Nicky Catsburg ends WTCR victory drought for Hyundai

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Nicky Catsburg ended the victory drought for the Hyundai cars in WTCR with an authoritative success in the third race at the Slovakia Ring.

After claiming two consecutive World Cup titles, the Korean brand hadn’t won any race yet in the current season. This was also the maiden victory in WTCR for the Dutch driver and Team Engstler.

Rounding off an excellent weekend, Jean-Karl Vernay was a close second behind Catsburg, claiming his second podium finish of the weekend with the Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta, ahead of Nathanaël Berthon and so leapt to third in the championship standings.

Berthon, the winner of today’s Race 1, had a poor start from the pole and was passed by the Hyundai cars of Catsburg and Norbert Michelisz. The latter made contact with Vernay in Turn 2, half-spun and rejoined at the back the field.

Catsburg led for the whole race, building a sufficient gap ahead of Vernay, Berthon and Gilles Magnus, while the battle for fifth was won by an assertive Mikel Azcona who elbowed his way through the field from P17 on the grid.

Race 2 winner Tom Coronel, Esteban Guerrieri, Santiago Urrutia, Luca Engstler and Michelisz rounded off the top-ten, with the Hungarian emerging from a furious battle that also involved Yvan Muller, Petr Fulín and Aurélien Comte.

On his first appearance in the the Vuković Motorsport Renault Mégane RS, Comte moved into P12 at the last corner ahead of Muller and behind Yann Ehrlacher who, despite a difficult weekend, scored a handful of points that allowed him to retain the lead in the standings, where he is now followed by Coronel and Vernay with gaps of 20 and 26 points respectively.

Néstor Girolami, who was second in the points before the Slovak event, has dropped to seventh after enduring a very tough weekend that saw him being stripped of fourth in Race 1 by his teammate Guerrieri and escaping from a massive crash in Race 2. Terminal damage to his car meant that the Argentine did not start in Race 3, as well as Gabriele Tarquini and Attila Tassi who had collided at the start of Race 2.

The WTCR will resume next weekend at the Hungaroring for Rounds 8, 9 and 10.

Race 3

1. Nicky Catsburg (Team Engstler, Hyundai i30 N), 11 laps

2. Jean-Karl Vernay (Team Mulsanne, Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce), 2.315

3. Nathanaël Berthon (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS), 4.614

4. Gilles Magnus (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS), 7.039

5. Mikel Azcona (Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición), 7.968

Championship points

1 .Yann Ehrlacher 112 pts

2. Tom Coronel 92

3. Jean-Karl Vernay 86