Nicky Catsburg claimed his first podium finish of 2017 in a controversial FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) weekend in Hungary, climbing to second place in the championship, as team-mates Thed Björk and Néstor Girolami suffered one retirement each.
“I’m so happy to claim a very important podium finish. The incident with Néstor was unfortunate; I couldn’t do anything about it as Rob [Huff] hit me from behind. But props to Rob as he admitted hitting me. I must say that I am surprised with our form, being faster than Honda on full weight and that promises well for the coming races,” said Catsburg, who finished second in the main race.
The Polestar Cyan Racing trio was strong in qualifying at the demanding Hungaroring, beating main championship rivals Honda despite running on maximum compensation weight for the first time.
Néstor Girolami managed to climb from sixth on the grid to finish fourth in the first race. The Argentinian was forced to retire in the second race from a podium position after an incident for which Rob Huff was penalised.
“Just as in the previous race at Monza, the incident was something outside of my control. Rob hit Nicky, who hit me, something broke on my car and I had to retire. The weekend was disappointing because another driver made a mistake that affected me, but it was not disappointing in terms of speed as we were faster than the Honda drivers,” said Girolami.
Thed Björk had a tough weekend in Hungary, dropping from second to fourth in the drivers’ championship after being hit by a competitor at the start of the first race, causing a steering arm to break. The second race saw the Swede salvaging seventh.
“This is obviously a disappointing weekend for me. We didn’t get it right in qualifying, then the first race ended on the first lap. I was hit by Chilton, which broke my steering arm and caused me to collide with Michelisz. But I’m still in good spirits, you can’t go through a season without a bad weekend. I am very much looking forward to the next race at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, my favourite,” said Björk.
The manufacturers’ standings are unchanged after Hungaroring, with equal points scored between Volvo and Honda. The gap is still on 12 points in favour of Volvo ahead of the next race weekend at the Nürburgring Nordschleife on 25-27 May.
“A fantastic race event in front of, hands down, the best crowd of the whole WTCC calendar. However, this was a tough weekend in which we did not reach our objectives. Sometimes you are denied the results although you have the speed – that’s racing. We simply have to shake this off and focus on the next race in Germany,” said Alexander Murdzevski Schedvin, Head of Motorsport at Polestar.
WTCC Race of Hungary
Length: 4.381 km
Lap record (WTCC): 1:50.119 (Muller)
Race 1 – Top 5
1 Tiago Monteiro Honda Civic 12 laps
2 Tom Chilton Citroën C-Elysée +0.768
3 Rob Huff Citroën C-Elysée +2.296
4 Néstor Girolami Volvo S60 +4.537
5 Nicky Catsburg Volvo S60 +5.221
DNF Thed Björk Volvo S60
Race 2 – Top 5
1 Mehdi Bennani Citroën C-Elysée 17 laps
2 Nicky Catsburg Volvo S60 +0.654
3 Tom Chilton Citroën C-Elysée +3.553
4 Norbert Michelisz Honda Civic +7.309
5 Tiago Monteiro Honda Civic +9.532
7 Thed Björk Volvo S60 +11.865
DNF Néstor Girolami Volvo S60
Q1 – Top 5
1 Nicky Catsburg Volvo S60 1:48.995
2 Rob Huff Citroën C-Elysée +0.003
3 Tiago Monteiro Honda Civic +0.076
4 Néstor Girolami Volvo S60 +0.116
5 Esteban Guerrieri Chevrolet Cruze +0.236
6 Thed Björk Volvo S60 +0.434
Q2 – Top 5
1 Rob Huff Citroën C-Elysée 1:48.494
2 Esteban Guerrieri Chevrolet Cruze +0.125
3 Mehdi Bennani Citroën C-Elysée +0.191
4 Néstor Girolami Volvo S60 +0.261
5 Nicky Catsburg Volvo S60 +0.328
8 Thed Björk Volvo S60 +0.609
1 Rob Huff Citroën C-Elysée 1:48.264
2 Mehdi Bennani Citroën C-Elysée +0.327
3 Esteban Guerrieri Chevrolet Cruze +0.632
4 Nicky Catsburg Volvo S60 +0.677
5 Néstor Girolami Volvo S60 +1.410
Drivers’ – Top 5
1 Tiago Monteiro Honda Civic 123 pts
2 Nicky Catsburg Volvo S60 85 (-38)
3 Tom Chilton Citroën C-Elysée 81 (-42)
4 Thed Björk Volvo S60 77 (-46)
5 Mehdi Bennani Citroën C-Elysée 73 (-50)
9 Néstor Girolami Volvo S60 52 (-71)
1 Volvo 294 pts
2 Honda 282 (-12)
— Arrive Alive (@_ArriveAlive) May 15, 2017