Yann Ehrlacher scores first career win as race leader Tom Chilton handed penalty
RC Motorsport’s Yann Ehrlacher has taken his first win in the World Touring Car Championship in Argentina, despite crossing the finish line second on the road, as Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Tom Chilton was given a five-second time penalty for an unfair pass on the Frenchman at the start of the race.
Ehrlacher started from pole position in the privateer Lada Vesta WTCC, and held the lead into Turn 1, while there was trouble behind as the two Hondas came together at Turn 2, with Tiago Monteiro running into team-mate Norbert Michelisz, with the Hungarian developing a puncture and forced to pit.
The Citroën of Chilton made the move on Ehrlacher at Turn 4, making side-by-side contact with the Lada driver and slid into the lead, while Ehrlacher was able to keep behind Chilton’s team-mate Mehdi Bennani for second.
On lap two, Esteban Guerrieri was making good progress and passed the Volvo of Thed Björk for fourth, who was now leading the trio of Volvo S60s with Nicky Catsburg and Néstor Girolami behind him.
Björk tried to get back ahead of the Argentinian on lap five, but was forced out wide, with Girolami caught in the action, which allowed Catsburg up to fifth and title rival Monteiro’s Honda through into sixth place.
There was further trouble for Volvo, as first Catsburg’s front-left tyre punctured on lap seven, with Girolami stopping a lap later with a mechanical problem, handing even more points to Monteiro in the Honda.
With three laps to go, the race officials confirmed that Tom Chilton was to be given a five-second time penalty for his pass on Ehrlacher at the start of the race, with the Briton’s second victory in the country now put into serious doubt with less than a three second lead at this point.
Chilton upped his pace, but as did Ehrlacher, and with just 3.5 seconds between them at the finish, Ehrlacher was confirmed as the winner, with Chilton demoted to fourth, with Ehrlacher, Bennani and Guerrieri awarded the podium positions.
Monteiro has increased his lead over Björk to eight points, while the two pull away from Catsburg, ten points behind after the Dutchman failed to score.
Catsburg starts the next race from pole position, which is scheduled for 16:15 ART, 21:15 CET.