WTCR Race 2 flash: Ehrlacher scorches to second win of 2021
Yann Ehrlacher increased his advantage as Goodyear #FollowTheLeader in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup with a strong victory from pole position in Race 2 at WTCR Race of Italy.
The King of WTCR led all the way at Adria International Raceway for his second win of the year to lead Comtoyou Team Audi Sport’s Frédéric Vervisch, whose second place moves him up to second in the provisional standings, one point ahead of Esteban Guerrieri in third. Vervisch is 35 points behind Ehrlacher with WTCR Race of Russia still to come.
“It was a tough race,” said Ehrlacher. “We are having some difficulties with our starts and the team worked late to provide us with a new system to get us off the line. We have changed the system after three years and it worked. The car was amazing.”
Ehrlacher moved left from the start to secure his lead from Vervisch and fellow Comtoyou Audi driver Gilles Magnus into Turn 1. The pair pushed the Lynk & Co through the opening corners as Thed Björk, who started fourth, lost ground after being pushing wide.
There was further drama on the opening lap when Yvan Muller and Néstor Girolami, who started fifth and sixth respectively, made contact. Girolami’s ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR was then caught up in further contact with Tom Coronel and Jean-Karl Vernay as he tried to rejoin the track. Frenchman Vernay was forced to the pits with damage to his Hyundai, then returned to finish 19th and last – a result that deals a significant blow to his title hopes.
Girolami was furious as he retried to the pits. “Muller hit me from behind and pushed me off the track,” he said. “It was completely unnecessary.”
As Vervisch and Magnus followed Ehrlacher to the finish – Magnus securing the WTCR Trophy as he did so – Muller secured fourth place, with home hero Gabriele Tarquini chasing him hard all the way to score a fine fifth from 12th on the grid in his last race on Italian soil.
Esteban Guerrieri rose from ninth on the grid to finish sixth, leaving him third in the points with one WTCR weekend to go. He headed Norbert Michelisz and a recovering Björk. Luca Engstler muscled his way past Rob Huff in their battle for what turned out to be ninth.
The other points scorers were Mikel Azcona (CUPRA) in P11, Attila Tassi (Honda), Race 1 winner Santiago Urrutia, who dropped from 10th on the grid to P13, Nathanaël Berthon (Audi) and Tiago Monteiro (Honda).