– Ehrlacher takes win and second place while Thompson scores first podium
– Three podiums for Honda Civic Type R TCR drivers
– Ehrlacher leads Drivers’ standings
– ALL-INKL.com Münnich Motorsport lead Teams’ standings
Yann Ehrlacher and ALL-INKL.com Münnich Motorsport lead the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup after an ultra-successful weekend at Zandvoort, Netherlands.
After winning on Sunday, Yann and his team-mate James Thompson finished second and third in Monday’s second race and scored more vital points in Race Three.
After morning qualifying, it was British driver James who took the reversed-grid pole position for Race Two in his Honda Civic Type R TCR and ran second for most of the race, which was interrupted by the safety car.
Despite making repeated attempts to take the lead, he couldn’t quite make it and instead offered Yann the runner-up spot on the final lap.
James’s third place was his first podium finish on the World Stage since claiming Honda’s inaugural World Touring Car win at Imola in 2008.
Boutsen Ginion Racing’s Tom Coronel made great progress in his race, making up an impressive 10 places from his qualifying spot to cross the line in a well-earned 14th position.
Esteban Guerrieri and Benjamin Lessennes were embroiled in the midfield battles; Argentinian driver Esteban taking seventh and Belgian Benjamin 12th.
The final race of the weekend was slightly tougher for the Honda teams, with Tom and Benjamin both forced to pit on the opening lap with damage. Tom’s race was over while Benjamin rejoined for some some additional exploratory laps.
After a bruising first lap, the order settled; Esteban finishing as the highest-placed Civic Type R TCR driver in fourth. Yann and James came home sixth and ninth to make it six points finishes out of six for the Münnich team.
Esteban and James have both moved up in the Drivers’ standings to lie seventh and 14th. Benjamin and Tom are 16th and 18th while Boutsen Ginion Racing are eighth in the Teams’ points.
There now follows a five-week break in the WTCR calendar until the Race of Portugal in Vila Real on 23-24 June.
Yann Ehrlacher #68 : « It’s a very good place to be at the front of the standings, although of course there’s still a very long way to go so I don’t want to be focused too much on the championship. We will need to score as many points as possible like we did this weekend, so my focus is on maximising every weekend. We’re all working so hard for this, and to have a double podium this weekend is fantastic. Honestly I’ve never had such a good atmosphere in a racing team and that’s so important and we’re all helping each other and working together, and I must say thanks to James for helping me in race two this morning. The car was great all weekend and we can be very pleased with this result. »
James Thompson #15 : « We’re really very, very happy with Race Two this morning – I’m overjoyed to be on the podium. It’s been a little while since my last podium with Honda and I’ve got a lot greyer in that time! That feeling is part of the reason why I wanted to come back and do these race weekends. We’re all a really great team here and the guys are fighting for the championship, and I’ll always do what I can to help and to contribute to that, and I leave here feeling very pleased. »
Esteban Guerrieri #86 : « It’s been a tough day. On race pace we were quite good in Race Two. Our strength is in the corners but we lose a little down the straights, and when you’re in the pack it’s very hard to pass. We probably had a better potential for qualifying to go further up the grid but we had a little problem at the end of Q2 and into Q3, so it’s been a tough weekend, but even in difficult situations we got more than 30 points from the weekend, which is quite a relief and something important. Even though I’m not totally happy with the weekend, sometimes it goes like this. »
Tom Coronel #9 : « It’s been my home race and your home race always gives you more energy. It was exciting here and you could really feel the emotion. Yesterday was strong and we scored good points with the best result of the season, which is always nice when you can do that on your home track. This morning it was a bit of a mess and we qualified 24th – I just didn’t put the lap together with traffic and made one mistake. In the race though I overtook 10 people – it was fun to show the fans some real racing! In the final race I made a terrible start and then was stuck on the inside into Tarzan. I wanted to take the outside, but unfortunately someone else had the same idea and we came together, and that was it. It’s not the way to end this weekend we would have wanted, but it’s been fantastic to see so many fans here this weekend. »
Benjamin Lessennes #63 : « We started well with fifth in qualifying yesterday, but it’s been a difficult weekend. Unfortunately, I made a little mistake in Race One and served the penalty for the jumped start, and then this morning qualifying was hard. We planned to put new tyres on for the end of Q1, but the track was very dusty so we couldn’t take any advantage from it. Race Two was difficult because it was hard to overtake, so we could only gain one place. In the final race I made quite a good start and had a good fight with Nathanael Berthon, but unfortunately in that fight I got a puncture, so that was the end of the race sadly. Still, we take the fifth-place pace and move on. »
Dominik Greiner – Team Manager : « It’s been a really very strong weekend here in Zandvoort with three podiums for the team and the Civic Type R TCR including another win for Yann, and of course now leading both championships. I think it showed very well this weekend the great teamwork we have and the fantastic relationships between our drivers, and it’s great motivation for the next races and to keep this momentum going. »
Olivia Boutsen – Team Manager : « It’s been a tough weekend here in Zandvoort, but there have certainly been positives – Benjamin’s 5th position in qualifying shows he has strong pace which is continuing race to race, although his races were a little more difficult and he couldn’t capitalise on that. Tom is of course the home hero here and there’s been so much affection for him which is wonderful, and he really gave them some entertainment in race two this morning by making up more places in the race than any other driver. Overall the results didn’t accurately reflect the performance potential we had this weekend and what we clearly saw the Type R TCR was capable of around here. »
Mads Fischer – TCR Project Leader, JAS Motorsport : « It’s been a fantastic weekend for the teams running the Honda Civic Type R TCR. Each one has worked incredibly hard to extract every last ounce of performance from the car and the result is a victory and three podiums. It’s terrific to see ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport leading the Teams’ Championship and Yann ahead in the Drivers’ points. The Boutsen Ginion Racing team also did a very good job across the weekend, and they’d have been higher up but for some bad luck today. Our results mean inevitably we’ll have some extra compensation weight in Portugal, which means we’ll have to work even harder to score strong results there. »