Nicky Catsburg has given Polestar Cyan Racing a clean sweep of the FIA WTCC Race of Germany at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, following teammate Thed Björk’s triumph in Sunday’s earlier Opening Race.
With Honda’s Tiago Monteiro failing to score in either race after suffering a puncture in the Opening Race and having to start from the back of the grid in the Main Race, Catsburg has also claimed the lead of the Drivers’ Championship standings.
A furious Monteiro was forced to start from the back of the grid – behind both the 15-car WTCC field and the slower 11-car ETCC field – after his Honda mechanics were unable to complete the repairs to his car in time following his Opening Race puncture. Barring a race of significant attrition, the Portuguese driver was looking at another non-score.
Starting from the front row of the grid, Catsburg made a better start than Monteiro teammate and pole-sitter Norbert Michelisz to lead into the first complex of corners.
The Dutch driver was challenged into Turn 2 by an even-quicker starting Rob Huff, who tried to force his Münnich Motorsport Citroën around the outside of Catsburg’s Volvo at the left-hander.
That move was never going to work as Catsburg held his racing line and eased an irritated Huff wide, dropping the Englishman to fourth. Huff quickly regrouped and overtook the second Volvo of Björk before the field left the Grand Prix section of the circuit.
Catsburg eased away into an early lead from Michelisz, who had Huff, Björk and the Citroën of Tom Chilton bottled up behind him.
Unlike the Opening Race, there was little in the way of overtaking along the Döttinger Höhe straight. Huff surprisingly struggled to stay in Michelisz’s tow down the two-mile stretch and instead came under threat from Björk behind him.
Behind them, SLR Citroën teammates Tom Chilton and Mehdi Benanni ran fifth and sixth, with seventh-placed Tom Coronel leading the pair of Chevrolets, just ahead of Argentina’s Esteban Guerrieri.
RC Motorsport’s Yann Ehrlacher ran ninth in the Lada Vesta, with John Filippi engaged in a tense battle for tenth against Ehrlacher’s teammate Kevin Gleason.
The field remained in that order thereon, with Catsburg cruising to his second career victory and a slim two-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship standings.
With the third Volvo of Néstor Girolami failing to make the start – his Opening Race puncture damage proving too great to repair in time – the field was further reduced with the opening lap retirement of Honda’s Ryo Michigami and a heavy last-lap accident for Dániel Nagy, who clattered his Zengõ Motorsport Honda against the barriers after a suspected puncture.
Despite these retirements, Monteiro finished out of the points in thirteenth and last, unable to get onto the tail of the remaining WTCC field after picking his way past the ETCC runners on the opening lap.
|2017 FIA WTCC Race of Germany – Main Race Final Classification ( laps)|
|1.||Nick Catsburg||Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 TC1||26:20.680||MF|
|2.||Norbert Michelisz||Castrol Honda WTCC Team Civic WTCC||+ 3.065||MF|
|3.||Rob Huff||Münnich Motorsport Citroën C-Elysée||+ 3.41||IND|
|4.||Thed Björk||Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 TC1||+ 4.167||MF|
|5.||Tom Chilton||Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée||+ 5.763||IND|
|6.||Mehdi Bennani||Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée||+ 11.239||IND|
|7.||Tom Coronel||ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze||+ 14.614||IND|
|8.||Esteban Guerrieri||Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze||+ 14.939||IND|
|9.||Yann Ehrlacher||RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC||+ 20.540||IND|
|10.||John Filippi||Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée||+ 21.928||IND|
|11.||Kevin Gleason||RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC||+ 24.245||IND|
|12.||Aurélien Panis||Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC||+ 29.600||IND|
|13.||Tiago Monteiro||Castrol Honda WTCC Team Civic WTCC||+ 43.108||MF|
|DNF.||Dániel Nagy||Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC||Accident||IND|
|DNF.||Ryo Michigami||Honda Racing Team JAS Civic WTCC||Suspension||MF|
|DNS.||Néstor Girolami||Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 TC1||MF|
Image via FIA WTCC Media
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