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Slovakia WTCR: Vervisch wins Race 1 from ninth

Slovakia WTCR: Vervisch wins Race 1 from ninth
May 12, 2019, 8:44 AM

Comtoyou driver Frederic Vervisch grabbed his and Audi’s first WTCR victory of the season in race one at the Slovakia Ring, having started from ninth on the grid.

Vervisch benefited from a rapid getaway and emerged from a hectic opening lap in second place, chasing the fast-starting Alfa Romeo Giulietta of Ma Qing Hua.

The Belgian kept the pressure on and swept by after a mistake under braking cost Ma the lead on lap four of 11.

Vervisch was untroubled for the remainder of the race on his way to sealing Audi’s first win of the year by 2.8s, while Ma took his first podium in second.

Spots of rain threatened before the race just as it did in Friday qualifying, but it was not enough for drivers to opt for wet tyres as the first 11-lap race got underway.

Ma inherited the lead while polesitter Nicky Catsburg slid wide in the slippery conditions in his efforts to sweep around the outside of the Alfa heading through Turn 1.

After surrendering the lead, Ma came under attack from Norbert Michelisz in the best of the BRC Racing Hyundais, but the Chinese driver held on for second despite an attempted lunge around the outside from Michelisz in the closing laps of the race.

Jean-Karl Vernay (WRT Audi) finished a lonely fourth, having survived a tag in the rear under braking heading into the tight third corner during the opening lap fall-out in tricky conditions.

A hectic tussle for fifth place eventually went the way of Augusto Farfus (BRC Hyundai), who charged through the pack methodically from a lowly 19th place on the grid.

Another Hyundai finished sixth as reigning champion Gabriele Tarquini fought his way from 13th, disposing of Catsburg, who fell back to seventh having also clipped a tyre stack.

Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Cupra) was eighth ahead of Mikel Azcona (PWR Cupra), while Luca Engstler’s  wildcard Hyundai was 10th ahead of the best of the Cyan Racing Lynk & Co cars of Yvan Muller.

Points leader Nestor Girolami failed to finish, after the Munnich Motorsport Honda driver made contact with the second Comtoyou Audi of Niels Langeveld during a frenetic first lap.

Report by Dan Mason

Race results:

Cla # Driver Chassis Laps Gap
1 22 Belgium Frederic Vervisch
Audi 11
2 55 China Ma Qing Hua
Alfa Romeo 11 2.834
3 5 Hungary Norbert Michelisz
Hyundai 11 3.243
4 69 France Jean-Karl Vernay
Audi 11 7.503
5 8 Brazil Augusto Farfus
Hyundai 11 13.949
6 1 Italy Gabriele Tarquini
Hyundai 11 14.426
7 88 Netherlands Nick Catsburg
Hyundai 11 20.055
8 50 Netherlands Tom Coronel
CUPRA 11 20.274
9 96 Spain Mikel Azcona
CUPRA 11 20.463
10 6 Germany Luca Engstler
Hyundai 11 21.657
11 100 France Yvan Muller
Lynk & Co 11 22.328
12 52 United Kingdom Gordon Shedden
Audi 11 22.532
13 12 United Kingdom Rob Huff
Volkswagen 11 24.017
14 33 Germany Benjamin Leuchter
Volkswagen 11 24.373
15 86 Argentina Esteban Guerrieri
Honda 11 25.407
16 10 Netherlands Niels Langeveld
Audi 11 26.665
17 18 Portugal Tiago Monteiro
Honda 11 26.870
18 9 Hungary Attila Tassi
Honda 11 28.405
19 37 Sweden Daniel Haglof
CUPRA 11 29.471
20 14 Sweden Johan Kristoffersson
Volkswagen 11 29.757
21 111 Guernsey Andy Priaulx
Lynk & Co 11 30.061
22 68 France Yann Ehrlacher
Lynk & Co 11 31.896
23 11 Sweden Thed Björk
Lynk & Co 11 32.145
21 France Aurelien Panis
CUPRA 9 2 Laps
25 Morocco Mehdi Bennani
Volkswagen 9 2 Laps
31 Italy Kevin Ceccon
Alfa Romeo
29 Argentina Nestor Girolami
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Series WTCR
Event Slovakia