Two-time World Rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson’s transition to touring car racing has brought the Swede early success with victory from a reversed-grid pole position in the second FIA WTCR race at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Kristoffersson gave the Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen team its first win of the 2019 season, surviving an early jostle for the lead with wildcard driver Antti Buri before pulling clear to win by over five seconds from Comtoyou Racing Audi driver Frédéric Vervisch. A controversial last-lap collision between former champions Gabriele Tarquini and Rob Huff promoted Augusto Farfus onto the final spot on the podium.
A slightly hesitant getaway by Kristoffersson allowed Buri to muscle his AS Racing Audi up the inside after the start on the run to Turn 1. Kristoffersson squeezed the Finnish driver onto the pit lane exit in his bid to keep the position, leading to the pair making minor contact through the Turn 1/2 chicane.
This allowed Vervisch to make a run on Buri at the chicane’s exit, with the Belgian passing Buri for second place before the fielded headed out onto the Nordschleife loop. Buri, not eligible for points and therefore not a contender, started a steady fall down the order and lost positions to Tarquini’s BRC Racing Hyundai and Huff’s SLR VW GTI.
The end of the opening lap saw a repeat of Huff’s spectacular double-slipstream pass in Race 1, but this time it was Huff’s SLR stablemate and Race pole-sitter Benjamin Leuchter who profited from a tow along Döttinger Höhe by blasting past both the Münnich Motorsport Honda of championship leader Esteban Guerrieri and the Comtoyou Cupra of Aurélien Panis to claim eighth.
With Kristoffersson having already pulled out a two-second lead over Vervisch, the main racing action was a tense battle for third place between Tarquini and Huff. The pair ran in close company through the lap, and an attempt by Huff to pass Tarquini along the two-kilometre Döttinger Höhe straight proved unsuccessful.
Huff remained glued to Tarquini’s rear bumper on the final lap, clearly quicker than the Italian veteran, and on the approach to the Karousel he made his move. Tarquini clipped Huff, spinning the Englishman hard into the barriers and instant retirement. With just a 15-minute repair window to Race 3, Huff could not get his battered car back to the pits and will therefore fail to make the start of the race for which he had qualified on the front row of the grid.
Tarquini, now with his own damage, continued on but he was overtaken by Farfus along Döttinger Höhe. The Italian managed to hold onto fourth place ahead of the KCMG Honda of Attila Tassi.
Tarquini would later be hit with a post-race penalty after being ruled at fault in the contact with Huff, promoting Tassi into the position.
Fifth place therefore went to Leuchter ahead of Guerrieri, with Tarquini’s teammate Norbert Michelisz in seventh, followed by the Comtoyou Cupra duo of Panis Tom Coronel, who were split by WRT Audi’s Jean-Karl Vernay.
|2019 FIA WTCR Race of Germany – Race 2 Final Classification (3 laps)|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Laps||Result||Pts|
|1.||Johan Kristoffersson||SLR Volkswagen||3||27:08.370||26|
|2.||Frédéric Vervisch||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||3||+ 5.108||20|
|3.||Augusto Farfus||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team||3||+ 10.891||16|
|4.||Attila Tassi||KCMG||3||+ 11.827||13|
|5.||Benjamin Leuchter||SLR Volkswagen||3||+ 12.340||11|
|6.||Esteban Guerrieri||Münnich Motorsport||3||+ 17.591||10|
|7.||Norbert Michelisz||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||3||+ 22.715||9|
|8.||Aurélien Panis||Comtoyou Team DHL Cupra Racing||3||+ 23.072||8|
|9.||Jean-Karl Vernay||Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport||3||+ 23.657||7|
|10.||Tom Coronel||Comtoyou Team DHL Cupra Racing||3||+ 24.329||6|
|11.||Antti Buri (WC)||AS Racing||3||+ 26.773|
|12.||Thed Björk||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||3||+ 27.121||5|
|13.||Mikel Azcona||PWR Racing||3||+ 27.178||4|
|14.||Tiago Monteiro||KCMG||3||+ 27.626||3|
|15.||Yvan Muller||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||3||+ 29.256||2|
|16.||Mehdi Bennani||SLR VW Motorsport||3||+ 29.647||1|
|17.||Daniel Haglöf||PWR Racing||3||+ 29.839|
|18.||Andy Priaulx||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||3||+ 30.559|
|19.||Kevin Ceccon||Team Mulsanne||3||+ 30.810|
|20.||Niels Langeveld||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||3||+ 31.157|
|21.||Gordon Shedden||Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport||3||+ 31.839|
|22.||Ma Qing Hua||Team Mulsanne||3||+ 32.385|
|23.||Gabriele Tarquini||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||3||+ 41.180|
|Not Classified||Team / Entry||Laps||Reason|
|DNF.||Rob Huff||SLR VW Motorsport||2||Collision|
|DNF.||Néstor Girolami||Münnich Motorsport||2||Damage|
|DNF.||Yann Ehrlacher||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||0||Collision|
|EXC.||Nicky Catsburg||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team||Excluded|
- The top fifteen classified finishers (excluding wildcard entries) 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.
- Gabriele Tarquini – who was provisionally classified 4th – was awarded a 30-second post-race time penalty for causing an avoidable collision with Rob Huff.
- Nicky Catsburg – who was provisionally classified 12th – was excluded from the final classification for exceeding boost pressure during the race.
Images via FIA WTCR Media
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