WTCR Race of Germany 2019: five key moments remembered
Each year the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife offers one of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup’s many high points. Ahead of tonight’s WTCR Rewind online talk show, here are five key moments from last season’s epic triple-header in Germany.
Sensational slipstreaming on the Döttinger Höhe straight
Initially passed by Frédéric Vervisch on the opening lap, Néstor Girolami’s first attempt to retake third is stumped by a defensive Vervisch along the two-kilometre-long Döttinger Höhe. With Girolami taking to the grass briefly and both slowing each other down as they jostle for position, both are shocked by Huff who slipstreams them to take third. Girolami, who did manage to pass Vervisch, gets back ahead of Huff on the final lap, going wheel-to-wheel down Döttinger Höhe.
From big win to big hit for Kristoffersson
Johan Kristoffersson scores his first WTCR win in Race 2, defending from pole with determination at the start as wildcard entry and fellow front-row sitter Antti Buri challenges. They fight hard through the opening section of the Grand Prix circuit, which allows Comtoyou Team Audi Sport’s Frédéric Vervisch to pass Buri with a great move for second place. But it all goes wrong for Kristofferson, the double FIA World Rallycross champion, who crashes out of Race 3 in spectacular fashion while avoiding another incident, thankfully without injury.
Tough when you’re Huff
Having been somewhat lucky to finish Race 1 following contact with the Lynk & Co of Yvan Muller at the first turn, Rob Huff’s Race 2 – and Nürburgring weekend – ends early. From fifth and eighth on the grid respectively, Gabriele Tarquini and Huff establish themselves in third and fourth, the two experienced racers running nose to tail. Then on lap three their battle ends in controversy. Huff gets a run up the inside of Tarquini as they approach the Karussell, but there’s contact as Huff looks set to secure third. The collision spins Huff around and leaves him stranded with heavily damaged suspension at the famous corner.
Benny is brilliant (pictured)
Volkswagen power wins the day as Germany’s Benjamin Leuchter emulates SLR team-mate Johan Kristoffersson by scoring his maiden WTCR win. Having finished sixth in Race 2, track expert Leuchter makes the most of his pole position to win Race 3 amid emotional scenes. He fends off a strong start from Esteban Guerrieri at Turn 1, then controls the pace brilliantly from the front to score a landmark victory. Guerrieri makes a flying start from the second row, despite a clutch issue plaguing him for much of the warm-up lap, making the most of the gap where non-starter Rob Huff should have been beside Leuchter. The Argentinian briefly takes the lead into T1, but the Golf has a better line out of T2. At the end of lap one, Guerrieri gets a strong run on Leuchter on Döttinger Hohe and almost drafts into the lead, but the home hero just clings on after some fantastic dicing.
Michelisz scores a measured win in Race 1, passing pole-sitter Esteban Guerrieri at the first turn and maintaining his advantage thereafter. The Hyundai-powered driver builds a gap of over a second on the first lap, which helps him to prevent Honda-driving Guerrieri from reeling him on the Döttinger Höhe straight. Despite the result marking BRC-run Michelisz’s first triumph of his title-winning season, he leaves Germany 45 points behind ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport driver Guerrieri.