WTCC Race of Hungary - 12-14/05/2017
TRACK GUIDE IN 100 WORDS
Located less than 20 kilometres northeast of Budapest, the Hungaroring is famed for hosting the first Formula One grand prix behind the Iron Curtain in 1986. Although it has been ever-present on the F1 calendar since, the Hungaroring is established as a regular on the WTCC schedule. And the event’s popularity among home fans has rocketed thanks to the emergence of Honda’s Norbert Michelisz as a local hero, particularly following of his pole-to-flag victory in 2015. Last year’s event was the first on the resurfaced layout, complete with re-profiled kerbing, but rain on race day prevented lap records from falling.
1: The WTCC was the first international championship to try the resurfaced Hungaroring, which boasted a new layer of asphalt of between 3-5 centimetres thick, when it visited in April 2016.
2: One of the highlights of the WTCC Race of Hungary weekend is the parade through the streets of Budapest, which, in 2015, featured high-speed driving displays by WTCC and F1 aces.
3: Ex-Formula One driver Gianni Morbidelli scored his one and only WTCC win at the Hungaroring when he triumphed in the second race in 2014.
4: Hungary is one of the oldest countries in Europe. It was founded in 896, before France and Germany became separate entities, and before the unification of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.
5: Hungarian inventions include the Rubik’s cube (Erno Rubik), the ballpoint pen (László Bíró) and the theory of the hydrogen bomb (Edward Teller).
WHAT HAPPENED IN 2016?
The FIA World Touring Car Championship delivered two dramatic races on a wet day at the Hungaroring, with Mehdi Bennani (Morocco) and José María López (Argentina) triumphing in slippery conditions. Bennani scored his second outright WTCC victory in the Opening Race, leading from start to finish as many big names, including Citroën’s López and Yvan Muller and Honda’s Tiago Monteiro and Rob Huff, were caught out by the difficult weather. All four opted for dry-weather tyres and finished outside the points as a result. Tom Chilton made it a one-two for Sébastien Loeb Racing from P10 on the grid ahead of LADA driver Nicky Catsburg and Volvo Polestar’s Fredrik Ekblom for the Swedish make’s best WTCC finish so far. López was lapped in that first race but later took his third Main Race win from as many events to extend the championship lead he claimed with five points for the DHL Pole Position on Saturday. He was pressured by Huff and a fast-starting Muller, who made contact when fighting over second place, leading to a penalty for the Briton. Erstwhile title leader Tiago Monteiro completed the Main Race podium for Honda ahead of Thed Björk (Volvo Polestar). After a turbo failure forced him out of the Opening Race, Norbert Michelisz produced a stunning comeback drive from the back of the grid in the Main Race before a suspension failure late on dropped him from sixth to P10. López claimed the TAG Heuer Best Lap award for the second event running.
Opening Race DHL Pole Position: Mehdi Bennani (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
Main Race DHL Pole Position: José María López (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)
TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy: José María López (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC), 2m09.820s
WTCC MAC3 winner: Team Honda