Aragon WTCR: Vervisch delivers first win for new Audi

Frederic Vervisch won the second World Touring Car Cup race from pole at Aragon, while Gabriele Tarquini scored his first win in two years in the opening contest.

Vervisch led all the way from pole position in race two at Aragon to secure a first victory for Audi’s new RS 3 LMS in the World Touring Car Cup.

The Belgian, who has returned to the WTCR this year after missing the 2020 season, successfully negotiated a safety car restart after Comtoyou teammate Tom Coronel was forced to stop on track.

Vervisch beat fellow front row starter Thed Bjork in his Cyan Performance Lynk & Co, the Swede working hard to hold off Gilles Magnus, who delivered a Belgian and Audi 1-3 in temperatures that topped 31 degrees.

WTCR points leader Jean-Karl Vernay finished fourth from fifth on the grid despite reporting vibrations from his Hyundai Elantra N TCR.

Fellow Hyundai driver Norbert Michelisz had run ahead of him from fourth on the grid, but began to slip back after reporting a vibration from his right-front tyre, which eventually deflated at the end of the penultimate lap.

Nathanael Berthon’s Audi finished fifth ahead of Tarquini’s Hyundai and reigning champion Yann Ehrlacher, who is now second in the standings, eight points behind Vernay.

Behind Luca Engstler in eighth, Britain’s Rob Huff beat old rival Yvan Muller to ninth.

The Cupra driver had passed Muller’s Lynk & Co when the Frenchman ran wide at Turn 1, but on the last lap the four-time World Touring Car Champion tapped the Leon Competicion at the down-hill Turn 8. Huff held a half-spin brilliantly to stay ahead of Muller.

Race 2 results:

Cla # Driver Chassis Time
1 22 Belgium Frederic Vervisch
Audi
2 11 Sweden Thed Björk
Lynk & Co 1.191
3 16 Belgium Gilles Magnus
Audi 1.691
4 69 France Jean-Karl Vernay
Hyundai 2.400
5 17 France Nathanael Berthon
Audi 3.834
6 3 Italy Gabriele Tarquini
Hyundai 5.434
7 68 France Yann Ehrlacher
Lynk & Co 9.968
8 8 Germany Luca Engstler
Hyundai 10.974
9 79 United Kingdom Rob Huff
CUPRA 12.788
10 100 France Yvan Muller
Lynk & Co 14.266

Race 1 results:

Cla # Driver Chassis Gap
1 3 Italy Gabriele Tarquini
Hyundai
2 96 Spain Mikel Azcona
CUPRA 1.880
3 32 Netherlands Tom Coronel
Audi 8.455
4 17 France Nathanael Berthon
Audi 9.531
5 68 France Yann Ehrlacher
Lynk & Co 10.416
6 16 Belgium Gilles Magnus
Audi 10.578
7 5 Hungary Norbert Michelisz
Hyundai 11.410
8 22 Belgium Frederic Vervisch
Audi 12.161
9 69 France Jean-Karl Vernay
Hyundai 13.263
10 11 Sweden Thed Björk
Lynk & Co 14.132
Gabriele Tarquini, BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai Elantra N TCR

Gabriele Tarquini, BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai Elantra N TCR

Photo by: WTCR

In the reversed-grid race one, Tarquini scored his first WTCR win for two years, leading all the way from pole position in his Hyundai to beat Spaniard Mikel Azcona’s Cupra.

Azcona, who stalled at the start of the second race from ninth on the grid, headed Coronel who secured a podium finish with a strong move on Ehrlacher.

The Dutch veteran took the outside line into the hairpin at the end of the long straight, which gave him the inside line for Turn 17.

The Munnich Motorsport Hondas, which had set the pace at the previous round at Estoril, suffered a disastrous weekend as 70kg of compensation weight left the Civic Type Rs qualifying and running towards the back of the field.

Esteban Guerrieri was the best of the quartet, finishing 15th in race one and 11th in race two.

Team-mate Attila Tassi, who won race two in Portugal, struggled after the connector to his fuel pump broke at the start of qualifying on Saturday and left him starting from the back for both races.

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