Nurburgring WTCR: Bjork fends off Vervisch for Race 3 win

Reigning World Touring Car champion Thed Bjork converted pole position into victory in the third WTCR world cup race at the Nurburgring Nordschleife, resisting a charge from Frederic Vervisch.

Nurburgring WTCR: Bjork fends off Vervisch for Race 3 win
Tom Coronel, Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR
Benjamin Lessennes, Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR
Thed Björk, YMR Hyundai i30 N TCR
Yvan Muller, YMR Hyundai i30 N TCR
Yann Ehrlacher, ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
Aurélien Panis, Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS
Tom Coronel, Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR
Aurélien Comte, DG Sport Competition Peugeot 308TCR
Thed Björk, YMR Hyundai i30 N TCR

Bjork's victory was his first of the WTCR season, winning from pole at the third attempt in his YMR Hyundai after two previous attempts at Marrakesh and in Thursday's opening Nordschleife race.

The Swede held his lead into the opening Turn 1/2 right/left complex at the start of the race, with Vervisch slotting his Comtoyou Racing Audi in behind from as Bjork's teammate Yvan Muller brusquely pushed Norbert Michelisz out wide and down to sixth.

Bjork pulled away on the early run on the Grand Prix loop and through the first part of the Nordschleife and, although Vervisch had caught back up by the time they got to the middle sector, was far enough ahead on the long run down Dottinger Hohe towards the end of the lap to start lap two comfortably ahead.

Vervisch dropped back again on that lap, but was able to get much closer to the leader on Dottinger Hohe at the second attempt and crossed the line at the start of the lap just 0.164 seconds shy of Bjork.

That set the Belgian up for an attack around the outside of Turn 1, before he switched back up Bjork's inside for the quick left-handed cutback at Turn 2.

Vervisch was able to draw his Audi alongside the Hyundai but, after the pair had rubbed panels, had to drop back in behind Bjork and did not get close to another attempt for the lead.

Bjork eventually ran out winner by 0.793 seconds, clinching his first victory since the corresponding Nurburgring Nordschleife World Touring Car Championship round a year earlier, ahead of Vervisch and Muller, who was a distant third.

Four-time WTCC champion Muller had been challenged closely by nephew Yann Ehrlacher on the opening two laps, but the young Frenchman parked his Munnich Motorsport Honda early on the final lap.

That promoted Rob Huff to fourth on the Grand Prix loop, but the Sebastien Loeb Racing driver was then passed by Ehrlacher's Munnich Motorpsort teammate Esteban Guerrieri before the cars headed onto the Nordschleife.

Huff reported his Volkswagen was losing power as he was overtaken by Benjamin Lessennes, and the Briton gradually dropped down the order before his race came to an early end after a hit from Michelisz.

BRC Racing driver Michelisz had dropped from his early sixth place to 11th after a hit from Guerrieri - for which the Argentinian had 10 seconds added to his race time - and tried an overambitious lunge up Huff's inside that speared Huff off left into a barrier and left Michelisz's Hyundai with a broken right-rear wheel.

Guerrieri's penalty dropped him to ninth, promoting Boutsen Ginion Honda driver Lessennes to a career-best fourth.

Nathanael Berthon steered clear of trouble to pick up fifth in the revised classification, ahead of race two runner-up Pepe Oriola (Campos Racing Cupra) and the leading WRT Audi of Jean-Karl Vernay.

Huff's teammate Mehdi Bennani was classified eighth ahead of Guerrieri, while Tom Coronel's reward for avoiding hitting both Michelisz and Huff after their crash was the final point.

Muller's third place means he assumes the outright lead of the drivers' standings after erstwhile leader Gabriele Tarquini failed to take the start.

Tarquini's third non-score of the weekend was a legacy of the crash he suffered on the Nordschleife in Saturday's earlier second race, which ruled him out of the finale.

Rene Rast was also unable to start race three after his Audi was damaged in an incident with Rob Huff in race two.

Race 3 Results:

1 11 SWE Thed Bjork Hyundai -
2 22 BEL Frederic Vervisch Audi 0.793
3 48 FRA Yvan Muller Hyundai 8.947
4 63 BEL Benjamin Lessennes Honda 13.088
5 23 FRA Nathanaël Berthon Audi 15.900
6 74 ESP Pepe Oriola Seat 18.077
7 69 FRA Jean Karl Vernay Audi 18.858
8 25 MAR Mehdi Bennani Volkswagen 19.548
9 86 ARG Esteban Guerrieri Honda 20.472
10 9 HOL Tom Coronel Honda 24.614
11 21 FRA Aurelien Panis Audi 25.054
12 70 SVK Mat'o Homola Peugeot 28.639
13 20 BEL Denis Dupont Audi 30.123
14 52 GBR Gordon Shedden Audi 30.584
15 88 ITA Fabrizio Giovanardi Alfa Romeo 31.004
16 15 GBR James Thompson Honda 33.162
17 7 FRA Aurelien Comte Peugeot 33.476
18 8 HUN Norbert Nagy Seat 36.231
19 94 SUI Kris Richard Honda 36.453
20 27 FRA John Filippi Seat 1'14.658
21 68 FRA Yann Ehrlacher Honda 1 lap
22 12 GBR Rob Huff Volkswagen 1 lap
23 5 HUN Norbert Michelisz Hyundai 1 lap
24 10 ITA Gianni Morbidelli Alfa Romeo 1 lap
Nurburgring WTCR: Guerrieri takes first win of 2018

Previous article

Nurburgring WTCR: Guerrieri takes first win of 2018

Next article

Zandvoort WTCR: Hyundais struggle in practice after BoP hit

Zandvoort WTCR: Hyundais struggle in practice after BoP hit
Load comments