NEWS

Weekend full of promise ends in disaster at the Nordschleife

24/06/19 Race Results

Weekend full of promise ends in disaster at the Nordschleife

NürburgringNürburgring - 20/06/19 Race 1: 4th Race 2: DNF Race 3: DNS

Amazing overtaking followed by unnecessary contact in Germany

Rob Huff and the Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Motorsport team had their strongest weekend of the season to-date at the manufacturer's home circuit at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, but it promised so much more, though Huff was robbed of his chance to start the final race from the front row of the grid, after his car was damaged in Race 2 by the Hyundai of Gabriele Tarquini.

The weekend started perfectly for the Volkswagen squad, with Huff topping the first practice session, and was second in the second session behind team-mate Johan Kristoffersson.

Then the typical Nürburgring weather came into play for qualifying, with the circuit flooded ahead of qualifying, making pit order vital, with the championship leader having a clear view on his way to an easy pole position, while the Volkswagens had to make do, qualifying on the lower side of the top ten.

In Qualifying 2, in drier conditions, Huff posted the second fastest time, securing his first front row start of the season, just behind team-mate Benjamin Leuchter, who has  lapped the Nordschleife more than 1,000 times in his career.

Race 1 took place on Friday evening, and it was one of the most exciting races of the year, with Huff quickly moving up to fifth and then joining the battle for the final podium spot between the Honda of Néstor Girolami and the Audi of Frédéric Vervisch.

On lap two, at the famous Döttinger Höhe straight, Huff stole a slipstream from the pair of them to blast past them into third place, but the following lap, with a few light taps, he fell back to fourth, still securing his best finish of the season so far as the top Volkswagen driver in the race.

In Race 2, starting from P8 on the reversed grid, Huff was again making his way forward, and was soon battling Gabriele Tarquini's Hyundai for the final podium spot. On the second lap, Huff tried to make his way past the Italian on the way up to the Karousel, but Tarquini jinked left into Huff's Golf GTI TCR twice, before firing him off at the corner - with the car too badly damaged to return to the pits and take up its front row starting spot for the final race.

Tarquini was given a 30-second penalty for the incident, but that doesn't help Huff recover any positions in what should have been the best weekend so far for the Volkswagen driver.

You can see highlights of the thrilling battle at the Döttinger Höhe straight here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQs7oGKJIGE

Rob Huff said:

"The first race was really fun. It was a little tough at the start, as Yvan Muller didn't give me any room at Turn 2, but we came out of it OK.

"The car felt good, we didn't have the same straight line speed as the rest, but we had great pace in the corners, and it was great to be fighting back at the front of the field.

"At Döttinger Höhe, it was a really cool move with Néstor (Girolami) and Fred (Vervisch). I gained about 15km/h in their slipstream alone and took third, but then on the next lap Néstor hit my twice unnecessarily, which isn't like him - but I guess he might have been wound up a bit after his fight with Vervisch the lap before.

"In the second race, it's just very disappointing. Gabriele tried twice to take me off before the Karousel, while I couldn't have been more fair while I was racing him.

“Yesterday, we were side-by-side at the start on the GP track, and I gave him plenty of room. I’m just disappointed, as he’s been here as long as I have, and I just want to be able to race, cleanly.

"Still, I'm very happy for the team as it's been a brilliant weekend overall, with both Johan (Kristoffersson) and Benny (Leuchter) winning on Saturday, which is a great lift for the guys. Now we head to Vila Real, where we took pole position last year, so that should be a very strong race for us and hopefully we can deliver on the promise we showed back then."
 


Qualifying 1 result

1 - Esteban Guerrieri - Münnich Motorsport - Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR - 10:30.955
2 - Norbert Michelisz - BRC Racing Team - Hyundai i30 N TCR - 6.032
3 - Néstor Girolami - Münnich Motorsport - Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR - 6.188
4 - Frédéric Vervisch - Comtoyou Racing - Audi RS 3 LMS - 7.405
5 - Thed Björk - Cyan Racing - Lynk & Co 03 TCR - 8.132
9 - Rob Huff - Sébastien Loeb Racing - Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR - 9.424

Qualifying 2 result

1 - Benjamin Leuchter - Sébastien Loeb Racing - Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR - 9:51.327
2 - Rob Huff - Sébastien Loeb Racing - Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR - 1.482
3 - Esteban Guerrieri - Münnich Motorsport - Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR - 1.897
4 - Norbert Michelisz - BRC Racing Team - Hyundai i30 N TCR - 4.098
5 - Gabriele Tarquini - BRC Racing Team - Hyundai i30 N TCR - 4.247

Race 1 result

1 - Norbert Michelisz - BRC Racing Team - Hyundai i30 N TCR - 3 laps
2 - Esteban Guerrieri - Münnich Motorsport - Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR - 1.762
3 - Néstor Girolami - Münnich Motorsport - Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR - 3.741
4 - Rob Huff - Sébastien Loeb Racing - Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR - 4.041
5 - Frédéric Vervisch - Comtoyou Racing - Audi RS 3 LMS - 7.036

Race 2 result

1 - Johan Kristoffersson - Sébastien Loeb Racing - Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR - 3 laps
2 - Frédéric Vervisch - Comtoyou Racing - Audi RS 3 LMS - 5.108
3 - Augusto Farfus - BRC Racing Team - Hyundai i30 N TCR - 10.891
4 - Attila Tassi - KCMG - Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR - 11.827
5 - Benjamin Leuchter - Sébastien Loeb Racing - Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR - 12.340
25 - Rob Huff - Sébastien Loeb Racing - Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR - DNF

Race 3 result

1 - Benjamin Leuchter - Sébastien Loeb Racing - Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR - 3 laps
2 - Frédéric Vervisch - Comtoyou Racing - Audi RS 3 LMS - 0.495
3 - Esteban Guerrieri - Münnich Motorsport - Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR - 1.885
4 - Jean-Karl Vernay - WRT - Audi RS 3 LMS - 2.505
5 - Gabriele Tarquini - BRC Racing Team - Hyundai i30 N TCR - 7.179
27- Rob Huff - Sébastien Loeb Racing - Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR - DNS


The next round of the FIA World Touring Car Cup takes place at the Vila Real street circuit in Portugal on July  6th-7th 2019.