*PEUGEOT becomes fifth customer racing brand to triumph in WTCR OSCARO
*Comte is eighth different winner from 11 races at sun-baked Zandvoort
*Thompson hands Ehrlacher second to boost Frenchman’s title quest
*Dutch Formula One racer Max Verstappen on grid prior to start
A supreme drive from Aurélien Comte in the reverse-grid Race 2 at WTCR Race of Netherlands delivered a maiden WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO victory for both the driver and his DG Sport Compétition team at Zandvoort today (Monday).
The Frenchman made a brilliant start from the front row in his rapid PEUGEOT 308TCR to beat DHL Pole Position starter James Thompson to the first corner, Tarzan, then survived a safety car restart to become the eighth different winner of the WTCR OSCARO season as PEUGEOT became the fifth customer racing brand to triumph.
“Yesterday I did a very good start to manage to be P2 and it was already a very good result for the team and for myself,” said Comte. “Today I did the same, a very good start and I took the lead at the first corner. In some parts James was quicker than him but I managed my pace to the end of the race. I knew there was some pressure but I really wasn’t thinking about the pressure. I was just leading the race and trying to go to the end.”
Comte controlled the race from the front as Thompson tracked him. The safety car interrupted the action on lap six to allow the cars of Fabrizio Giovanardi and Aurélien Panis to be recovered after a collision. But at the restart on lap eight, Comte scorched out of the final corner to ensure Thompson’s ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR could not challenge into Tarzan.
Behind them, Pepe Oriola’s Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra and Yann Ehrlacher’s ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda enjoyed a spirited duel. Frenchman Ehrlacher finally found a way past the Spaniard on lap 12 of 14, and he was elevated further to second place by gracious team-mate Thompson on the final lap in the interests of gaining vital points for the championship.
While Oriola held on for fourth, Mehdi Bennani worked hard for his fifth place. The Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR soaked up pressure throughout the race as Gordon Shedden’s Audi RS 3 LMS and Esteban Guerrieri’s Honda engaged in an entertaining chase. Guerrieri pulled off a great pass on Shedden on lap 10, but the Scot returned the favour on lap 13 to claim sixth.
Rob Huff’s Golf was eighth, ahead of Frédéric Vervisch’s Audi, John Filippi’s Cupra TCR and Denis Dupont’s Audi, as five customer racing brands filled the top 10 places.
Once again at Zandvoort, the Hyundais were not among them, as both YMR and BRC Racing Team struggled for pace following changes to the Balance of Performance for this round.
Reigning World Touring Car champion Thed Björk was the best of the i30 N TCRs in P16, while team-mate and WTCR OSCARO points leader Yvan Muller spun and then pitted with suspected engine issues. Norbert Michelisz, starting at the back following a 10-place grid penalty for his Race 1 clash with Muller, was the final finisher in P23, while team-mate Gabriele Tarquini was P19. Gianni Morbidelli gave the Alfa Romeo Giulietta-equipped Team Mulsanne a season-high P13.
Wildcard entries Prince Bernhard van Oranje and Michael Verhagen finished in P21 and P22 respectively in their all-orange Bas Koeten Racing Audis. Dutch hero Tom Coronel was P14 in his Boutsen Ginion Honda.
Dutch Formula One star, Max Verstappen, who is performing demo runs and making several public appearances at the Jumbo Racedagen event, took a tour of the grid before the start with guests from TAG Heuer, the WTCR’s Official Timing Partner, and visited Coronel and van Oranje to offer words of support.
Jean-Karl Vernay, who will start Race 3 from the DHL Pole Position retired his Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi on the fifth lap.
Race 3 of WTCR Race of Netherlands takes place on 16h35 local time.
World Touring Car Cup
WTCRRace of NetherlandsWTCRSEASON 2018SportCircuit1SportWorld Touring Car CupCircuitWTCRSEASON 2018WTCRRace of Netherlands01Monday, May 21, 2018 – 2:42pmMonday, May 21, 2018 – 2:42pm