For the second time so far in the Kumho TCR World Tour season, Yann Ehrlacher managed to convert his pole position into a lights-to-flag victory. At the Hungaroring, the Cyan Racing Lynk & Co driver took a perfect getaway from P1 on the grid and swerved to the left to take to the inside line at Turn 1, keeping Néstor Girolami’s ALM Motorsport Honda Civic behind. That was his winning move, because afterwards he could build a small gap while Girolami had to fight with Ma Qing Hua first and then with Mikel Azcona to defend the second place.
In TCR Europe, Kobe Pauwels won the battle with his Comtoyou Racing teammate Tom Coronel to secure his second race win of the season.
Ehrlacher made a good start from the pole and led into Turn 1, but Girolami was almost alongside him; Ma was on the inside line but was unable to find a way past. However, he managed to pass Girolami on the opening lap. Viktor Andersson, who had qualified seventh and best of the TCR Europe drivers, made a poor getaway and dropped to 13th. On Lap 2, Andersson dived past Dušan Borković, but there was contact between the pair and Andersson’s Lynk & Co ended up hitting the barriers, while Borković dropped down the order. On the same lap, Girolami and Azcona both passed Ma for second and third places respectively.
Things then settled down among the top ten, with attention switching to battles further down the field. By Lap 5, Viktor Davidovski was defending P14 from Kevin Ceccon, while Borković and Mikael Karlsson were fighting for P16. On Lap 7, Andersson limped into the pits with a front-left puncture and body damage following the incident with Borković. He rejoined and would eventually finish 20th, two laps behind. Borković finally succeeded in passing Karlsson for P16, while Pauwels passed Coronel to move into the top ten overall and take the TCR Europe lead.
On Lap 8, Davidovski was fighting with Ruben Volt, but Ceccon was able to pass him for P14 and the pair made slight contact on the pit straight. Two laps later, Ceccon and Davidovski both moved up the order when John Filippi dropped back and Volt pulled into the pits and retired.
On the penultimate lap, and with Ehrlacher’s lead now over two seconds, Azcona closed up on Girolami to set up a potential last-lap scrap for second place. It wasn’t to be, however, and while Ehrlacher took a dominant victory, Girolami held Azcona at bay to finish second. In TCR Europe, Pauwels and Coronel recorded a 1-2 finish for Comtoyou Racing, with Ceccon completing the podium places in his first TCR Europe appearance in an Aggressive Team Italia Hyundai.
These results mean that Ehrlacher has joined Michelisz on equal points on top of the Kumho TCR World Tour standings, although the Hungarian keeps the first position thanks to his fourth place in Race 2 at Vallelunga. Azcona has moved into P3 ahead of Huff. In TCR Europe, the title fight is still restricted to the Comtoyou trio of Coronel – who leads by 30 points – Filippi and Pauwels.
Race 2 is due to start tomorrow at 12:05 local time/CEST, with live streaming on tcr-series.tv and YouTube.
Hungaroring – Race 1 overall
Hungaroring – Race 1 TCR Europe
Championship points – TCR World Tour
Championship points – TCR Europe
Picture: WSC Group