Nurburgring WTCR: Ehrlacher extends points lead with Girolami penalised

Yann Ehrlacher scored his second victory of the World Touring Car Cup season at a wet Nurburgring Nordschleife to extend his lead in the points standings

Nurburgring WTCR: Ehrlacher extends points lead with Girolami penalised

Ehrlacher's main rival Nestor Girolami was handed a time penalty that has severely dented his title hopes.

Cyan Racing's Ehrlacher started race two on Saturday morning second on the grid behind polesitter Girolami, who passed through the pitlane twice during his reconnaissance laps before the safety car start. That cost him a 30-second time penalty, which would drop him to 11th place at the end of the three-lap race.

Ehrlacher's Lynk and Co passed Girolami's Munnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R on the Dottinger Hohe straight at the end of lap one, with Thed Björk completing a Cyan Racing one-two. Girolami's team-mate Attila Tassi inherited third place.

"It's such an amazing feeling to win a race on the greatest track in the world," said an overjoyed Ehrlacher. "I can't believe we won on the Nordschleife in those conditions. It's the best win of my career, absolutely insane. It's good for the team and for the drivers' championship."

In the reverse-grid Race 1 on Friday, Munnich Motorsport's Esteban Guerrieri pulled off a fantastic pass to beat pole position starter Yvan Muller. The Argentine pressured the four-time World Touring Car Champion on the Grand Prix loop, before out-braking the Lynk & Co around the outside at Aremberg. The pair rubbed doors, but Muller admitted he was powerless to stop his Honda rival.

"I had an idea from last year where the grip might be and the part where I could attack a bit more," said Guerrieri. "I saw Yvan braking on the inside a bit early so I tried around the outside, I didn't know what was going to happen. Then we went side by side out of that corner and it was very fair going down the hill, then Yvan lifted."

Björk allowed his team-mate Ehrlacher through on the last lap to gift the Frenchman a podium finish.

The weekend on the Nordschleife was overshadowed by a Balance of Performance row that led Hyundai to withdraw its four cars from the meeting before the first practice session began on Thursday, the South Korean manufacturer stating that "neither the company nor our customer teams are given equal treatment in the series to other competitors and are not made to feel welcome."

The decision left reigning champion Norbert Michelisz and 2018 title winner Gabriele Tarquini on the sidelines, although all four Hyundai i30 N TCRs are expected to be back on the grid for the next round on the Slovakiaring on 10-11 October.

Ehrlacher now leads the standings on 92 points, 31 ahead of both Björk and Girolami, with Muller one point further back in fourth.

Race 1 result - 3 laps

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 31m14.425s
2 Yvan Muller Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 3.385s
3 Yann Ehrlacher Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 3.999s
4 Thed Bjork Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 4.903s
5 Tom Coronel Comtoyou Audi Audi 12.298s
6 Nestor Girolami Munnich Motorsport Honda 15.674s
7 Gilles Magnus Comtoyou Racing Audi 21.451s
8 Tiago Monteiro Munnich Motorsport Honda 23.256s
9 Jean-Karl Vernay Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 39.521s
10 Bence Boldizs Zengo Motorsport Cupra 1m54.117s
11 Gabor Kismarty-Lechner Zengo Motorsport Cupra 3m24.679s
12 Nathanael Berthon Comtoyou Audi Audi 6m51.360s
- Attila Tassi Munnich Motorsport Honda Retirement
- Santiago Urrutia Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Retirement
- Jack Young Vukovic Motorsport Renault Retirement
- Mikel Azcona Zengo Motorsport Cupra Retirement

Race 2 result - 3 laps

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Yann Ehrlacher Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 31m00.926s
2 Thed Bjork Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 5.835s
3 Attila Tassi Munnich Motorsport Honda 11.971s
4 Mikel Azcona Zengo Motorsport Cupra 16.563s
5 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 16.776s
6 Jean-Karl Vernay Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 22.454s
7 Yvan Muller Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 23.106s
8 Tom Coronel Comtoyou Audi Audi 31.253s
9 Tiago Monteiro Munnich Motorsport Honda 33.075s
10 Santiago Urrutia Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 34.708s
11 Nestor Girolami Munnich Motorsport Honda 40.644s
12 Nathanael Berthon Comtoyou Audi Audi 45.914s
13 Bence Boldizs Zengo Motorsport Cupra 2m27.932s
14 Gabor Kismarty-Lechner Zengo Motorsport Cupra 4m14.557s
- Gilles Magnus Comtoyou Racing Audi Retirement
- Jack Young Vukovic Motorsport Renault Withdrawn

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Series WTCR
Author Damien Smith
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