Björk beats Vervisch, as Muller takes the standings lead
12 May 2018
The man who signed the two poles on the Nordschleife, Thed Björk, achieved victory in Race 3 today, his maiden one in the WTCR. The Swede led from lights to flag with his Hyundai i30 N, beating Frédéric Vervisch, again on the podium with the Comtoyou Audi RS3 LMS.
It was a perfect day for the M Racing YMR, as boss Yvan Muller finished fourth, taking more valuable points and becoming the new leader in the standings, with a 19-point margin. Gabriele Tarquini, who was sidelined after the Race 2 accident, remained scoreless in the weekend and slipped to second, six points clear of Björk. The BRC Racing black day was completed by Norbert Michelisz’s incident with Rob Huff. Despite this, the Hungarian kept fourth in the standings, 35 points behind Muller, making four Hyundai drivers on top.
Björk reckoned: “I had to give everything to contain Vervisch on the straight and we also had a good fight, but luckily I could stay in front. The car was fantastic and allowed me to go flat out all the time.”
Björk took a good start from the pole ahead of Vervisch, with Michelisz third followed by Muller, Yann Ehrlacher, Benjamin Lessennes and Rob Huff, while Jean-Karl Vernay lost some positions after going sideways. Race 2 winner Esteban Guerrieri dived on the inside of Michelisz, pushing him wide and moving up to sixth. The Hungarian lost five positions and Guerrieri received a 10-second penalty. On the long straight, Vervisch was not close enough to Björk to attack; right behind, Muller and Ehrlacher were having yet another family fight. Pepe Oriola, Vernay and Michelisz were in a nice fight for 9th.
At the beginning of the third lap, Vervisch was chasing Björk in the Grand Prix section and they made a door-to-door contact, but positions did not change. For Ehrlacher, the race was over as his Honda stopped on the side of the track. Attention shifted to the fight between Guerrieri, Huff and Lessennes for fourth; Huff was losing power and dropped behind. The Briton was defending the sixth place from Michelisz when they came together and crashed.
Björk kept the advantage and won from Vervisch, with Muller third ahead of a brilliant Lessennes, Berthon, Oriola, Vernay, Bennani, Guerrieri (dropped from fourth because of the penalty) and Coronel.
The WTCR will resume next week at Zandvoort for rounds 10, 11 and 12.
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