Girolami and Azcona star as WTCR season five is Go in Pau



  OtojatimID- The 2022 WTCR − FIA Touring Car World Cup got off to a sensational start on the streets of Pau with wins for Néstor Girolami and Mikel Azcona, but frustration for King of WTCR Yann Ehlacher who twice finished outside the podium.

Hosting FIA World Touring Car racing for the first time since 2009 as part of a combined event with the opening event of the inaugural FIA ETCR eTouring Car World Cup, Circuit de Pau-Ville attracted thousands of fans with hot and sunny conditions helping to create a true festival atmosphere.

Girolami took the Race 1 victory in his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR with team-mate and fellow Argentine Esteban Guerrieri finishing just behind as Yvan Muller completed the podium for Cyan Racing Lynk & Co.

Azcona’s win in Race 2 followed a dramatic start when his BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse team-mate Norbert Michelisz collided with fellow front-row starter Attila Tassi (LIQUI Moly Team Engstler). Although several cars suffered contact as they threaded their way through the incident, racing quickly resumed with Santiago Urrutia putting Azcona under pressure at the restart, albeit to no avail. Ehrlacher was on course to follow Urrutia home in third but a damaged tyre forced him to pit.

The Frenchman’s delay let in China’s Ma Qing Hua to round out the podium places for Cyan Performance Lynk & Co on his return to the WTCR after two seasons away. By finishing seventh, Girolami is the Goodyear #FollowTheLeader with a narrow seven-point advantage over Guerrieri with Azcona one point behind Guerrieri.

Ehrlacher began his WTCR title defence with fourth in Race 1, one place ahead of Ma as Azcona, Urrutia (Cyan Performance Lynk & Co), Gilles Magnus (Comtoyou Team Audi Sport), Michelisz and Mehdi Bennani completed the top 10. Bennani (Comtoyou Team Audi Sport) took the WTCR Trophy honours ahead of Tom Coronel (Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport) and Rob Huff (Zengő Motorsport).

Berthon hit back from missing out on fourth in Race 1 with fourth in Race 2 ahead of Guerrieri, Muller, Girolami, Huff, Cyan Performance Lynk & Co’s Thed Björk and LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler driver Tiago Monteiro. Huff won the WTCR Trophy category ahead of his Zengő Motorsport team-mate Dániel Nagy and Coronel. Pau-based wildcard racer Éric Cayrolle placed P14 in both races.