Esteban Guerrieri leads Honda lock-out in Hungaroring finale
Esteban Guerrieri secured his second win of the FIA World Touring Car Cup weekend in Hungary as he headed a Honda lock out of the podium in the final race.
With all 22 cars able to take the start it was Guerrieri who led the four Honda cars down to turn one, where there appeared to be contact between Néstor Girolami and Attila Tassi as the field struggled for grip.
That allowed Girolami and Jean-Karl Vernay in the Alfa Romeo to get ahead of Tassi into third and fourth spot, with Mikel Azcona running in sixth ahead of points leader Yann Ehrlacher.
The leading four would start to edge away from Tassi as he was forced to defend hard from Azcona, with the Spaniard taking a look at turn one on the fourth lap but failing to make a move stick.
Behind, discussions were ongoing at Cyan Racing about whether to shuffle the pack and move Yvan Muller ahead of Ehrlacher to try and attack Azcona ahead.
The Spaniard however was keen to make up places however, and a late lunge into turn one on lap six saw the Zengő man finally make a move stick to take fifth spot, with Tassi being run wide but rejoining before Ehrlacher could get ahead.
Guerrieri continued to head Monteiro and Girolami out front but the #86 Honda was carrying damage to the front right and splitter, suggesting that he had made contact with a tyre stack somewhere on the circuit with half of the race still to run.
The damage to the car was hampering Guerrieri in terms of outright speed as the pack closed up behind, whilst further down the order, a charging Gabriele Tarquini had rocketed into the top ten and cleared Muller to move into eighth spot – meaning Ehrlacher no longer had a rear gunner to protect him.
Things remained static out front until the eleventh lap when an opportunistic move from Azcona saw him dive up the inside of Vernay into fourth spot, whilst Tarquini’s charge continued as he slid up the inside of Erhlacher at the first chicane to demote the championship leader down to eighth.
Heading onto the final lap, Azcona had closed onto the rear of the three Hondas ahead but the Spaniard then ran wide at the chicane whilst under pressure from Vernay behind – providing some breathing space to the front three.
Guerrieri duly took the win to close the gap at the head of the standings from Monteiro and Girolami, with Azcona having to settle for fourth after his moment on the final lap.
Vernay capped a strong weekend for the Alfa Romeo with fifth ahead of Tassi, Tarquini and Ehrlacher – the latter now leading the standings by 22 points as a result.
Muller and Norbert Michelisz rounded out the top ten, with Urrutia dropping out of the fight when he was forced to pit after suffering a puncture.