Huff and Berthon on top in France, Azcona moves towards WTCR title

Rob Huff and Nathanael Berthon were the big winners on raceday as the WTCR visited Circuit l’Anneau du Rhin in France for the first time.

Huff and Berthon on top in France, Azcona moves towards WTCR title

But a double-podium for BRC Hyundai driver Mikel Azcona helped the Spaniard take a major step towards the coveted crown.

Both races followed a similar pattern with Huff’s Zengo Motorsport CUPRA moving into the lead at the start of race two from a front-row start just as Berthon’s Comtoyou Audi had done in the earlier encounter.

Briton Huff resisted an early attack from polesitter Mehdi Bennani’s Comtoyou Audi, but the 2012 World Touring Car champion pulled out a one-second margin by half-distance and drove on to his second victory of the season.

Not only did it maintain his third place in the overall points, it also gave him a near-unassailable 50-point lead in the WTCR Trophy standings.

Bennani’s first podium of the season came a few hours after team-mate Berthon had scored his first WTCR victory for nearly two years in almost identical fashion.

In the Frenchman’s case, his win came after he fended off title contender Nestor Girolami’s Munnich Motorsport Honda, which had qualified on pole position.

Gilles Magnus – in the third Comtoyou Audi – was third in race one, but was later penalised five seconds for pushing Esteban Guerrieri’s Munnich Honda into a spin, dropping him to seventh.

That promoted Azcona to third – a result he matched in race two after team-mate Norbert Michelisz let him through under orders with a quarter of the race to go.

Azcona heads Girolami in the standings by a commanding 35 points - just one less than he came to France with.

Tiago Monteiro scored his best result of 2022 in sixth in race two for Engstler Motorsport while Guerrieri’s miserable weekend continued as he was punted off by another Comtoyou Audi – this time Tom Coronel’s – two corners from the finish.

After the tyre issues at Vallelunga that led to the withdrawal of the reigning champion Cyan Racing team earlier in the week, just two cars suffered punctures in race one in France, both caused by damaged wheel rims as a result of contact.

WTCR Anneau du Rhin race one results - 22 laps 

Cla Driver Chassis Time Gap
1 France Nathanael Berthon Audi -  
2 Argentina Nestor Girolami Honda 0.299 0.299
3 Belgium Gilles Magnus Audi 0.660 0.660
4 Spain Mikel Azcona Hyundai 1.047 1.047
5 Hungary Norbert Michelisz Hyundai 1.586 1.586
6 United Kingdom Rob Huff CUPRA 2.408 2.408
7 Netherlands Tom Coronel Audi 4.603 4.603
8 Hungary Daniel Nagy CUPRA 5.946 5.946
9 Portugal Tiago Monteiro Honda 6.505 6.505
10 Argentina Esteban Guerrieri Honda 1'04.602 1'04.602
11 Morocco Mehdi Bennani Audi 1 lap  
12 Hungary Attila Tassi Honda 4 laps  

WTCR Anneau du Rhin race two results - 18 laps 

Cla Driver Chassis Time Gap
1 United Kingdom Rob Huff CUPRA -  
2 Morocco Mehdi Bennani Audi 0.896 0.896
3 Spain Mikel Azcona Hyundai 1.114 1.114
4 Hungary Norbert Michelisz Hyundai 3.990 3.990
5 Belgium Gilles Magnus Audi 4.936 4.936
6 Portugal Tiago Monteiro Honda 7.591 7.591
7 Argentina Nestor Girolami Honda 11.716 11.716
8 France Nathanael Berthon Audi 12.289 12.289
9 Hungary Attila Tassi Honda 12.533 12.533
10 Argentina Esteban Guerrieri Honda 13.817 13.817
11 Netherlands Tom Coronel Audi 19.206 19.206
12 Hungary Daniel Nagy CUPRA 2 laps  
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WTCR Anneau du Rhin: Girolami storms to pole over Berthon
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