WTCR Race 2 flash: Girolami wins enthralling epic
Néstor Girolami took a second victory of the WTCR Race of Hungary weekend as an unmissable Race 2 featured door-to-door racing throughout the #WTCR2019SUPERGRID on a slippery track.
The ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR came from sixth on the reverse grid to lead at the end of lap one, as endless action played out behind him with drivers scrabbling both for grip and track position.
Jean-Karl Vernay, who started from the DHL Pole Position, fought Girolami for victory, but settled for second from Daniel Haglöf, who delivered a superb podium for PWR Racing’s CUPRA TCR team. Vernay reported afterwards that a lack of feeling from a replacement clutch resulted in a hesitant getaway.
“Unbelievable – crazy race!” said an amazed Girolami. “I knew it could be like this in these conditions. I decided to stick to slick tyres and really enjoyed the race. This is just my second WTCR weekend. It feels amazing.”
A shower of rain before the start was the key to the action, as drivers jostled for position throughout the #WTCR2019SUPERGRID. The rate of attrition was high as a number of drivers failed to make the finish after contact, with team mechanics left with plenty of work to prepare cars for Race 3 later in the afternoon.
Behind the top three, PWR Racing had more to cheer as Mikel Azcona finished fourth ahead of Esteban Guerrieri, who now shares the WTCR / OSCARO points lead with his team-mate Girolami.
Haglöf was delighted with his third-place podium. “This is totally surreal,” he said. “First Mikel scores a podium in Marrakech, and now me here in the team’s first season in WTCR. I led on the first lap, but this was my first time on slicks on a damp track in these cars and Néstor and Jean-Karl overtook me. But I’m overwhelmed by this result.”
Yvan Muller emerged from a train of cars in sixth, having started down in P15, with Rob Huff up from P11 on the grid to seventh at the flag. Both used all their experience to come through an intense 12 laps of action.
KCMG’s Attila Tassi was eighth in his Honda, as Augusto Farfus and Nicky Catsburg completed the top 10 in their Hyundais.
The other points scorers were Team Mulsanne’s Ma Qinghua in his Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR, SLR Volkswagen’s Benjamin Leuchter, Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing’s Aurélien Panis and Tom Coronel and Frédéric Vervisch.
Those who have left their teams with work to do before Race 3 include Gordon Shedden, who was knocked out at Turn 2 while running in P11, Gabriele Tarquini (wheel damage), Race 3 DHL Pole Position starter Norbert Michelisz, Cyan Performance Lynk & Co drivers Yann Ehrlacher, Andy Priaulx and Thed Björk.
Race 3 of WTCR Race of Hungary is due to start at 17h00.