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Nurburgring WTCR: Leuchter wins dramatic final race

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Nurburgring WTCR: Leuchter wins dramatic final race
By:
Jun 22, 2019, 11:16 AM

Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen driver Benjamin Leuchter clinched his first World Touring Car Cup victory in a dramatic final Nurburgring Nordschleife race.

Polesitter Leuchter was forced to work for his win, surviving two attacks from the championship-leading Munnich Motorsport Honda of Esteban Guerrieri on the opening lap and later staying at the head of a four-car train on the final tour.

Guerrieri launched the first of his bids for the lead at the start, making the most of the space that should have been occupied by Rob Huff's SLR Volkswagen - which could not take the start after an incident in race two - to challenge Leuchter into Turn 1.

While Leuchter ultimately gained the spot back exiting a busy first corner - at which Frederic Vervisch hit fourth-place starter Norbert Michelisz - he had to dig deep at the end of the first lap to preserve his lead.

Guerrieri got a good exit onto the long Dottinger Hohe straight at the end of the lap and pulled out of the VW's slipstream on the approach to Tiergarten, and had the Civic's nose ahead as the two headed through the sequence of left- and right-handers.

But Leuchter hung on around the outside and headed onto the start/finish straight with the lead, while a resulting loss of momentum meant Guerrieri forfeited second place to Vervisch's Comtoyou Audi RS3 LMS.

Leuchter had a more comfortable run down Dottinger and into Tiergarten at the end of the second lap and, although he struggled to escape from Vervisch, Guerrieri and the WRT Audi of Jean-Karl Vernay on the final lap, ultimately kept the chasing trio behind to close out the win.

While Guerrieri ended up third, the Argentinian extended his points lead significantly as nearest challenger Michelisz was forced to retire after he was whacked by Vervisch.

Reigning WTCR champion Gabriele Tarquini was fifth in his BRC Racing Hyundai, while the Comtoyou Cupras of Tom Coronel and Aurelien Panis finished an attritional race sixth and seventh.

Eighth went the way of Nicky Catsburg, but only after he overcame the Lynk & Co of Yvan Muller - who had blocked him badly on the second lap.

That put Catsburg on the grass and while he did recover, it allowed race two winner Johan Kristoffersson to challenge him for 10th - only for the SLR VW driver to lose control on the grass and hit the barrier hard.

Catsburg's overtake on Muller was not shown, but he and Gordon Shedden (WRT Audi) managed to jump the Cyan Racing driver on the final lap, with Kevin Ceccon coming home 11th in his Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

Niels Langeveld (Comtoyou Audi), the second Alfa Romeo of Ma Qing Hua, PWR Cupra driver Mikel Azcona and SLR's Mehdi Bennani completed the points scorers.

Results:

Cla Driver Chassis Time
1 Germany Benjamin Leuchter
Volkswagen
2 Belgium Frederic Vervisch
Audi 0.495
3 Argentina Esteban Guerrieri
Honda 1.885
4 France Jean-Karl Vernay
Audi 2.505
5 Italy Gabriele Tarquini
Hyundai 7.179
6 Netherlands Tom Coronel
CUPRA 8.623
7 France Aurelien Panis
CUPRA 11.014
8 Netherlands Nick Catsburg
Hyundai 13.099
9 United Kingdom Gordon Shedden
Audi 14.191
10 France Yvan Muller
Lynk & Co 14.524
11 Italy Kevin Ceccon
Alfa Romeo 15.342
12 Netherlands Niels Langeveld
Audi 15.664
13 China Ma Qing Hua
Alfa Romeo 16.146
14 Spain Mikel Azcona
CUPRA 17.198
15 Finland Antti Buri
Audi 20.626
16 Morocco Mehdi Bennani
Volkswagen 21.566
17 Portugal Tiago Monteiro
Honda 44.546
18 Argentina Nestor Girolami
Honda 1'37.527
19 Guernsey Andy Priaulx
Lynk & Co 4'33.505
20 Sweden Johan Kristoffersson
Volkswagen 2 laps
21 Hungary Attila Tassi
Honda
22 Sweden Thed Björk
Lynk & Co
23 Hungary Norbert Michelisz
Hyundai
24 Brazil Augusto Farfus
Hyundai
25 France Yann Ehrlacher
Lynk & Co
26 Sweden Daniel Haglof
CUPRA
27 United Kingdom Rob Huff
Volkswagen

 

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Portugal WTCR: Michelisz closes in on Guerrieri with win

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About this article

Series WTCR
Event Nürburgring
Drivers Benjamin Leuchter
Teams Sébastien Loeb Racing
Author Jack Cozens