WTCR Race 2 flash: Tarquini takes points lead with fourth win
Gabriele Tarquini secured his fourth victory of the season in Race 2 at WTCR Race of Slovakia to claim the series points lead in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO on Saturday evening.
The Italian nosed ahead after running side by side with reverse-grid DHL Pole Position starter Norbert Nagy through the first two corners before establishing a lead he would not lose at the Slovakia Ring. Zengő Motorsport’s Nagy then drove brilliantly in his Cupra TCR to hold off Yvan Muller for the duration of the race to finish in a career-best P2.
“It was not easy,” said Tarquini. “On the grid we had some water leaking and the mechanics made a miracle! I thought I would have to stop. But they said ‘don’t worry, we’ve put in an old system like you and it will be fine!”
Tarquini and Nagy dragged away from the line at the start with little between them and fought door-handle to door-handle without contact before the BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR swept ahead.
“It was not easy with Norbert,” said Tarquini. “He fought very hard. I pushed for the first two laps and then managed the gap – although I was not sure about that water. It’s a great win.”
Nagy was expected to lose second place to four-time World Touring Car champion Muller, who had stormed into third from seventh on the grid. But the YMR Hyundai could do nothing about the green Cupra and was forced to settle for third, losing his points lead to Tarquini in the process.
Race 1 winner Pepe Oriola continued his strong weekend with a P4 finish this time in his Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra. His team-mate John Filippi was sixth, the two Cupras split by Boutsen Ginion Racing’s Benjamin Lessennes, who finished an assured fifth in his Honda Civic Type R TCR.
Norbert Michelisz, who will start Race 3 on Sunday morning from the DHL Pole Position, rose from P10 on the grid to claim seventh, making some great overtaking moves along the way. Frédéric Vervisch was one of the drivers to be passed by the BRC Racing Team Hyundai, but the Belgian clung on to P8 to finish as the first of the Audi RS 3 LMS entries.
The ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Hondas of Esteban Guerrieri and Yann Erhlacher chased Vervisch hard to complete the top 10.
Thed Björk rose from his disappointing P19 on the grid to finish just out of the points in P11, ahead of Team Mulsanne’s new driver Kevin Ceccon in his Alfa Romeo Guilietta TCR. Nathanaël Berthon was next, ahead of DG Sport Compétition Aurélien Comte who lost ground from his ninth place on the grid in his PEUGEOT 308TCR.
Wildcard entries Andrej Studenic and Petr Fulín finished in P20 and P21 respectively.
Jean-Karl Vernay, who finished second in Race 1, failed to make it to the flag this time in his Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team entry due to brake issues, while Tom Coronel didn’t even manage to take the start. His Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda was pushed off the grid with a suspension problem.
Race 3 of WTCR Race of Slovakia takes place on Sunday morning at 11h45 local time.