Aurélien Comte claimed his and Peugeot’s first win in the FIA World Touring Car Cup, securing victory in the reversed-grid race at Zandvoort after getting the jump on pole-sitter James Thompson at the start.

Having achieved a maiden podium for himself and the DG Sport Compétition team in Sunday’s opening race by vaulting from seventh on the grid to second at the start, the young Frenchman made another textbook getaway to outsprint Thompson’s Münnich Motorsport Honda on the long run to Tarzan.

Comte was able to pull away from Thompson in the opening laps until the race was briefly suspended by a Safety Car caused by the retirements of Fabrizio Giovanardi and Aurélien Panis on Lap 5. Panis had slowed with a mechanical drama and was collected by Giovanardi, who speared off the circuit a few corners later when his front splitter failed.

Once the race resumed, Comte bolted away at the green flag but was quickly hauled in by Thompson. The Englishman could not get close enough to mount a serious challenge, and when his teammate Yann Ehrlacher finally found a way past the Campos Racing Cupra of Pepe Oriola to move into third place, Thompson ceded position to Ehrlacher to help the Frenchman’s WTCR title bid.

The extra three points earned helped Ehrlacher move to within a point of championship leader Yvan Muller, his uncle, who finished out of the points.

Runner-up Ehrlacher had started the race from fifth position, beating Mehdi Bennani’s VW Gold GTI into fourth at the start before finding himself bottled up behind Oriola.

For lap after lap, Ehrlacher attacked but could not find a way through the Spaniard’s stern defenses. Oriola’s tyres started to fade in the final laps and Ehrlacher took his chance, bumping the Cupra on the approach to the slow Vodafone left-hander which allowed the Honda driver to nip through.

Thompson secured his first WTCR podium finish, while fourth-placed Oriola held off a train of cars behind him that included Bennani, Gordon Shedden and Esteban Guerrieri who staged their own entertaining scrap for fifth place.

Bennani’s Sébastien Loeb Racing teammate Rob Huff finished in eighth place ahead of Frédéric Vervisch (Comtoyou Audi) and John Filippi in the second Campos Cupra.

Shedden’s teammate Jean-Karl Vernay was demoted to the back of the grid after an engine change and elected to start from the pit lane to avoid any potential incidents ahead of him. He ran for four laps before pulling his undamaged car in to the pit lane to ensure a drama-free preparation for this afternoon’s final race, which he will start from pole position.

The third and final race of the FIA WTCR Zandvoort round takes place over 15 laps at 16:35 local time (GMT +2).

Driver Team Laps Result Pts
1. Aurélien Comte DG Sport Compétition 14 26:47.210 25
2. Yann Ehrlacher ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport 14 + 4.757 18
3. James Thompson ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport 14 + 5.255 15
4. Pepe Oriola es Team OSCARO by Campos Racing 14 + 6.657 12
5. Mehdi Bennani Sébastien Loeb Racing 14 + 7.120 10
6. Gordon Shedden Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team 14 + 7.458 8
7. Esteban Guerrieri ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport 14 + 8.086 6
8. Rob Huff Sébastien Loeb Racing 14 + 9.198 4
9. Frédéric Vervisch be Audi Sport Team Comtoyou 14 + 9.567 2
10. John Filippi Team OSCARO by Campos Racing 14 + 9.988 1
11. Denis Dupont be Comtoyou Racing 14 + 10.557
12. Benjamin Lessennes be Boutsen Ginion Racing 14 + 10.887
13. Gianni Morbidelli it Mulsanne SRL 14 + 11.561
14. Tom Coronel Boutsen Ginion Racing 14 + 12.855
15. Nathanaël Berthon Comtoyou Racing 14 + 13.656
16. Thed Björk MRacing – YMR 14 + 17.729
17. Zsolt Dávid Szabó Zengõ Motorsport 14 + 13.798
18. Mat’o Homola DG Sport Compétition 14 + 16.508
19. Gabriele Tarquini it BRC Racing Team 14 + 16.961
20. Norbert Nagy Zengõ Motorsport 14 + 17.493
21. Bernhard van Oranje Bas Koeten Racing 14 + 19.996
22. Michael Verhagen Bas Koeten Racing 14 + 23.897
23. Norbert Michelisz BRC Racing Team 14 + 25.146
24. Yvan Muller MRacing – YMR 9 Mechanical
Not Classified Team Laps Result
DNF. Aurélien Panis Comtoyou Racing 4 Mechanical
DNF. Fabrizio Giovanardi it Mulsanne SRL 4 Damage
DNF. Jean-Karl Vernay Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team 4 Retired

* Post-Race Penalties:

  • None

Images via FIA WTCR Media

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.