Girolami leads Münnich Motorsport 1-2 in Slovakia

by Phil Kinch

Néstor Girolami and Esteban Guerrieri gave Münnich Motorsport its second one-two finish of the season in the eighth race of the 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR).

Girolami had to work hard to try and wrestle the lead from SLR VW Motorsport driver Rob Huff, with the British driver holding on until midway through lap two, unable to keep the Honda Civic behind any longer. With Guerrieri closing on Huff, it was clear that the Volkswagen driver was in for a defensive race.

The first lap saw Benjamin Leuchter and Andy Priaulx taking off-track excursions whilst Luca Engslter was enjoying another good start, making his way from fourteenth on the grid up to eleventh. The young German would soon lose out Leuchter as they made contact which left the Hyundai driver dropping down the field.

Niels Langeveld and Aurélien Panis held their own, holding off the likes of Daniel Haglöf and Kevin Ceccon in the early laps. As Panis fell down the order, Langeveld struggled to hold off the train of Nicky Catsburg, Norbert Michelisz and PWR Racing’s Mikel Azcona. Azcona employed a clever strategy of following the two Hyundai’s and this helped him make places up the order.

Upfront, Huff was facing another battle as Guerrieri took second place from the Volkswagen driver. Huff lost third place as Ceccon closed in, looking to give Team Mulsanne its second podium finish of the day. Catsburg was closing behind with  The Hyundai driver past Huff before the end of the lap.

Gabriele Tarquini was making up places fast until he made contact with the unlucky Panis. As the Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing driver got back in his rhythm, Tarquini was soon handed a drive-through penalty.

Having lost out in Qualifying, Tom Coronel started dead last in twenty-seventh place. By the penultimate lap, Coronel had passed the highest Lynk & Co of Yvan Muller for tenth place, adding to his points haul in race one.

Girolami and Guerrieri took their one-two at the flag with Ceccon closing, as Catsburg and Huff completed the top five. Michelisz, Azcona were next up with Langeveld in eight place. Ma Qing Hua held on for ninth place with Coronel in tenth.

Muller was eleventh ahead of the Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport duo of Jean-Karl Vernay and Gordon Shedden. Volkswagen drivers Mehdi Bennani and Johan Kristoffersson completed the final points positions.

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