WTCR Race 2 flash: Kristoffersson charges to first win
Johan Kristoffersson scored his first victory in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO as Rob Huff and Gabriele Tarquini collided in the reverse-grid Race 2 at WTCR Race of Germany.
Two-time FIA World Rallycross champion Kristofferson defended from the DHL Pole Position with determination at the start as wildcard entry and fellow front-row starter Antti Buri challenged. But once he’d established his lead, Kristofferson led all the way around three laps of the 25.378-kilometre Nürburgring Nordschleife.
“Very nice, super happy,” said SLR Volkswagen’s Kristoffersson. “I haven’t been here since 2011, so I was looking forward to the track. It was close in the first couple of corners, but all fair and the car was good. I was cruising on the last lap, but still enjoying it.”
Kristofferson’s Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR moved to the right from the DHL pole to squeeze Buri’s AS Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS, pushing the Finn into the pitlane exit. The pair fought hard through the opening section of the Grand Prix circuit, which allowed Comtoyou Team Audi Sport’s Frédéric Vervisch to pass Buri in a great move for second place.
Out on to the Nordschleife, as Kristofferson and Vervisch opened gaps at the front of the field, Buri began to slip down the order as he struggled to maintain front-running pace, due to the addition of 20 kilograms of weight under wildcard regulations. He eventually finished in P13.
From fifth and eighth on the grid respectively, Tarquini and Huff established themselves in third and fourth, the two experienced racers running nose to tail. Then on lap three their battle ended in controversy.
Huff’s SLR VW Motorsport Golf got a run up the inside of Tarquini’s BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse i30 N TCR as they approached the Karussell, but there was contact as Huff looked set to secure third position. That spun Huff around and left him stranded with heavily damaged suspension at the famous corner.
The incident allowed BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team’s Augusto Farfus through to finish third and join Kristofferson and Vervisch on the podium, but Tarquini was able to continue and finished fourth.
KCMG’s Attila Tassi was fifth in his Honda Civic Type R TCR, ahead of SLR Volkswagen’s Benjamin Leuchter and #ROADTOMALAYSIA WTCR points leader Esteban Guerrieri. Race 1 winner Norbert Michelisz was eighth, with Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing’s Aurélien Panis and Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport’s Jean-Karl Vernay completing the top 10.
Tom Coronel scored points in P11, ahead of Nicky Catsburg, Buri, Thed Björk, Mikel Azcona and Tiago Monteiro.
Race 3 of WTCR Race of Germany takes places at 12h20 local time.