As the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) prepared for its final race of the weekend, the Hungaroring circuit remained moist but wasn’t quite as damp as it had been in the day’s earlier frenetic race. Despite the damage done in Race 2, a full grid of cars were set to do battle for one last time.
At the front, all eyes were on pole-sitter – and local hero – Norbert Michelisz. It wasn’t a great start to the race by ‘Norbi’ however, and he promptly lost the lead of the race to Esteban Guerrieri at Turn 1. Tarquini also passed his team-mate, doing things the hard way on the outside line around Turn 2. The Hungarian fans would not be pleased.
Further back, there was contact between Lynk & Co team-mates, Yvan Muller and Andy Priaulx, with the latter coming off far worse initially. Muller would pay the bigger price later on, however, as the stewards awarded him a drive-through penalty.
At the back of the field, Gordon Shedden was in the wars again, this time colliding with Kevin Ceccon and Johan Kristoffersson. Right on their tail, however, was Tamas Tenke. The wildcard entry who had just a handful of circuit races to his name before this weekend had endured a tough event so far, but now all of a sudden found himself in a close-quarters battle with Shedden – a triple BTCC champion, and Kristoffersson – a multiple World Rallycross champion.
Esteban Guerrieri, meanwhile, had lost the lead of the race through no fault of his own. On lap 4 at Turn 5, his Honda seemed to lose power for a few seconds; just long enough for Tarquini and Michelisz to get by.
After a tremendous podium finish in the last race, Daniel Haglof didn’t have quite such a happy ending this time out. A puncture rendered him out of contention. Yvan Muller soon joined him in the pit-lane, deciding that he stood no chance of scoring points after serving his drive-through penalty.
Disaster then struck once again for joint-championship leader, Esteban Guerrieri. On lap 12, the Argentine’s brakes failed, sending him into the barriers at Turn 11. For the first time today, the safety car was deployed as a result, before being withdrawn again for a three-lap shootout. Or so we thought…
Kevin Ceccon’s Alfa Romeo was left stranded on the track after suffering front-left suspension damage, and so the safety car made a second appearance. It would stay out until the end of the race, ensuring that Gabriele Tarquini had an easy cruise to victory, just ahead of his team-mate Norbert Michelisz. Yann Ehrlacher rounded out the podium positions.
Elsewhere, sixth place would secure the lead in the drivers’ championship standings for Nestor Girolami, overthrowing his compatriot and team-mate, Esteban Guerrieri.
Full Race Result
|Position||Driver||Car||Gap to Winner (Seconds)|
|3rd||Yann Ehrlacher||Lynk & Co||+1.535|
|5th||Thed Bjork||Lynk & Co||+2.112|
|19th||Ma Qing Hua||Alfa Romeo||+18.418|
|20th||Andy Priaulx||Lynk & Co||+18.932|
|DNF||Kevin Ceccon||Alfa Romeo||Retired|
|DNF||Yvan Muller||Lynk & Co||Retired|