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WTCR Aragon: Magnus holds off Huff for Audi’s first win of 2022

Autosport logo Autosport 26/6/2022 Damien Smith

Magnus, 22, clung on to his lead after starting race one from pole position as Huff made a great getaway from fourth on the grid in his Zengo Motorsport Cupra Leon.

Reigning double champion Yann Ehrlacher demoted front-row starter Nathanael Berthon into Turn 1, but Huff had passed them both by Turn 3 and then chased Magnus hard all the way for his second consecutive runner-up finish.

“This guy did not make it easy,” said Magnus of Huff. “He was really quick, I was not allowed to make any mistakes and then in the end on the last lap I had a fuel cut. I said on the radio I was going crazy, my heart rate went up. But in the end we managed to bring it home.”

“What a mega race,” said Huff, who also finished second in race two at the Hungaroring. “I’ve been really concentrating on starts and I think we’ve finally found something that works really well. I kept my foot in and got up to second, then chased junior all the way.

“We had a bit more pace than Gilles, but when you are following it is so hard when you’ve got these [track limits] tyre stacks. We are using every last centimetre up to the tyre stacks.

“He made a couple of very small mistakes that allowed me a couple of times to almost get alongside. I had a good run out of the chicane on to the back straight on one lap, but he was just a little bit quicker when you get halfway down the straight. But two second places now – that first win can’t be too far away.”

Rob Huff, Zengo Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición © Rob Huff, Zengo Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición

Rob Huff, Zengo Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición

Photo by: WTCR

Berthon finished third, but only after a controversial move on Ehrlacher on the second lap. The pair made contact under braking, which resulted in the Lynk & Co losing three places.

“I passed him, he passed me back, as usual I would say because I like fair battles,” explained Berthon. “Then he did a mistake in Turn 3, he lost the rear so I was able to really catch him and honestly I took my chance.

“I saw I was on the inside and you know when you are in the braking phase you are at the limit. And Yann took his corner and there was no space I would say. So we had a little touch.

“I’m sorry he lost a position because it was absolutely not what I had in my mind, but to be honest I had no room. I think it’s racing.”

Berthon then spent the rest of the race fending off a charging Azcona, the WTCR points leader rising from eighth on the grid to finish fourth, having driven tactically in qualifying in the interests of maintaining a competitive Balance of Performance.

Azcona’s BRC Hyundai Squadra Corse team-mate Norbert Michelisz also came through from ninth on the grid to finish fifth, as an unhappy Ehrlacher claimed sixth after his uncle Yvan Muller allowed him back past in the wake of the clash with Berthon.

Cyan Performance Lynk & Co’s Ma Qing Hua started race two from the reverse-grid pole position, having qualified 10th on Saturday. He led into Turn 1 only for fellow front-row starter Michelisz to scythe past at Turn 3. The Hungarian then slammed into a track limits tyre stack and with Tom Coronel also crashing heavily in his Audi, the safety car was called upon.

Esteban Guerrieri, ALL-INKL.COM Munnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR, Mikel Azcona, BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse, Hyundai Elantra N TCR © Esteban Guerrieri, ALL-INKL.COM Munnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR, Mikel Azcona, BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse, Hyundai Elantra N TCR

Esteban Guerrieri, ALL-INKL.COM Munnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR, Mikel Azcona, BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse, Hyundai Elantra N TCR

Photo by: WTCR

At the restart, Daniel Nagy dived inside Ma at Turn 1 to take the lead, but Azcona was quickly on the move. He demoted Ma, then closed in on Nagy’s Cupra and took the lead on the following lap.

Nagy allowed his team-mate Huff past so the Briton could mount a challenge on Azcona for the win. But his Cupra didn’t have enough to pass the Hyundai and he settled for another second place, making it three in succession. Santiago Urrutia passed Nagy to claim the final spot on the podium.

“It’s a very good feeling to win here at home,” said an overjoyed Azcona. “First time here with Hyundai with my friends and family. I’m still leading the championship, it’s a really good feeling and the car was working really well. I could feel Rob was very close to my neck and I was very nervous, he was catching me on the straight and under braking for Turn 16. But in the first sector the car was very good.”

“Absolutely mega,” said Huff. “We’ve jumped huge points for the championship which is absolutely brilliant. Huge thanks to Danny, who made my life very easy as I think everyone could see. Without him doing that I wouldn’t have been able to get as close to Mikel as I could and put a good enough gap on Santi.

“The first lap was complete carnage, I have no recollection of what happened! I just kept avoiding people and coming out in front of them. I went from seventh to third in the first five corners. But the car was just mega all weekend.”

Magnus could only finish 10th in race two. He is now second in the points, with Azcona’s advantage at the top a commanding 28 points. Huff has risen up the order to a tied third with Urrutia. The pair are six points behind Magnus, with Ehrlacher a further point behind in fifth.

Nestor Girolami, who had started the weekend second to Azcona in the points, only managed 12th in race one and 13th in race two as the Hondas struggled in Spain.

WTCR Aragon - Race 1 results

1 Gilles Magnus Audi16
2 Rob Huff CUPRA16 0.393 0.393
3 Nathanael Berthon Audi16 4.351 3.958
4 Mikel Azcona Hyundai16 4.869 0.518
5 Norbert Michelisz Hyundai16 5.548 0.679
6 Yann Ehrlacher Lynk & Co16 9.655 4.107
7 Yvan Muller Lynk & Co16 16.558 6.903
8 Santiago Urrutia Lynk & Co16 18.960 2.402
9 Thed Björk Lynk & Co16 19.990 1.030
10 Mehdi Bennani Audi16 20.571 0.581
11 Esteban Guerrieri Honda16 25.957 5.386
12 Nestor Girolami Honda16 27.688 1.731
13 Ma Qing Hua Lynk & Co16 28.977 1.289
14 Tiago Monteiro Honda16 36.987 8.010
Attila Tassi Honda13 3 Laps 3 Laps
Tom Coronel Audi7 9 Laps 6 Laps
Daniel Nagy CUPRA6 10 Laps 1 Lap
View full results

WTCR Aragon - Race 2 results

1 Mikel Azcona Hyundai12
2 Rob Huff CUPRA12 0.802 0.802
3 Santiago Urrutia Lynk & Co12 5.633 4.831
4 Daniel Nagy CUPRA12 7.868 2.235
5 Yann Ehrlacher Lynk & Co12 8.755 0.887
6 Ma Qing Hua Lynk & Co12 10.057 1.302
7 Yvan Muller Lynk & Co12 12.525 2.468
8 Nathanael Berthon Audi12 13.440 0.915
9 Mehdi Bennani Audi12 13.810 0.370
10 Gilles Magnus Audi12 16.391 2.581
11 Thed Björk Lynk & Co12 17.014 0.623
12 Esteban Guerrieri Honda12 17.018 0.004
13 Nestor Girolami Honda12 18.921 1.903
14 Attila Tassi Honda12 20.435 1.514
15 Tiago Monteiro Honda12 22.699 2.264
Norbert Michelisz Hyundai1
Tom Coronel Audi0
View full results

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