French flyer, 25, clinches second WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup title**
He comes out on top of six-way fight for WTCR title glory in Russia
Cyan Racing Lynk & Co wins third WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup for Teams**
Hyundai-driving Engstler edges Magnus to FIA WTCR Junior Driver Title**
Winners Azcona and Huff shine in slippery Sochi for CUPRA-powered Zengő Motorsport
Fourth WTCR season ends with 12 winners from 16 races and victories for all five brands
Comtoyou Audi ace Vervisch takes provisional title runner-up spot with Race 2 podium
BRC’s Tarquini bows out of FIA World Touring Car racing following incredible career
WTCR VTB Race of Russia, Sochi Autodrom, November 26-28, 2021: Race report
WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup, Rounds 15 and 16 of 16
WTCR VTB Race of Russia Race 1 top 5
1 Mikel Azcona (ESP) Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición, 31m18.657s (137.0kph)
2 Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA) Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team, Hyundai Elantra N TCR, +1.403s
3 Gilles Magnus (BEL) Comtoyou Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS, +2.737s
4 Nathanaël Berthon (FRA) Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS, +4.492s
5 Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR, Lynk & Co 03 TCR, +6.003s
Pole position: Magnus (BEL) Comtoyou Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS
Fastest lap: Rob Huff (GBR) Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición, 2m33.452s (137.1kph)
WTCR VTB Race of Russia Race 2 top 5
1 Rob Huff (GBR) Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición, 38m14.552s (136.9kph)
2 Frédéric Vervisch (BEL) Comtoyou Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS, +4.563s
3 Nathanaël Berthon (FRA) Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS, +5.643s
4 Attila Tassi (HUN) ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR, +7.493s
5 Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA) Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team, Hyundai Elantra N TCR, +9.291s
Pole position: 1 Yvan Muller (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR, 2m29.624s (140.7kph)
Fastest lap: Rob Huff (GBR) Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición, 2m33.748s (136.9kph)
Top 5 provisional standings after Round 16
1 Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR, 223 points
2 Frédéric Vervisch (BEL) Comtoyou Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS, 195
3 Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA) Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team, Hyundai Elantra N TCR, 177
4 Yvan Muller (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR, 169
5 Santiago Urrutia (URY) Cyan Performance Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR, 167
Mikel Azcona and Rob Huff took the wins in two sensational counters at WTCR VTB Race of Russia this afternoon as Yann Ehrlacher became King of WTCR for the second time in as many years following his capture of back-to-back WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup titles**.
Ehrlacher, 25, arrived at the Sochi Autodrom for the season-decider 36 points to the good in his bid to be remain on the throne as King of WTCR. With sixth place in the provisional Race 1 order enough to take the crown, Race 2 turned into a high-speed lap of honour as the Frenchman matched his earlier finishing result at the wheel of his Goodyear-equipped Lynk & Co 03 TCR.
His efforts across the season combined with points scored by Yvan Muller, Ehrlacher’s team-mate and uncle, earned Cyan Racing Lynk & Co the WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup for Teams** for the third season running.
Luca Engstler (Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team) beat Gilles Magnus to the FIA WTCR Junior Driver Title by a single point, the Comtoyou Team Audi Sport ace settling for WTCR Trophy honours, which he secured at WTCR Race of Italy earlier this month, after contact put him out on the opening lap of Race 2.
Meanwhile, Azcona and Huff became winners 11 and 12 of the 16-race season with CUPRA the fifth of five customer racing brands contesting the full WTCR schedule to triumph in 2021, such is the wide-open nature of WTCR. Huff also claimed the TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy for his charging effort of 2m33.452s in Race 1.
Mikel Azcona completed the WTCR VTB Race of Russia weekend as the TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver after a five-second penalty dropped Frédéric Vervisch from third to sixth in Race 1.
Azcona’s victory in Race 1 came after a thrilling final-lap pass on Jean-Karl Vernay, while Huff took advantage of a collision between Azcona and Muller just before racing resumed following an intervention by the Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition Safety Car in Race 2.
Vernay and Vervisch joined Azcona on the Race 1 podium with Magnus and Nathanaël Berthon completing the top five in their Comtoyou Audis. And it would get better for Berthon in Race 2 with the Frenchman claiming his first podium of the season ahead of ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport driver Attila Tassi and Jean-Karl Vernay.
Esteban Guerrieri’s title hopes ended in a car-wrecking crash on the opening lap of the rain-affected Race 1. Despite extensive efforts by the ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport team to repair his Honda Civic Type R TCR, the Argentine was a non-starter in Race 2, which his team-mate Néstor Girolami led for a time before slipping down the order to seventh behind Ehrlacher.
After finishing P14 in Race 1, Gabriele Tarquini’s final race weekend before he retires from full-time driving began with his rivals delaying their preparations for Free Practice 1 to give him an emotional guard of honour. Unfortunately for the legendary Italian, WTCR VTB Race of Russia ended in retirement following contact. His BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse team-mate Norbert Michelisz scored points in both races, however.
Kirill Ladygin, the TCR Russia champion, was the best of the ROSNEFT LADA Sport wildcards with P14 in Race 2 the highlight of his weekend.
The grid fell silent prior to Race 2 as the WTCR family remembered Marcela Bertolissi, who passed away earlier this month.
RACE WINNER QUOTES
RACE 1: Mikel Azcona (Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA León Competición)
“It was an amazing race. I love these tricky weather conditions and I think I’m really good driving [when it’s wet]. I said to myself ‘OK, I’m going to drive carefully over the first laps.’ Just not to have any contact. From that point on I went to overtake for some positions, and I felt really fast. No contact, no damage to the car. I struggled a little bit with the others because there were defending really well. It’s amazing to finish the year off with a victory. I’ve been waiting for this for the whole year.”
RACE 2: Rob Huff (Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA León Competición)
“it’s quite fitting I think. We’ve had a horrific season, absolutely horrific. There’s no other way to put it. We’ve had seven DNFs and we had two opportunities where we should have won races. One in Budapest and one here. Obviously in Budpest I made a hash of it, but here we managed to make the absolute most of it. The car was really fast straight from the first wet conditions in Free Practice 2. The car was brilliant in Qualifying, and then in race one I think Mikel and I did a fantastic job to work together as team-mates to get Mikel on to P1 and unfortunately Fred and I had a coming together and my car came off worse, otherwise I think we would have had a 1-2. The car is amazing, the team have done a fantastic job just to repair my car and get it out. I think we made it by one minute, so huge thanks to Zengő Motorsport. And with Race 2 I just got a fantastic start, jumped two places, got Yann and I think I was even battling for the lead into T1, was on the outside so I knew I would have to cut back in and did. And then something I haven’t seen for a long while happened behind the safety car with Yvan and Mikel. I’m not sure exactly what happened but it resulted in them both going off and then on the restart I found myself in P2 from P4, made a really good move on Néstor, we had a really good fight for a few corners and then just managed to get my head down and get away. But that lap I got a warning on the dashboard that we had a low fuel pressure alarm, then we got a misfire, and I had to do six laps in the lead with the dashboard not really working and the gear change no really working that well.”