WTCR - Girolami wins 2020 opener | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

WTCR - Girolami wins 2020 opener


2020 WTCR Race of Belgium - Race 1 report 

Néstor Girolami scored a convincing victory as the 2020 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup sparked into life at WTCR Race of Belgium, the Argentine leading the reverse-grid Race 1 all the way at Zolder.

Girolami started from the DHL Pole Position in his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR and worked hard on Goodyear’s new WTCR tyres to keep ahead of Thed Björk, whose Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 03 TCR chased him throughout the 13 laps.

Hungarian Attila Tassi scored his first WTCR podium in third place for the ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda team.

“Congratulations to everyone in the team, they did a fantastic job in the long wait for this season to begin,” said Girolami, whose victory marks his fourth in WTCR and makes him the Goodyear#FollowTheLeader ahead of Race 2. “To get a victory now is a good present for the mechanics. I’d like to dedicate this to my little baby and my wife.”

Björk, third on the grid, made a strong start to get ahead of front row starter Jean-Karl Vernay, the Frenchman slipping back to fifth in his first WTCR start in Team Mulsanne’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR by Romeo Ferraris. Vernay would remain fifth at the flag, behind WTCR Trophy winner Tom Coronel, who achieved fourth place in his first race driving Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport’s Audi RS 3 LMS.

Björk said he was delighted to score a podium after the long delay to the season, in a race that showed an increase in lap times in the closing stages on the new Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport tyres. “It is fantastic to be back in the car and racing, and to get a podium after the long pre-season. This track is hard on the cars and there was some oil that made it difficult.”

Tassi was equally pleased with his first WTCR podium finish. “I wasn’t expecting this,” he said. “My aim is to learn from my experienced team-mates, so a 1-3 is a great result for the team.”

But there were dramas for the other Münnich Hondas. Esteban Guerrieri’s race ended on lap three in a cloud of smoke while he was running eighth, while Tiago Monteiro also retired in similar fashion on lap eight. He was in P14 at the time.

Santiago Urrutia scored a strong sixth place for Cyan Performance on his WTCR debut in the Lynk & Co 03 TCR, ahead of Yann Ehrlacher’s Lynk & Co and the Frenchman’s uncle Yvan Muller. WTCR Trophy contender Nathanaël Berthon, who starts Race 2 from the DHL Pole Position, was ninth in his Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS after a duel with top FIA Rookie Award runner Gilles Magnus in his Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS.

King of WTCR Nobert Michelisz was the best of the Hyundais in his BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse entry in P11. The other points scorers were FIA Rookie Award entry Luca Engstler who was P12 in his Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR, Australian Dylan O’Keeffe in his first WTCR start driving Vuković Motorsport's Renault Mégane RS TCR, Dutchman Nicky Catsburg for Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team Hyundai and 2018 WTCR title winner Gabriele Tarquini in P15.

Race 2 of WTCR Race of Belgium takes place at 14h15 local time.