Slovakia WTCR: Girolami marches to third win of 2019

Nestor Girolami sealed a third WTCR victory of the season at the Slovakia Ring to extend his championship lead, leading home Munnich Motorsport teammate Esteban Guerrieri in a Honda one-two.

Slovakia WTCR: Girolami marches to third win of 2019
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After failing to finish the opening race of the day, front-row starter Girolami chased and passed pole-sitter Rob Huff, making his decisive move on the second lap at the tight third corner.

Intermittent light showers resulted in officials declaring it a wet race, although slicks remained the preferred tyre choice for the second nine-lap contest of the day.

Further rain stayed clear, Girolami and Munnich Motorsport teammate Guerrieri making the best starts to take up their position behind the Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen of Huff.

After Girolami made his move for the lead on the 2012 World Touring Car champion, Guerrieri soon mimicked the pass a lap later to make it a one-two for the Honda pairing which they would not surrender.

“My car was really damaged after race one so we had a doubt for this race”, said Girolami. “After [repairs] the car was perfect, so thank you to all of the guys here.

"It’s an amazing weekend for us. As soon as I realised Esteban was P2, I knew we were safe. It’s the way that we work.”

A simple run to the flag was made tense by the presence of the charging Alfa Romeo of Kevin Ceccon, the Italian recovering from a sluggish getaway that left him playing catch-up.

The Mulsanne driver was soon on the tail of third-placed man Huff in the second half of the race, and slipped by his rival on the faster section of the circuit to confirm a second podium in succession for the Alfa squad.

Huff began to struggle in the final laps of the race and was soon overpowered under braking for Turn 1 by Nicky Catsburg in the best of the BRC Racing Hyundai cars, the Dutchman having fought back to fourth from 10th on the grid.

Fifth went to Huff ahead of Norbert Michelisz in another Hyundai, Mikel Azcona best of the Seat Cupras after a strong showing for PWR Racing, despite the team losing Daniel Haglof to problems early in the race.

Niels Langeveld put his race one incident behind him as top Audi driver in eighth place, the Comtoyou man briefly running fifth. The second Alfa Romeo of Ma Qing Hua was involved in a first-lap scuffle, but recovered well to ninth.

The biggest charge of all came from Tom Coronel, who charged into the top 10 despite starting from 27th and last on the grid, after a puncture in qualifying blighted the Comtoyou Seat Cupra driver’s Friday efforts.

Gabriele Tarquini’s race was ruined by a drive-through penalty for contact with the Comtoyou Seat Cupra of Aurelien Panis, finishing 19th in his BRC Racing Hyundai.

Thed Bjork’s disappointing Sunday continued as contact on the opening lap put the Cyan Racing man out with front-end damage to his Lynk & Co, while Augusto Farfus was spun out on the same lap in his Hyundai.

Report by Dan Mason

Race 2 Results:

Cla Driver Chassis Gap
1 Argentina Nestor Girolami Honda  
2 Argentina Esteban Guerrieri Honda 0.651
3 Italy Kevin Ceccon Alfa Romeo 0.983
4 Netherlands Nick Catsburg Hyundai 2.626
5 United Kingdom Rob Huff Volkswagen 4.208
6 Hungary Norbert Michelisz Hyundai 4.589
7 Spain Mikel Azcona CUPRA 5.094
8 Netherlands Niels Langeveld Audi 7.987
9 China Ma Qing Hua Alfa Romeo 8.346
10 Netherlands Tom Coronel CUPRA 11.640
11 France Yvan Muller Lynk & Co 14.726
12 France Jean-Karl Vernay Audi 17.832
13 United Kingdom Gordon Shedden Audi 18.095
14 Morocco Mehdi Bennani Volkswagen 21.386
15 Sweden Johan Kristoffersson Volkswagen 21.664
16 Portugal Tiago Monteiro Honda 22.367
17 France Yann Ehrlacher Lynk & Co 22.918
18 Guernsey Andy Priaulx Lynk & Co 23.421
19 Italy Gabriele Tarquini Hyundai 28.727
20 Sweden Daniel Haglof CUPRA 2'14.971
21 Brazil Augusto Farfus Hyundai 1 Lap
22 Sweden Thed Björk Lynk & Co 2 Laps
  France Aurelien Panis CUPRA 2 Laps
  Hungary Attila Tassi Honda 4 Laps
  Germany Luca Engstler Hyundai 6 Laps
  Germany Benjamin Leuchter Volkswagen 7 Laps
  Belgium Frederic Vervisch Audi 8 Laps
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