Gabriele Tarquini has extended his lead in the FIA World Touring Car Cup championship standings with his third victory of the 2018 season, leading home teammate Norbert Michelisz in a rain-interrupted final race at the Hungaroring.
Despite starting second behind pole-sitter Michelisz, Tarquini got the jump on the Hungarian off the line and led the field into Turn 1, with the Münnich Motorsport Honda of Esteban Guerrieri slotting into third place. It quickly emerged that Guerrieri had jumped the start, leading to a drive-through penalty for the Argentine.
The Safety Car was called into action when Aurélien Panis’ Audi RS 3 LMS retired with damaged steering and had to be recovered by the marshals.
As the race resumed, Guerrieri peeled into the pits to serve his drive-through penalty, promoting the YMR Hyundai of Yvan Muller into third.
The race would only run for two further laps before light rain hit the circuit. With the track quickly becoming slippery and with in-race pit stops not permitted under the rules, race officials suspended proceedings to allow the field to switch to wet-weather tyres.
Racing resumed after a 15-minute break, however the field remained on slick tyres as the rain had abated almost as quickly as it had appeared. Tarquini held position, with Michelisz under instruction by the pit wall not to challenge his teammate and risk their 1-2 formation.
Tarquini crossed the finish line just three-tenths of a second clear of Michelisz, with Muller claiming third place after keeping his nephew Yann Ehrlacher at bay.
Benjamin Lessennes claimed his best WTCR finish to-date in fifth in the Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda, receiving the chequered flag ahead of Dániel Nagy’s M1RA Hyundai and James Thompson’s Münnich Honda.
Race 2 winner Rob Huff consolidated his strong weekend by finishing eighth in his Sébastien Loeb Racing VW Golf GTI, fending off a stern challenge from last year’s WTCC title-winner Thed Björk in the second YMR Hyundai. Jean-Karl Vernay picked up the final point on offer in tenth in the Team WRT Audi.
With three victories in six races to-date, Tarquini now comfortably leads the Drivers’ Championship standings with 118 points, 36 clear of Ehrlacher. Muller sits just three points further back in third.
The third round of the 2018 FIA WTCR season takes place at the iconic Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit in two weeks’ time.
|2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup Race of Hungary – Race 3 Final Classification (17 laps)|
|1.||Gabriele Tarquini||BRC Racing Team||17||46:49.549||30|
|2.||Norbert Michelisz||BRC Racing Team||17||+ 0.354||23|
|3.||Yvan Muller||MRacing – YMR||17||+ 3.691||19|
|4.||Yann Ehrlacher||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||17||+ 4.092||16|
|5.||Benjamin Lessennes||Boutsen Ginion Racing||17||+ 7.675||13|
|6.||Dániel Nagy||M1RA||17||+ 8.198||10|
|7.||James Thompson||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||17||+ 9.631||7|
|8.||Rob Huff||Sébastien Loeb Racing||17||+ 12.386||4|
|9.||Thed Björk||MRacing – YMR||17||+ 12.999||2|
|10.||Jean-Karl Vernay||Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team||17||+ 17.645||1|
|11.||Norbert Nagy||Zengõ Motorsport||17||+ 21.297|
|12.||Gordon Shedden||Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team||17||+ 22.769|
|13.||Aurélien Comte||DG Sport Compétition||17||+ 23.439|
|14.||Gianni Morbidelli||Mulsanne SRL||17||+ 24.124|
|15.||Attila Tassi||KCMG||17||+ 25.688|
|16.||Nathanaël Berthon||Comtoyou Racing||17||+ 26.354|
|17.||Mehdi Bennani||Sébastien Loeb Racing||17||+ 27.077|
|18.||Frédéric Vervisch||Audi Sport Team Comtoyou||17||+ 27.869|
|19.||Pepe Oriola*||Team OSCARO by Campos Racing||17||+ 32.260|
|20.||Mat’o Homola*||DG Sport Compétition||17||+ 35.404|
|21.||Denis Dupont||Comtoyou Racing||17||+ 35.408|
|22.||Esteban Guerrieri||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||17||+ 1:53.270|
|DNF.||Zsolt Dávid Szabó||Zengõ Motorsport||6||Mechanical|
|DNF.||Tom Coronel||Boutsen Ginion Racing||5||Damage|
|DNF.||John Filippi||Team OSCARO by Campos Racing||4||Mechanical|
|DNF.||Fabrizio Giovanardi||Mulsanne SRL||3||Damage|
|DNF.||Aurélien Panis||Comtoyou Racing||1||Collision|
* Post-Race Penalties:
- Pepe Oriola – who provisionally finished 12th – was awarded a 10-second time penalty for exceeding the track’s limits.
- Mat’o Homola – who provisionally finished 16th – was awarded a 10-second time penalty for exceeding the track’s limits.
Image via FIA WTCR Media