Ehrlacher crowned champion as Azcona and Huff win

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Ehrlacher crowned champion as Azcona and Huff win
© WTCR Champion Yann Ehrlacher, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR with the team

In race one, Azcona engaged in a thrilling wet-weather battle with Huff and the Comtoyou Audis of Gilles Magnus and Frederic Vervisch, the latter needing victory to keep his slender title chances alive in the partially reversed-grid opener.

But Jean-Karl Vernay made a demon start from the second row to split early leader Magnus and Vervisch, as Esteban Guerrieri’s own title challenge ended in a big lap-one crash when he ran wide at the long Turn 3 and smacked into a barrier.

Following a safety car intervention, racing resumed on lap four when Vernay passed Magnus for the lead with a run on the inside of Turn 3 – and Azcona and Huff triggered a fraught and thrilling race.

Huff’s race ended in a door-to-door collision with Vervisch, as Azcona worked his way up to second in the closing stages, then pulled a great move on the brakes into Turn 2 to pass Vernay for victory on the last lap.

Vervisch finished third, ahead of Magnus with a third Comtoyou Audi of Nathanael Berthon in fifth.

But it wasn’t enough to stop Ehrlacher calmly securing his second WTCR after a race in which he kept out of trouble to finish where he started in sixth.

In race two, Huff scored his first WTCR victory since his return to the series this year and became the the 12th winner in 16 races in a thrilling finale.

The Briton came from sixth on the grid to win, as two safety car interruptions broke up an incident-filled conclusion to the season.

The first intervention followed directly from the start when Magnus and Honda’s Attila Tassi made contact off the line, the former’s Audi left stranded on the track.

Ehrlacher crowned champion as Azcona and Huff win
© Autosport.com Yann Ehrlacher, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR

Yann Ehrlacher, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR

Photo by: WTCR

Racing was due to resume on lap four, but then pole position starter Yvan Muller slammed into the back of leader Azcona at the penultimate corner as the safety car returned to the pits. The impact left both out of the race.

As Nestor Girolami led the restart, Cupra driver Bence Boldizs and Lada local entry Kirill Ladygin collided at Turn 3, the Hungarian walking away from a big impact which once again neutralised the race.

When the action finally got under way on lap seven, Huff chased down Girolami and took the lead with a fine move at Turn 13.

He then stretched a gap to win from Vervisch, who passed Girolami on lap 10 and secured second in the points standings behind new champion Ehrlacher.

Nathanael Berthon completed the podium, while Tassi survived his start clash with Magnus to finish fourth from 12th on the grid. Jean-Karl Vernay was fifth, with new champion Ehrlacher scoring his second sixth place of the day.

Gabriele Tarquini’s WTCR career ended in disappointment. The 59-year-old Italian, who has announced his retirement, started race two in 15th and ran into the back of fellow veteran Jordi Gene on lap eight.

Heavy front-end damage forced Tarquini out of the race.

WTCR Sochi Race 2 results

ClaDriverGapPoints

 

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

1 Rob Huff 25
2 Frederic Vervisch 4.563 20
3 Nathanael Berthon 5.643 16
4 Attila Tassi 7.493 13
5 Jean-Karl Vernay 9.291 11
6 Yann Ehrlacher 9.600 10
7 Nestor Girolami 12.944 9
8 Norbert Michelisz 14.070 8
9 Tom Coronel 16.551 7
10 Luca Engstler 17.868 6
11 Thed Björk 18.421 5
12 Jordi Gene 30.463 4
13 Kirill Ladygin 37.541 3
14 Mikhail Mityaev 42.790 2
Gabriele Tarquini
Mikel Azcona
Bence Boldizs
Yvan Muller
Santiago Urrutia
Gilles Magnus
Esteban Guerrieri
View full results

WTCR Sochi Race 1 results

ClaDriverGapPoints

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

1 Mikel Azcona 25
2 Jean-Karl Vernay 1.403 20
3 Frederic Vervisch 2.432 16
4 Gilles Magnus 2.737 13
5 Nathanael Berthon 4.492 11
6 Yann Ehrlacher 6.003 10
7 Attila Tassi 7.500 9
8 Yvan Muller 8.316 8
9 Santiago Urrutia 9.961 7
10 Thed Björk 13.554 6
11 Nestor Girolami 14.116 5
12 Norbert Michelisz 19.602 4
13 Luca Engstler 21.582 3
14 Gabriele Tarquini 22.034 2
15 Jordi Gene 23.433 1
16 Tom Coronel 24.781
17 Bence Boldizs 25.740
18 Kirill Ladygin 34.196
19 Mikhail Mityaev 39.983
Rob Huff 2 Laps
Esteban Guerrieri
View full results
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