Citroen unleashed an assault on the Salzburgring, winning both races.
Citroën continued to reign despite four Honda cars were starting from the first two rows.
The success of José María López was partly facilitated by the two safety-car periods occurred. The first one on lap 1 after a collision at the start put out of contention the Citroën of Muller and the LADA cars of Huff and Thompson in the role of innocent victims. A few yards later, another clash, between Chilton and Borković, further justified the suspension of the race.
At the restart, López passed three Honda cars in a sequence and was attacking Tarquini when the safety-car got in again, to allow cleaning of the track. That made relatively easy for the Argentine to take the lead and win, ahead of a trio of Honda cars (Tarquini, Monteiro, Michelisz) and the Chevrolet cars of Coronel and Morbidelli. Loeb was 7th and Kozlovskiy took one point for LADA.
In TC2, same scenario as in Race 1, with Engstler winning from Filippi and Di Sabatino.
Key Moments Start – Excellent start of Tarquini who takes the lead ahead of Monteiro, Michelisz and Bennani, but behind it’s chaos, as Muller trying to pass López, ends on the grass on the left side of the straight. When getting back onto the tarmac he touches Thompson who goes sideways hitting Huff. Both LADA cars spin in the middle of the group and hit the barriers. In another accident shortly afterwards, Borković and Chilton are both put of contention.
Re-start – Muller does not make the grid as his car is too damaged.
Lap 3 – Tarquini leads ahead of Monteiro, Michelisz, Bennani, López, Coronel and Loeb.
Lap 5 – López passes Bennani for fourth.
Lap 6 – López passes Michelisz for third while Coronel takes fifth from Bennani and Morbidelli passes Loeb for 7th.
Lap 7 – López starts attacking Monteiro, who tries to resist and protect Tarquini’s leadership.
Lap 8 – López takes second from Monteiro in the long back straight while Morbidelli takes 6th from Bennani.
Lap 9 – Bennani concedes 7th to Loeb.
Lap 10 – Münnich misses the first chicane taking a lot of gravel.
Lap 11 – Big fight between Coronel and Morbidelli, side by side in turn 5. Safety car is deployed again to clean the gravel on the track. Lap 13 – Re-start with Tarquini keeping the advantage and López attacking. The Argentine uses the slipstreaming to pass in the back straight.
Lap 17 – López wins ahead of Tarquini and Monteiro.
José María López: “It’s nice and a little bit unexpected to take my third win of the year here, as I was probably not the best of the three Citroën cars, but things turned out this way and now I am leading the championship with 41 points. It doesn’t mean much, as we saw today, things can change very quickly. I never imagined to be in this position, but the championship is still very very long. In Race 2 I opted for a non-aggressive set-up with a very low wing and that paid off as I was very quick on the back straight, which was crucial to pass the Honda cars. For sure, the second safety-car helped, but sometimes you have to be lucky.”
Gabriele Tarquini: “I am happy with the result, that’s the best we could achieve today. The car felt good, very well balanced, and we are clearly improving, but there is nothing we can do against the Citroën cars on the straights, they have much more top speed. There was simply no fight with Pechito and there was no way to resist. The safety-car didn’t change much, it would at most take one more lap to Pechito to pass me…”
Tiago Monteiro: “It’s my fourth podium of the season and I am happy with the result. At the start, I got sandwiched between Bennani and Michelisz, we touched but luckily, there was enough room for everybody to pass. At the moment, the Citroën is in another league and there is nothing we can do. We are closing the gap in corners but still very far way in the straights.”
Franz Engstler: “I don’t know what to say, except it has been a lovely weekend: great track, fabulous weather, a lot of friends and two wins… In Race 2, the most difficult moment was the start, with all the confusion ahead of me. I saw the LADA cars going in every direction, there was a lot of dust and carbon debris on the track. Luckily, I managed to go through unhurt and with no punctures…”