Mikel Azcona takes his second victory of the season at the Hungaroring
BRC Motorsport’s Mikel Azcona led a lights-to-flag trouble-free race to claim his second victory of the season in Sunday’s opening WTCR race at the Hungaroring.
The field lined up on the starting grid, with the hot air and track temperatures and their effect on tyre performance already a key factor for most front runners.
At the start Azcona launched away well to defend the inside line, with Cyan Racing’s Yann Ehrlacher right behind him. Comtoyou Racing’s Nathanael Berthon kept on Ehrlacher’s outside in his Audi to keep second place at Turn 3.
Comtoyou Racing’s Gilles Magnus tried the outside line at Turn 1, climbing up to fourth position, followed by Cyan Racing’s Ma Qing Hua.
Zengo Motorsport’s Rob Huff was also on the move, overtaking Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri for seventh place at Turn 1 on lap two. Further back, Comtoyou Racing’s Tom Coronel nudged Zengo’s Daniel Nagy at the penultimate corner on lap two, with the Hungarian recovering to continue in the race. Coronel received a five-second time penalty for the incident.
Huff continued his recovery, overtaking Münnich Motorsport’s Néstor Girolami for sixth place at Turn 1 on lap three, with Cyan Racing’s Santiago Urrutia also attacking Guerrieri, with the Honda Civic Type R TCRs from Münnich running with heavy compensation weight.
The warning for tyre conservation already started on lap four, with leading Azcona receiving a warning from his team, whilst Girolami reported that he wouldn’t destroy his tyres battling his team-mate.
Guerrieri went wide at Turn 2 on lap six after a nudge from Urrutia, with the Lynk & Cos of the Uruguayan, Yvan Muller and Thed Björk mounting pressure on the Argentinean.
Local hero Norbert Michelisz saw the opportunity to attack Björk at Turn 1 on lap six, going wide, coming under attack and losing a position to Comtoyou Racing’s Mehdi Bennani.
The track limits became an issue, with both Berthon and Urrutia receiving warnings from the stewards.
Urrutia overtook Guerrieri for eighth place on lap ten. Further up the front Magnus and Ma Qing Hua continued their battle for fourth place, with the Belgian receiving a track limits warning and the Chinese another for driving standards after bumping the Audi on several occasions. Huff soon joined the pair.
Berthon went wide on the penultimate lap, with Ehrlacher overtaking for second place. Azcona won at the chequered flag, with Ehrlacher and Berthon completing the podium.
Magnus fended off Ma Qing Hua until the line to finish in fourth place, with Huff in sixth position. Girolami managed to defend from Urrutia to be seventh ahead of the Cyan Racing driver, with Guerrieri and Muller completing the top ten.
“I’m very pleased, I was very happy,” Azcona said after the race. “The first lap was more difficult. At the start I felt the pressure from Berthon and Ehrlacher, but the car was fantastic, the team did a great job and I was able to control for them.”
After the first race at the Hungaroring Azcona leads the championship with 77 points, 18 over Girolami and 24 ahead of Ehrlacher.
WTCR Race 2 is scheduled for 16:50 CEST.