Gabriele Tarquini returned to the lead of the FIA World Touring Car Cup championship standings by claiming victory in the second race at the Slovakia Ring. The Italian and his BRC Racing Hyundai led home the Zengõ Motorsport Cupra of Norbert Nagy – who claimed his and the team’s first podium finish in the series – and the YMR Hyundai of Yvan Muller.

The start of Saturday’s late afternoon race was delayed amid controversy after three of the Honda entries – Benjamin Lessennes, Esteban Guerrieri and Tom Coronel – were initially stripped of their qualifying results due to a boost violation.

Unlike their rival Hyundai runners who opted to cop back-of-the-grid starts for their drivers in Race 1, the affected Münnich Motorsport and Boutsen Ginion Racing teams immediately lodged an appeal and were reinstated. Coronel would, however, fail to take the start when his Honda suffered a damper failure.

With the top-ten qualifiers from Saturday’s earlier qualifying session starting in reverse order, Nagy held pole position from Tarquini.

Tarquini did not repeat his poor start in Race 1 that saw him drop from pole position to fourth by Turn 1 and instead beat Nagy off the line, with the Hungarian tucking in behind the Hyundai at Turn 3 after running side-by-side with the veteran through the high-speed right-handers at Turns 1 and 2.

The best getaway of all was made by Muller, who launched from seventh on the grid into third place.

Race 1 winner Pepe Oriola overtook Frédéric Vervisch’s Comtoyou Audi and moved up to fourth place in his Campos Racing Cupra, with Benjamin Lessennes in the Honda slipping past Vervisch on the following lap to move into fifth.

Vervischwas unable to sustain the pace of those around him and dropped two further placed behind the second campos Racing Cupra of John Filippi and Tarquini’s teammate Norbert Michelisz. He would ultimately finish eighth ahead of the two Münnich Hondas of Esteban Guerrieri and Yann Ehrlacher.

Up front, Tarquini steadily pulled away from Nagy, who was left to fend off Muller. The Hungarian youngster drove admirably, holding off the four-time WTCC title-winner to the chequered flag for a career-best result.

Tarquini’s victory moves him three points ahead of Muller in the Drivers’ Championship standings, while third-placed Ehrlacher slips further adrift and is now 31 points behind.

The results of the race remain provisional until a ruling on the appeal from Boutsen Ginion and Münnich Motorsport, which could see Lessennes (fifth) and Guerrieri (ninth) excluded from the results.

The third and final race of the weekend takes place at 11:45 on Sunday (GMT +2), with Norbert Michelisz starting from pole position.

2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup Race of Slovakia – Race 2 Final Classification (9 laps)
Driver Team Laps Result Pts
1. Gabriele Tarquini it BRC Racing Team 9 19:54.840 25
2. Norbert Nagy Zengõ Motorsport 9 + 2.150 18
3. Yvan Muller MRacing – YMR 9 + 3.354 15
4. Pepe Oriola es Team OSCARO by Campos Racing 9 + 4.750 12
5. Benjamin Lessennes be Boutsen Ginion Racing 9 + 5.313 10
6. John Filippi Team OSCARO by Campos Racing 9 + 5.892 8
7. Norbert Michelisz BRC Racing Team 9 + 5.895 6
8. Frédéric Vervisch be Audi Sport Team Comtoyou 9 + 13.578 4
9. Esteban Guerrieri ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport 9 + 14.194 2
10. Yann Ehrlacher ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport 9 + 14.540 1
11. Thed Björk MRacing – YMR 9 + 14.851
12. Kevin Ceccon it Mulsanne SRL 9 + 15.084
13. Nathanaël Berthon Comtoyou Racing 9 + 15.300
14. Aurélien Comte DG Sport Compétition 9 + 18.201
15. Fabrizio Giovanardi it Mulsanne SRL 9 + 18.330
16. Gordon Shedden Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team 9 + 21.177
17. Mat’o Homola DG Sport Compétition 9 + 21.606
18. Denis Dupont be Comtoyou Racing 9 + 28.527
19. Andrej Studenič Brutal Fish Racing 9 + 28.904
20. Zsolt Dávid Szabó Zengõ Motorsport 9 + 30.283
21. Petr Fulín it Fullin Race Academy 8 + 1 lap
Not Classified Team Laps Result
DNF. Mehdi Bennani Sébastien Loeb Racing 5 Retired
DNF. Rob Huff Sébastien Loeb Racing 5 Retired
DNF. Aurélien Panis Comtoyou Racing 5 Damage
DNF. Jean-Karl Vernay Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team 5 Brakes
DNS. Tom Coronel Boutsen Ginion Racing 0 Damper

* Post-Race Penalties:

  • Zsolt Dávid Szabó was issued a 10-second post-race time penalty for causing avoidable contact with Gordon Shedden and Mat’o Homola.
  • Aurélien Panis was issued a 5-place grid penalty for Race 3 for causing avoidable contact with Petr Fulín.

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.