Néstor Girolami converted pole position into his first World Touring Car Cup victory in the opening race of the Hungaroring round, and in doing so the Münnich Motorsport driver vaulted to third in the Drivers’ Championship standings.

The Argentine driver held off fellow front-row starter Yvan Muller’s Cyan Racing Lynk & Co at the start, chopping across the front of the Frenchman and holding the inside line on the run to Turn 1 to keep a lead he would not surrender for the remainder of the 12-lap race.

His straight-line speed advantage over Muller would prevent the veteran from launching an attack, allowing him an unchallenged run to the chequered flag. Muller followed him in his wheel tracks to finish less than half a second behind.

Girolami’s teammate and countryman Esteban Guerrieri completed the podium positions to reclaim the lead of the Drivers’ Championship standings from Muller’s teammate Thed Björk, who finished seventh.

Guerrieri briefly threatened Muller for second place as they approached Turn 1 on the tenth lap; Muller took a tighter line through the right-hander which left him open to an attack from Guerrieri on the run to Turn 2. They ran side-by-side down the short straight, with Muller hugging the inside line to prevent a pass.

Fourth place went to WRT Audi’s Jean-Karl Vernay, who survived mid-race contact with the Lynk & Co of Yann Ehrlacher that led to the French youngster being forced to retire his car with damaged rear suspension.

Aurélien Panis finished fifth in his Comtoyou Cupra ahead of the Comtoyou Audi of Frédéric Vervisch and Björk’s Lynk & Co.

Former rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson finished eighth in his SLR Volkswagen Golf GTI, with thew BRC Racing Hyundai pairing of Augusto Farfus and local hero Norbert Michelisz completing the top ten. Farfus avoided a penalty despite punting the PWR Cupra of Daniel Haglöf into a half-spin at the Turn 6/7 chicane which demoted the Swedish driver to eleventh place.

The WTCR Race of Hungary resumes on Sunday morning with the second three-part qualifying session due to start at 10:00 local time (GMT +2). It will determine the grid order for Race 2 (12 laps) at 15:30 and Race 3 (15 laps) at 17:00 which follow, with the fastest ten qualifiers having their grid positions reversed for Race 2.

2019 FIA WTCR Race of Hungary – Race 1 Final Classification (12 laps)
Driver Team / Entry Laps Result Pts
1. Néstor Girolami Münnich Motorsport 12 23:19.369 25
2. Yvan Muller Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 12 + 0.475 20
3. Esteban Guerrieri Münnich Motorsport 12 + 0.926 16
4. Jean-Karl Vernay Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport 12 + 1.846 13
5. Aurélien Panis Comtoyou Team DHL Cupra Racing 12 + 2.265 11
6. Frédéric Vervisch be Comtoyou Team Audi Sport 12 + 2.851 10
7. Thed Björk Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 12 + 3.446 9
8. Johan Kristoffersson SLR Volkswagen 12 + 4.038 8
9. Augusto Farfus BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team 12 + 4.907 7
10. Norbert Michelisz BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse 12 + 5.259 6
11. Daniel Haglöf PWR Racing 12 + 8.867 5
12. Andy Priaulx Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 12 + 11.562 4
13. Gabriele Tarquini BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse 12 + 13.175 3
14. Rob Huff SLR VW Motorsport 12 + 13.762 2
15. Attila Tassi KCMG 12 + 15.303 1
16. Mehdi Bennani SLR VW Motorsport 12 + 15.871
17. Tom Coronel Comtoyou Team DHL Cupra Racing 12 + 17.654
18. Kevin Ceccon Team Mulsanne 12 + 18.514
19. Tiago Monteiro KCMG 12 + 19.064
20. Benjamin Leuchter be SLR Volkswagen 12 + 23.819
21. Tamás Tenke (WC) Zengő Motorsport 12 + 31.037
22. Mikel Azcona PWR Racing 12 + 47.004
23. Nicky Catsburg BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team 12 + 47.295
24. Niels Langeveld Comtoyou Team Audi Sport 12 + 48.294
25. Ma Qing Hua Team Mulsanne 12 + 1:16.834
Not Classified Team / Entry Laps Reason
DNF. Gordon Shedden Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport 6 Mechanical
DNF. Yann Ehrlacher Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 5 Suspension

Championship Points:

  • The top fifteen classified finishers and their respective teams are awarded championship points on a 25-20-16-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 sliding scale.

Post-Race Penalties:

  • Benjamin Leuchter was awarded a 5-second post-race penalty for being out of his assigned grid position at the start of the race.
  • Mikel Azcona, Nicky Catsburg and Niels Langeveld were each awarded a 30-second post-race time penalty for repeated track limits violations.

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.