Hungary WTCC: Monteiro holds off Chilton to win opening race
Tiago Monteiro became the first repeat winner of the 2017 WTCC season by resisting a challenge from Tom Chilton in the opening race at the Hungaroring.
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Honda driver Monteiro had started the reversed-grid race from second but inherited the lead at the start when polesitter John Filippi stalled.
Monteiro then held nearest rival Chilton at arm’s length for the duration of the 12-lap race to claim his 11th win in the championship.
The victory extends Monteiro’s championship lead to 40 points.
“We needed that after a hard qualifying,” said Monteiro. “We knew we had a good opportunity but it’s never easy to take it.
“I had good pressure from Tom all race, but I had a good car and I was able to push when I needed it.”
As Monteiro got away cleanly at the start, Chilton was able to jump the Volvo of Thed Bjork on the run to Turn 1 despite having to jink clear of SLR team-mate Filippi.
Bjork then came under pressure from home favourite Norbert Michelisz in the second Honda, but both of their races were undone on the opening lap as they slowed as a result of contact through the opening sequence of corners.
That minor altercation as the pair briefly squabbled for third allowed the lead duo to escape and build a buffer that proved too difficult for the chasing pack to bridge, however, with Monteiro eventually winning by 0.768s.
Main race polesitter Rob Huff ended up best of the rest in third after a spirited charge from ninth, the Brit fighting his way past the Volvo of Nestor Girolami on the penultimate lap.
Having cleared the Campos Racing Chevrolet of Esteban Guerrieri, Huff applied pressure to Girolami in the closing stages and found a way past through the looped Turn 2 hairpin.
Sticking to the outside line, Huff had a good enough run off Turn 1 to hang around the outside at Turn 2 and then had the inside for the following right-hander before brushing Girolami wide to seal the final podium slot.
Behind Girolami, Nicky Catsburg was also able to usurp Guerrieri to claim fifth in the closing stages in his sister Volvo, while Chilton’s SLR teammate Mehdi Bennani advanced from 14th to claim seventh behind the Cruze of Guerrieri.
In the lower points-paying positions, Yann Ehrlacher was a lonely eighth in his RC Motorsport Lada, eight seconds clear of the ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet of Tom Coronel.
Aurelien Panis claimed the final point on the final lap when Filippi stopped on track.
Hungary WTCC: Huff on pole as Hondas struggle
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