Bennani joins the WTCC’s famous five in Hungary

Follow by Email

FIA World Touring Car Championship 2017: Rounds 5 and 6 of 20

*Moroccan excels for second Hungaroring victory
*Magic Monteiro adds to win tally and boosts championship lead
*Home hero Michelisz denied podium as 45,000 fans watch the action

Mehdi Bennani became the fifth different winner in the all-action 2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship as 45,000 fans watched the action at WTCC JVCKENWOOD Race of Hungary.

Bennani’s Main Race triumph in a Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën, the fourth of his career, followed Tiago Monteiro’s success in the Opening Race, a result that gives the Portuguese driver a 38-point title lead.

But there was to be no podium celebrations for Norbert Michelisz, Monteiro’s factory Honda team-mate, who dropped out of the Opening Race with damage following first-lap contact with Thed Björk before battling through to take fourth in the Main Race.

Tom Chilton scored a podium double to boost his WTCC Trophy title prospects, while Rob Huff charged through from ninth to third in the Opening Race. However, he was unable to convert his Main Race DHL pole position into victory after a sluggish start dropped him into a fight with Volvo Polestar drivers Nicky Catsburg and Néstor Girolami, which ended when the trio came together at Turn 2 on the first lap.

While Huff and Catsburg continued, Girolami’s race ended in the barriers, much to the Argentine’s frustration. Huff, driving for ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, was then punished for his part in the incident, serving a drive-through penalty just after he’d wrestled the lead from Bennani, who held on amid brake problems to beat Catsburg to first place as Chilton completed the podium.

Girolami took fourth in the Opening Race ahead of Catsburg and Campos Racing privateer Esteban Guerrieri with Mehdi Benanni, Yann Ehrlacher, Tom Coronel and Aurélien Panis completing the top 10. In the Main Race, Tiago Monteiro bagged more points in fifth behind Michelisz, with Guerrieri sixth once again. Björk bounced back from his Opening Race retirement to take seventh, Ehrlacher finished eighth, Coronel took ninth with Huff having to make do with P10. P11 in the Main Race was the best it got for John Filippi, who stalled at the start of the Opening Race, which he started from pole position.

Afterwards, Bennani dedicated his victory to his late father, who passed away earlier this year, while Monteiro heads to the the Nürburgring Nordschleife for WTCC Race of Germany from 25-27 May leading the championship standings.

RACE WINNER QUOTES (full transcript available soon at

Tiago Monteiro (Opening Race winner): “It was a very important win at all levels. We had a very difficult qualifying but we knew that not all was lost and that we need to score strong points today but it was not as easy as it might have looked because Tom [Chilton] was really strong behind and pushing quite hard the whole race. I was trying to control my tyre performance and trying to make them last because we did feel the 80 kilograms quite a lot today, especially with the heat. But in the end we finished first and that was the key part of the weekend.”

Mehdi Bennani (Main Race winner): “It’s very nice for me to have this great result, it reminds a little bit Qatar last year. The only change is that I had big celebration and my father was there and I dedicate this victory to him. I tried to push for the maximum and two times I had a very soft brake pedal so I was upset because I thought for me it’s over. With the engineer we tried to play a little bit with the balance to put maximum braking on the rear and it was going better but I needed to drive sometimes like a drift. Also Huff didn’t give me an easy life because he was pushing from the beginning. It was a shame for him that he got this penalty because I think it was his race and he deserved it all weekend.”



Team Honda won its first Manufacturers Against the Clock team time trial of the 2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship season, more than three seconds ahead of Team Volvo Polestar at WTCC JVCKENWOOD Race of Hungary. In the third WTCC MAC3 of the campaign, Ryo Michigami led his Honda team-mates away from the line, with Tiago Monteiro and Norbert Michelisz running closely behind the Japanese to secure Honda’s first WTCC MAC3 triumph of 2017 and 12 points in its bid to win the World Touring Car Championship for Manufacturers. However, despite claiming victory in WTCC MAC3, the success was tinged with an element of frustration as Team Principal Alessandro Mariani explained. “It’s very good to secure our first WTCC MAC3 victory of 2017 because it helps our position in the Manufacturers’ championship. But overall qualifying did not go as we’d hoped. The circuit di not evolve as we’d expected when the sun came out and we didn’t go the right way with the set-up.” It was an off-song WTCC MAC3 for Volvo Polestar. After enjoying WTCC MAC3 success in Morocco and Italy this year, a reported vibration issue hit Néstor Girolami’s Volvo S60 Polestar and prevented the trio, which also included Thed Björk and Nicky Catsburg, from running in formation. And with the clock stopping once the last of a team’s three cars crosses the line, the Swedish firm lost out on victory as a result.


RACE FACTS: Opening Race DHL Pole Position: John Filippi (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
Main Race DHL Pole Position: Rob Huff (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy: Rob Huff (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC) 1m50.478s
NEXT EVENT: FIA WTCC Race of Germany, Nürburgring Nordschleife, 25-27 May

Please follow and like us: