Photo: WTCC Media

Mehdi Bennani wins in Hungary as Rob Huff punished for Volvo clash

Mehdi Bennani took his first win of the season, holding off Nicky Catsburg in a race which contained drama early on after the two Volvos of Catsburg, Néstor Girolami and Münnich Citroën’s Rob Huff came together at Turn 2, with Huff given a drive-through.

Rob Huff started from pole position in the Citroën C-Elysée WTCC, but had a slower start than both Bennani and the two Volvos behind him, with Catsburg and Girolami ahead into Turn 1.

The three concertinaed together into Turn 2, with Huff down the inside of Catsburg, with the two making contact, with Catsburg then hitting Girolami on the outside, with the Argentinian straight out of the race with suspension failure.

The race was held behind the safety car as Girolami’s car was recovered, with the stewards swiftly deciding Huff was to blame for the incident, handing him a drive-through penalty when the race restarted.

Huff then blasted past Bennani into the lead at Turn 5, and served his penalty at the end of the lap, falling to 15th.

Bennani was now left to defend against Catsburg’s Volvo, and though the Dutch driver initially seemed to have the pace over the Citroën driver, the Moroccan was able to hold off Catsburg throughout the duration of the race, crossing the line just under a second ahead.

The race was then principally a procession throughout most of the top ten, with Bennani’s team-mate Tom Chilton following up his Race 1 podium with another in third.

Norbert Michelisz led team-mate Tiago Monteiro to fourth, with both picking up key points in the championship.

Rob Huff put on a charge from 15th to work his way up to tenth and picking up the final point available as slight damage limitation after his penalty, but after running third in the standings after Race 1, Huff now slips to sixth.

Monteiro’s championship lead dropped from 40 points to a still strong 38 points, now over Volvo’s Nicky Catsburg, with Tom Chilton third in the championship, four points further behind.

The next round of the WTCC takes place at the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife in two weeks’ time.