Argentina WTCC: Ehrlacher scores maiden win after Chilton penalty
RC Motorsport’s Yann Ehrlacher has taken his first WTCC win in Argentina after Tom Chilton was handed a five-second time penalty for an unfair pass on the Frenchman at the start of the race.
Ehrlacher started from pole position in the privateer Lada, and held the lead into Turn 1. Meanwhile, there was trouble behind as the two Hondas came together at Turn 2, with Tiago Monteiro running into teammate Norbert Michelisz, the Hungarian developing a puncture and subsequently having to pit.
The Citroen of Chilton made the move on Ehrlacher at Turn 4, making side-by-side contact with the Lada driver as the Brit slid into the lead. But Ehrlacher was able to keep behind Chilton’s teammate Mehdi Bennani for second.
On lap two, Esteban Guerrieri was making good progress and passed the Volvo of Thed Bjork for fourth, who was now leading the trio of Volvos with Nicky Catsburg and Nestor Girolami behind him.
Bjork tried to get back ahead of the Argentinian on lap five, but was forced out wide, with Girolami caught in the action, which allowed Catsburg up to fifth and title rival Monteiro’s Honda through into sixth place.
There was further trouble for Volvo, as first Catsburg’s front-left tyre had a puncture on lap seven, with Girolami stopping a lap later with a mechanical problem, handing even more points to Monteiro.
With three laps to go, the race officials confirmed that Chilton, who was leading by less than three seconds, was to be given a five-second time penalty for his pass on Ehrlacher.
Chilton upped his pace, but as did Ehrlacher, and with just 3.5 seconds between them at the finish, Ehrlacher was confirmed as the winner, with Chilton demoted to fourth, as Bennani and Guerrieri were awarded the other podium positions.
Monteiro has increased his lead over Bjork to eight points, while the two pull away from Catsburg, 10 points behind after the Dutchman failed to score.
Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes
|14||Norbert Michelisz||Honda||1 lap|
|Ret||Nicky Catsburg||Volvo||4 laps|
|Ret||Nestor Girolami||Volvo||5 laps|
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