Portugal WTCR: Monteiro scores first win since return

KCMG Honda’s Tiago Monteiro claimed a popular home victory in the final WTCR race at Vila Real, beating the Cyan Racing pairing of Yvan Muller and Yann Ehrlacher.

Portugal WTCR: Monteiro scores first win since return

Monteiro took the chequered flag with a two- second advantage to notch up his first victory since his return from injury, having taken the lead from his pole-sitting teammate Attila Tassi on the fourth lap of 14.

Muller held off the attentions of his Lynk & Co stablemate and nephew Ehrlacher, with race two winner Mikel Azcona fourth.

Esteban Guerrieri suffered another disappointing race, retiring after contact on the opening lap with the BRC Racing Hyundai of Nicky Catsburg.

Catsburg, who started seventh, made a great start and threatened to go all the way round Jean-Karl Vernay (Audi), Rob Huff (Volkswagen) and Guerrieri as the pack filed into Turn 4 for the first time.

The move nearly paid off but Catsburg, squeezed by both Guerrieri and the Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo of Ma Qing Hua, hit the back of Guerrieri, putting both out on the spot.

Guerreri’s title rivals Thed Bjork (Cyan Racing Lynk & Co) and Norbert Michelisz (BRC Racing Hyundai) scored points, with the latter now just 25 points behind.

Tassi initially led off his maiden pole but quickly fell into the grasps off the chasing Monteiro and Muller. Under pressure from behind, Monteiro seized the lead on the entry to Turn 14 with Muller grabbing second on exit.

Tassi dropped as far down as 11th, and eventually retired.

Monteiro got his foot down once in clear air and managed to take his joker lap and rejoin in front of Muller at the start of lap seven.

Later the Honda driver gapped Muller by nearly three seconds to run out a comfortable winner as Muller defended from teammate Ehrlacher and Azcona.

Ehrlacher appeared the faster of the two Lynk & Cos heading into the closing stages and the Frenchman radioed to the team asking if Muller could go any quicker.

But Azcona could not find enough pace to mount a serious challenge and the positions remained the same at the flag. 

Bjork claimed eighth just ahead of Ma, while Michelisz made amends for his race two non-score with 10th.

Race results:

Cla # Driver Chassis Laps Gap
1 18 Portugal Tiago Monteiro
Honda 14
2 100 France Yvan Muller
Lynk & Co 14 2.295
3 68 France Yann Ehrlacher
Lynk & Co 14 2.647
4 96 Spain Mikel Azcona
CUPRA 14 2.959
5 69 France Jean-Karl Vernay
Audi 14 6.816
6 12 United Kingdom Rob Huff
Volkswagen 14 6.999
7 29 Argentina Nestor Girolami
Honda 14 10.041
8 11 Sweden Thed Björk
Lynk & Co 14 12.507
9 55 China Ma Qing Hua
Alfa Romeo 14 22.317
10 5 Hungary Norbert Michelisz
Hyundai 14 22.596
11 14 Sweden Johan Kristoffersson
Volkswagen 14 23.570
12 21 France Aurelien Panis
CUPRA 14 24.108
13 31 Italy Kevin Ceccon
Alfa Romeo 14 24.900
14 25 Morocco Mehdi Bennani
Volkswagen 14 24.916
15 1 Italy Gabriele Tarquini
Hyundai 14 25.258
16 10 Netherlands Niels Langeveld
Audi 14 26.028
17 50 Netherlands Tom Coronel
CUPRA 14 26.602
18 33 Germany Benjamin Leuchter
Volkswagen 14 37.092
19 111 Guernsey Andy Priaulx
Lynk & Co 14 1'44.342
20 22 Belgium Frederic Vervisch
Audi 12 2 Laps
21 37 Sweden Daniel Haglof
CUPRA 7 7 Laps
22 9 Hungary Attila Tassi
Honda 7 7 Laps
23 8 Brazil Augusto Farfus
Hyundai 6 8 Laps
24 52 United Kingdom Gordon Shedden
Audi 1 13 Laps
25 88 Netherlands Nick Catsburg
26 86 Argentina Esteban Guerrieri
Portugal WTCR: Azcona wins after Ma's joker lap error

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