Mato Homola is the new leader of the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship after he defeated ‘home’ hero Norbert Michelisz in the first of two epic races at a virtual Hungaroring earlier tonight (Sunday).
Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship, Rounds 3 and 4 of 12, Hungaroring, 21 June 2020
The BRC Racing Team Hyundai driver from Slovakia beat Michelisz and Argentina’s Esteban Guerrieri for the Race 1 triumph after Guerrieri was delayed at the first corner avoiding a clash with Spain’s Mikel Azcona.
Honda-powered Argentine Néstor Girolami won Race 2 for ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport just ahead of Hungary’s Attila Tassi and Mikel Azcona following high drama on the penultimate lap. Frenchman Yann Ehrlacher (Cyan Racing Lynk & Co) overtook Girolami for first place nearing the finish of lap six, only for contact from Azcona’s CUPRA to send him into a half-spin and allow Girolami back ahead of both of them.
With the real WTCR set to visit the Hungaroring in October, the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship counter, broadcast on Eurosport and other channels around the world, provided an exciting virtual taster of what’s to come in a few months from now.
It also further underlined the fact the remaining four events of the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship, which is exclusively for WTCR drivers, are not to be missed given the action-packed spectacle served up on the RaceRoom Racing Experience platform.
RESULTS AT A GLANCE
1 Mato Homola (Slovakia) BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR
2 Norbert Michelisz (Hungary) BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR
3 Esteban Guerrieri (Argentina) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
DHL Pole: Esteban Guerrieri (Argentina) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
Fastest lap: Norbert Michelisz (Hungary) BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR
1 Néstor Girolami (Argentina) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
2 Attila Tassi (Hungary) ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
3 Mikel Azcona (Spain) CUPRA Racing CUPRA Leon Competició
DHL Pole: Aurélien Comte (France) DG Sport Compétition Peugeot 308TCR
Fastest lap: Néstor Girolami (Argentina) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
Lap 1: Just like at Salzburgring there’s drama at the first turn. Again, Azcona is involved but this time it’s Guerrieri who loses out. With fast-starting Azcona, into second ahead of Homola, piling down the grass on the inside, Guerrieri has to take evasive action to avoid contact. He drops to fifth as Homola, Michelisz, Langeveld and Tassi take advantage. Guerrieri fights back and passes Tassi at the chicane before Michelsiz inexplicably runs wide at Turn 11 in his pursuit of leader Homola
Lap 2: Determined to make up lost ground, Guerrieri closes up to third-placed Langeveld
Lap 3: Tassi takes to the grass at the first corner and drops to sixth behind Ehrlacher. Guerrieri passes Langeveld for third with a fine move at T11. Ehrlacher closes up
Lap 4: Guerrieri is under big pressure from Langeveld and Ehrlacher, who nudges Langeveld at T1 to take fourth. Langeveld fights back at T2 where there’s more contact. Azcona joins the fight for third and passes Ehrlacher who retaliates at T11, leaving Azcona in Tassi’s clutches
Lap 7: Despite catching up, Michelisz can’t get close enough to Homola, who wins with Guerrieri third. Langeveld, Azcona and Boldizs complete the top six
Lap 1: Comte leads away from the reverse-grid DHL pole but there’s trouble for fourth-place starter Boldisz who is hit into Ehrlacher by Tassi. There’s more Tassi-based contact with Girolami receiving a hit from the Hungarian. But Girolami is unflustered, drawing alongside Comte exiting T12 before diving down the inside of Comte for the lead at T13. Comte loses out again when Tassi passes entering the final corner
Lap 2: Ehrlacher passes Comte with a forceful move at T1 and tries to pass Tassi on the exit. Comte fights back at T2 but there’s contact from Boldizs, leaving Ehrlacher and Tassi to battle
Lap 3: A gearbox issue drops Tassi from the podium to fifth on the run to T2
Lap 4: Comte, Langeveld, Homola, Guerrieri battle with Guerrieri passing Comte for P9. Muller and Björk demote Comte out of the top 10 in quick succession
Lap 5: Ehrlacher catches up to leader Girolami and begins to exert the pressure
Lap 6: Ehrlacher draws alongside Girolami on the left at T1 as Azcona, Boldizs and Tassi battle for third. Tassi gets ahead of Boldizs. Azcona has now caught up to Girolami and Ehrlacher, who are enjoying a great battle for the lead. Ehrlacher goes to the outside of Girolami at T12, which gives him the inside line for T13. Ehrlacher sneaks into the lead and Azcona tries to follow him through on the run up to T14. There’s contact, Ehrlacher gets into a half-spin as Azcona goes wide allowing Girolami back into the lead. But he has to defend from Tassi as Boldizs takes third
Lap 7: Girolami is under huge pressure from Tassi, who has a look down the inside at T5 only for Girolami to close the door. Tassi then gets a hudge from Ehrlacher at the chicane. Having failed to pass Tassi, Boldizs is slow exiting T13 and slips from third to fifth behind Azcona and Ehrlacher
THE WINNERS SAID WHAT?
Mato Homola (Race 1): “I must say that I like Hungaroring, for sure. Anyway, I was very lucky in T1, with the contact between Esteban and Mikel. And then there was a big mess behind me. So, I wanted to make some gap with Norbi, but till the end he was pushing like hell, it’s his home track. I tried not to do any mistake, keep calm, and bring it home.”
Néstor ‘Bebu’ Girolami (Race 2): “It was incredible! I also remembered the last race in Budapest last year, it was an incredible race like this, with a lot of action. I think we didn’t have the pace to be honest to fight for pole, so we decided in qualifying to go straight to P8, P9, P10… we reached P9, and I thought it would be hard to maintain the first position but we did a very good race, very fair with Yann, then with Azcona we hit side by side but it was OK, and the last lap with Attila was very tough.”
Race 1 (12 minutes):
1 Mato Homola (SVK), BRC Racing Team, Hyundai i30 N TCR, 13m14.965s
2 Norbert Michelisz (HUN), BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse, Hyundai i30 N TCR +0.258s
3 Esteban Guerrieri (ARG), ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR +2.379s
4 Niels Langeveld (Netherlands), Comtoyou Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS +5.740s
5 Mikel Azcona (ESP), CUPRA Racing, CUPRA Leon Competición +6.549s
6 Bence Boldizs (HUN), Zengo Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición +7.474s
7 Yann Ehrlacher (FRA), Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR +7.729s
8 Andy Priaulx (GBR), Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 03 TCR +9.727s
9 Yvan Muller (FRA), Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR +13.146s
10 Tiago Monteiro (PRT), ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR +13.355s
Race 2 (12 minutes):
1 Néstor Girolami (ARG), ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR, 13m21.020s
2 Attila Tassi (HUN), ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR +1.161s
3 Mikel Azcona (ESP), CUPRA Racing, CUPRA Leon Competición +1.627s
4 Yann Ehrlacher (FRA), Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR +1.744s
5 Bence Boldizs (HUN), Zengo Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición +2.262s
6 Norbert Michelisz (HUN), BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse, Hyundai i30 N TCR +2.625s
7 Mato Homola (SVK), BRC Racing Team, Hyundai i30 N TCR +2.839s
8 Niels Langeveld (Netherlands), Comtoyou Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS +2.984s
9 Esteban Guerrieri (ARG), ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR +3.174s
10 Yvan Muller (FRA), Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR +4.748s
PROVISIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 4 OF 12:
1 Mato Homola (Slovakia), BRC Racing Team, 69 points
2 Esteban Guerrieri (Argentina), ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, 64
3 Norbert Michelisz (Hungary), BRC N Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse, 61
4 Mikel Azcona (Spain), CUPRA Racing, 50
5 Yann Ehrlacher (France), Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, 50
6 Néstor Girolami (Argentina), ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, 49
7 Attila Tassi (Hungary), ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport, 47
8 Bence Boldizs (Hungary), Zengo Motorsport, 41
9 Niels Langeveld (Netherlands), Comtoyou Team Audi Sport, 38
10 Yvan Muller (France), Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, 24
The Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship heads next to a virtual Slovakia Ring on 28 June with all the action on Eurosport at 22h00 CET, subject to final scheduling.
Missed the action?
Catch the replays on the WTCR’s social media channels from 09h00 CET tomorrow (Monday).
The Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship explained
Held over six weekends until 19 July on the RaceRoom Racing Experience platform, the Pre-season Sports WTCR Championship gives fans the chance to watch virtual WTCR racing with a difference.
All drivers taking part will have a webcam and microphone connected, making it possible for viewers to see and hear their heroes during the races. The microphone feature will also allow drivers to be interviewed as well as interacting with their rivals. Videos of drivers on their simulators, at home and enjoying some fun moments will also be shared during the one-hour shows.
New-for-2020-liveries will be used with six epic tracks, including three that will feature in the real WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup, providing the challenge.
Each Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship event will feature a 10-minute qualifying session followed by a top-five Superpole shootout, which will be included in the official broadcast.
Race 1 will last for 12 minutes with the grid using the combined qualifying results. Race 2 will also last for 12 minutes but with the top 10 qualifying results reversed to form the first five rows of the grid. Cars will appear as they will look when the WTCR begins, as planned, for real later this year.
Making it happen for the fans
Organised to give WTCR drivers the chance to engage with fans through the WTCR’s social media platforms while they wait the start of the 2020 campaign and a prelude to the full Esports WTCR online championship due to begin later this year, the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship from RaceRoom in partnership with Eurosport Events lists Goodyear, TAG Heuer, DHL, KW Suspensions, TrackTime and Liqui Moly as partners with a TAG Heuer watch going to the champion. The series will promote the FIA’s #RaceAtHome campaign.
More than a game: Click here to view the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship announcement.