Rob Huff has claimed his first FIA World Touring Car Cup win of its inaugural season, holding off a stern challenge from local wildcard Dániel Nagy throughout the race.
Starting from pole position in the reversed-grid race, Huff launched his Sébastien Loeb Racing VW Golf GTI into the lead, chopping across Nagy’s M1RA Hyundai i30 N TCR on the run to Turn 1.
Behind them, Yvan Muller made a terrific getaway from fifth on the grid in his YMR Hyundai, leaping into third place ahead of Huff’s teammate Mehdi Bennani and the Münnich Motorsport Honda of James Thompson.
Muller initially challenged Nagy for second place, but the Hungarian soon broke free of the Frenchman’s clutches and set about in his pursuit of Huff. The youngster harried the vastly more experienced Huff for the remainder of the 12-lap race, with the squabbling pair falling back towards Muller.
Behind Muller, Thompson’s teammate Esteban Guerrieri overtook the Englishman for fourth place on Lap 2. Two laps later, however, Thompson and Race 1 winner Yann Ehrlacher both suffered a sudden loss of power within seconds of each other and limped back to the pits.
Guerrieri would not hold his fourth place for long, as championship leader Gabriele Tarquini loomed large in the Argentine’s mirrors. On Lap 10, the Italian veteran made his move, forcing his way past the Honda driver at Turn 2 before quickly closing onto the back of Muller.
The top five ran nose-to-tail for the remainder of the race and were covered by barely three seconds when Huff crossed the finish line. Rapturous applause greeted Nagy, who had put in a superb performance in his one-off WTCR outing ahead of a full season in the feeder TCR Europe championship starting next weekend at Paul Ricard.
The local fans were given a triple reason to celebrate, with Norbert Michelisz crossing the line in sixth after winning a tough battle with Bennani, while Zsolt Szabó claimed his and the Zengõ Motorsport team’s first points of the season by finishing ninth ahead of Jean-Karl Vernay’s WRT Honda.
Huff’s win moves him to third in the Drivers’ Championship standings, 27 points behind overall leader Tarquini. Saturday race-winner Yann Ehrlacher sits in second place, slipping to 22 points behind the Italian after his retirement.
The third and final race of the weekend is scheduled for 16:55 CET. Local hero Norbert Michelisz starts from pole position ahead of BRC Racing teammate Tarquini.
|2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup Race of Hungary – Race 2 Final Classification (12 laps)|
|1.||Rob Huff||Sébastien Loeb Racing||12||23:11.390||25|
|2.||Dániel Nagy||M1RA||12||+ 0.562||18|
|3.||Yvan Muller||MRacing – YMR||12||+ 2.200||15|
|4.||Gabriele Tarquini||BRC Racing Team||12||+ 2.659||12|
|5.||Esteban Guerrieri||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||12||+ 3.050||10|
|6.||Norbert Michelisz||BRC Racing Team||12||+ 4.252||8|
|7.||Mehdi Bennani||Sébastien Loeb Racing||12||+ 8.529||6|
|8.||Benjamin Lessennes||Boutsen Ginion Racing||12||+ 13.453||4|
|9.||Zsolt Dávid Szabó||Zengõ Motorsport||12||+ 19.460||2|
|10.||Jean-Karl Vernay||Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team||12||+ 19.896||1|
|11.||Norbert Nagy||Zengõ Motorsport||12||+ 22.475|
|12.||Thed Björk||MRacing – YMR||12||+ 22.855|
|13.||John Filippi||Team OSCARO by Campos Racing||12||+ 24.007|
|14.||Nathanaël Berthon||Comtoyou Racing||12||+ 24.480|
|15.||Gordon Shedden||Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team||12||+ 25.916|
|16.||Aurélien Comte||DG Sport Compétition||12||+ 26.732|
|17.||Frédéric Vervisch||Audi Sport Team Comtoyou||12||+ 27.115|
|18.||Attila Tassi||KCMG||12||+ 27.832|
|19.||Tom Coronel||Boutsen Ginion Racing||12||+ 31.597|
|20.||Aurélien Panis||Comtoyou Racing||12||+ 33.739|
|21.||Denis Dupont||Comtoyou Racing||12||+ 39.207|
|22.||Gianni Morbidelli||Mulsanne SRL||12||+ 44.396|
|23.||Fabrizio Giovanardi||Mulsanne SRL||12||+ 1:00.037|
|DNF.||Yann Ehrlacher||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||8||Mechanical|
|NC.||James Thompson||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||8||+ 4 laps|
|NC.||Mat’o Homola||DG Sport Compétition||7||+ 5 laps|
|DNF.||Pepe Oriola||Team OSCARO by Campos Racing||5||Mechanical|
* Post-Race Penalties:
- Fabrizio Giovanardi – who provisionally finished 19th – was handed a 30-second time penalty for causing a collision with Gianni Morbidelli.
Image via FIA WTCR Media