 11, but eventually was forced to cede. Coronel’s second place was his second podium of the season and gave him the WTCR Trophy victory.
“I knew the start would be difficult,” said Urrutia. “Honda is always a little better than us. But then Esteban left the door open and it was good. I could then control the race. It’s a good result and I’m happy for Cyan.”
Urrutia was heard on the radio to voice concerns about the state of his brakes during the race, but he said it was no major problem. “My car was fine, but when you push it is normal. With all the hairpins at this circuit it is hard on the brakes.”
Behind the top three, Norbert Michelisz fought off Yvan Muller to claim fourth. Frédéric Vervisch battled his way from ninth on the grid to finish sixth ahead of team-mate Gilles Magnus, the pair appearing to work together in the interests of the former’s title hopes. They shuffled Néstor Girolami back from fifth, the Argentinian finishing eighth.
Title chaser Jean-Karl Vernay made the best of starting only 12th on the grid, working his way up to finish ninth despite contact with Nathanaël Berthon, whose Audi ended up in a barrier. The Frenchman recovered, but retired to the pits.
Home hero Gabriele Tarquini completed the top 10 from P11 on the grid after passing Goodyear #FollowTheLeader Yann Ehrlacher at the start of the last lap. Ehrlacher, who started P10, drove conservatively to bank vital points.
Ahead of Race 2, the Frenchman now leads Urrutia and Gurrieri – who are tied in second – by 21 points. Vernay is now fourth, 24 points behind Ehrlacher having started the day 26 behind. Ehrlacher will line up in pole position.
The other points scorers in Race 1 were Mikel Azcona (Zengő Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición), Thed Björk (Lynk & Co), Rob Huff (CUPRA) and Luca Engstler (Hyundai).
Race 2 at WTCR Race of Italy is due to get underway at 12h15 local time. Click HERE to find out how to watch the action live.