WTCR Nordschleife: Guerrieri grabs first win of the season

Esteban Guerrieri grabbed his first win of the World Touring Car Cup season in the reversed-grid race at the Nurburgring Nordschleife as championship leader Gabriele Tarquini crashed out

Honda driver Guerrieri's victory was his first since winning the final race of the World Touring Car Championship era in Qatar last December, and the second of the WTCR season for his Munnich Motorsport team.

Having been the victim of an incident at the first corner in Thursday's opening race, Guerrieri was well clear of any trouble at the Turn 1/2 complex at the start of Saturday's first race as he leapt past Rene Rast from third on the grid to take second.

Guerrieri had moved past polesitter Pepe Oriola by the time Rast was eliminated - the wildcard entrant wiped out when Rob Huff tried to move past the WRT-run Audi the approach to the Ford Kurve downhill right-hander - and quickly established a buffer from the chasing Campos Racing Cupra as the cars headed onto the Nordschleife.

While Guerrieri was able to stretch his legs, particularly at the back end of the track through the fourth sector of the 15.77-mile circuit, he found himself reeled in by the start of the second and third laps as the chasing pack picked up the tow from his Civic down the long run off Dottinger Hohe.

But the Argentinian still had a comfortable gap back to Oriola, and a strong run through the Nordschleife on the third and final lap ensured he was clear of attack from behind on Dottinger Hohe - winning the race by 1.148 seconds.

Oriola came through to score his second podium finish of the season, while Comtoyou Audi driver Frederic Vervisch backed up his second place in qualifying for the final race by snatching third from Thursday race winner Yvan Muller.

Vervisch had originally got past Muller on Dottinger Hohe at the end of the second lap, but allowed the four-time WTCC champion to sneak back ahead as the frontrunners tackled the Grand Prix circuit for the final time.

But Vervisch kept his RS3 LMS within striking distance of Muller's Hyundai i30 N around the Nordschleife, and made a second overtake on Dottinger Hohe on the final lap to secure the final podium position.

Muller hung on to fourth ahead of the BRC Racing Hyundai of Norbert Michelisz, who made his way past Yann Ehrlacher's Munnich Motorsport Civic on Dottinger Hohe, while the two surviving WRT Audis of Jean-Karl Vernay and Gordon Shedden came home seventh and eighth.

Shedden had advanced from 15th to run ninth on the opening lap, but was involved in an incident with Tarquini that took the Hyundai driver out of the race.

Although the start of the incident was not picked up, Shedden appeared to clip Tarquini as he attempted to overtake the Italian in the Nordschleife.

Tarquini hit the barriers on his left-hand side, retiring on the spot as his i30 N shed its left-rear wheel.

Now level on points with Muller in the drivers' standings, Tarquini is unlikely to be able to start the final race, which gets underway at 11:20am UK time

Stewards announced the incident between the two cars would be investigated after race three.

Result - 3 laps

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 27m11.856s
2 Pepe Oriola Campos Racing Cupra 1.148s
3 Frederic Vervisch Comtoyou Racing Audi 2.988s
4 Yvan Muller YMR Hyundai 3.787s
5 Norbert Michelisz BRC Racing Team Hyundai 4.088s
6 Yann Ehrlacher Munnich Motorsport Honda 4.573s
7 Jean-Karl Vernay WRT Audi 6.148s
8 Nathanael Berthon Comtoyou Racing Audi 15.824s
9 Tom Coronel Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda 16.224s
10 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 17.595s
11 Denis Dupont Comtoyou Racing Audi 18.026s
12 Aurelien Panis Comtoyou Racing Audi 21.045s
13 Aurelien Comte DG Sport Competition Peugeot 23.588s
14 Mat'o Homola DG Sport Competition Peugeot 24.094s
15 Gianni Morbidelli Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 27.092s
16 Kris Richard KCMG Honda 39.123s
17 Norbert Nagy Zengo Motorsport Cupra 40.422s
18 Gordon Shedden WRT Audi 44.954s
- James Thompson Munnich Motorsport Honda Disqualified
- John Filippi Campos Racing Cupra Retirement
- Thed Bjork YMR Hyundai Retirement
- Fabrizio Giovanardi Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Retirement
- Benjamin Lessennes Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda Retirement
- Zsolt Szabo Zengo Motorsport Cupra Retirement
- Rob Huff Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Retirement
- Gabriele Tarquini BRC Racing Team Hyundai Retirement
- Rene Rast WRT Audi Retirement

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