Portugal WTCR: Homola beats Muller for first win

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Portugal WTCR: Homola beats Muller for first win
By: Jack Cozens
Jun 24, 2018, 3:48 PM

Peugeot driver Mat'o Homola scored his first World Touring Car Cup victory in the reversed-grid race at Vila Real after defeating Saturday race winner Yvan Muller.

Pepe Oriola, Team Oscaro by Campos Racing Cupra TCR
Esteban Guerrieri, ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
Yvan Muller, YMR Hyundai i30 N TCR
Esteban Guerrieri, ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
Jean-Karl Vernay, Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi RS 3 LMS
Yvan Muller, YMR Hyundai i30 N TCR
Yann Ehrlacher, ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
Mehdi Bennani, Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, Rob Huff, Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR

Homola survived a brush with the barrier exiting the second chicane on the first lap, making the corner while polesitter Gordon Shedden missed the corner, to get ahead of Muller in what ultimately proved to be the race's decisive move.

Shedden, starting his WRT Audi RS3 LMS from pole for the first time since switching to WTCR for 2018, converted pole position into an early lead when he slotted in ahead of Muller through the first sequence of corners.

But the Briton then came under pressure exiting the first chicane from points leader Muller, who attempted to launch his Hyundai around the outside of the Audi for the lead.

Shedden kept his foot in and hung on up the inside into the Turn 16 right-hander, then moved across the front of Muller's car to prevent another attack - allowing Homola a run into second.

Shedden then failed to slow in time for the heavy braking zone at the second chicane and skipped the corner, while Homola nerfed the barrier exiting the corner side-on, before settling into an early lead.

But that chicane skip was soon investigated by stewards, who quickly handed Shedden a five-second penalty to be added at the end of the race.

Shedden rejoining in traffic after completing his joker lap meant that early pursuers Homola and Muller ultimately cleared him anyway, with Muller then pressing Homola for a way past.

The race looked like it was Muller's to lose when Homola served his joker at the end of lap eight, but a personal best lap from Homola on lap 10 - at the end of which Muller headed for the joker lap lane - allowed him to cycle back into the lead.

The Slovakian then resisted Muller on the final tour to clinch his first win - and first points of the season.

Shedden crossed the line in third but dropped to sixth when his penalty was applied, with the Audi Sport driver labelling the decision "absolute bullshit" after the race.

That allowed Pepe Oriola to claim another third-place finish, with the Campos Racing driver's decision to serve his joker early on lap five paying dividends as he caught back up to cars that had not yet taken their lap.

Shedden's teammate Jean-Karl Vernay was classified fourth ahead of the BRC Racing Hyundai of Norbert Michelisz, while Yann Ehrlacher was seventh behind Shedden in the classification in his Munnich Motorsport Honda Civic that was repaired overnight.

Aurelien Panis (Comtoyou Racing Audi) had run fourth early on but dropped to eighth when he took his joker on lap nine.

The respective BRC Racing and YMR Hyundais of Gabriele Tarquini and Thed Bjork completed the points. 

Race 2: 

Cla#DriverCarGap
1 70 SVK Mato Homola Peugeot  
2 48 FRA Yvan Muller Hyundai 0.764
3 74 ESP Pepe Oriola Seat 2.025
4 69 FRA Jean-Karl Vernay Audi 3.635
5 5 HUN Norbert Michelisz Hyundai 4.144
6 52 GBR Gordon Shedden Audi 6.335
7 68 FRA Yann Ehrlacher Honda 6.413
8 21 FRA Aurelien Panis Audi 6.975
9 30 ITA Gabriele Tarquini Hyundai 7.284
10 11 SWE Thed Björk Hyundai 7.705
11 88 ITA Fabrizio Giovanardi Alfa Romeo 13.105
12 27 FRA John Filippi Seat 14.666
13 8 HUN Norbert Nagy Seat 15.376
14 13 POR Edgar Florindo Seat 25.558
15 9 HOL Tom Coronel Honda 29.649
16 26 José Rodrigues Honda 37.198
17 22 BEL Frederic Vervisch Audi 38.399
  66 HUN Zsolt David Szabo Seat 3 Laps
  63 BEL Benjamin Lessennes Honda 8 Laps
  20 BEL Denis Dupont Audi 9 Laps
  7 FRA Aurélien Comte Peugeot 10 Laps
  23 FRA Nathanaël Berthon Audi  
  86 ARG Esteban Guerrieri Honda  
  10 ITA Gianni Morbidelli Alfa Romeo  
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About this article

Series WTCR
Event Vila Real
Location Circuito Internacional de Vila Real
Drivers Mato Homola
Author Jack Cozens
Article type Race report