Benjamin Leuchter wins dramatic final race at the Nürburgring
Benjamin Leuchter has taken his first career win at the Nürburgring, holding off Comtoyou Racing Audi driver Frédéric Vervisch and Münnich Honda driver Esteban Guerrieri, who dramatically extends his lead in the drivers’ championship.
Leuchter started from pole position in his Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen, with an empty space alongside him where Rob Huff’s car should have been, with the Briton out with heavy damage in the second race.
There was a scare for Esteban Guerrieri in the Honda who was starting from the third grid spot, with the Argentinian experiencing a clutch issue and slowly got away on the formation lap, but on the race start, he was battling Leuchter for the lead into Turn 1, while there was carnage behind with several cars clashing together.
Three of the four Lynk & Cos failed to make it around the Grand Prix loop, with both Thed Björk and Andy Priaulx coming together, and Yann Ehrlacher spun into the pit lane by Tom Coronel’s Comtoyou Racing Cupra.
The two remaining SLR Volkswagens of Johan Kristoffersson and Mehdi Bennani also touched at Turn 1, while Tiago Monteiro’s KCMG Honda spun around.
Meanwhile, two of the Audis had a fantastic start, with Frédéric Vervisch straight up to third from sixth on the grid, although he made contact with the BRC Racing Hyundai of Norbert Michelisz who retired with damage.
Jean-Karl Vernay had also made his way up to sixth from 16th through the first sequence.
Attila Tassi was running in fourth behind Vervisch, but stopped at Brünnchen with his car overheating on lap one.
Guerrieri launched an attack on Leuchter’s Volkswagen for the lead at Döttinger Höhe, but lost pace as Leuchter defended, and fell behind Vervisch’s Audi at the end of the lap, while behind Jean-Karl Vernay moved past Gabriele Tarquini’s Hyundai for fourth at the same straight.
On lap two, there was a dramatic incident after Nicky Catsburg’s Hyundai was forced out wide by Yvan Muller’s Lynk & Co while fighting for eighth at Kesselchen, with Race 2 winner Johan Kristoffersson crashing out in avoidance.
On the final lap, the field spread out and no attacks were made at the final straight, with Leuchter holding on to win by half a second over Vervisch, with Guerrieri third.
Vernay was fourth ahead of Tarquini, with Tom Coronel and Aurélien Panis behind in the two Comtoyou Racing Cupras.
Nicky Catsburg finished eighth ahead of Gordon Shedden’s WRT Audi, with Yvan Muller the only Cyan Racing driver in the points in tenth.
Guerrieri now extends his lead of the championship to 45 over Michelisz, with Vervisch gaining the most out of the weekend, now leaping to fifth.
The next round of the championship takes place at the Vila Real street circuit in Portugal in two weeks’ time.