Poor driving, sad ending
Hungarian Attila Tassi started on the partially reversed-grid pole position and was fortunate to escape a second-lap attack as Argentinian Esteban Guerrieri came skating up his inside into Turn One and spun. Tassi wasn’t so lucky a lap later.
Audi’s Franco Girolami, Nestor’s younger brother, let the blood rush to his head as he made a dive on Nicky Catsburg – and wiped out both the leader and the second-placed Hyundai in a single moment of ineptitude. That handed the lead and a third victory of the campaign to Gilles Magnus, who had suffered his own moment of madness two weeks earlier in Bahrain, where he clobbered into former team-mate Mehdi Bennani.
“Man, did I need this,” said Magnus. “For the team, for myself, for my confidence. We’ve been through tough times. Bahrain was tough. Now I can give something back I’m really happy.” So was his ‘wildcard’ team-mate Viktor Davidovski. The inexperienced Macedonian had started on the front row beside Tassi, slumped to sixth, then rose back to second amid all the troubles ahead of him. He could barely believe it. Azcona blessed his luck too as he finished his masterpiece of a season with a podium third.
As for Berthon, he desperately tried to fight his way past British ace – and Goodwood Revival favourite – Rob Huff, who was back behind the wheel of a Zengo Motorsport Cupra after missing the Bahrain rounds because of the team’s financial shortfall. Huff knows all the tricks and Berthon just couldn’t find a way to unlock his defences. Then he tried a dive at the final turn, collided with the Cupra and broke his Audi’s right-front wheel. Game over – and for the series too, as the clock ran down before the mess could be fully cleared. As Berthon fumed, the safety car led Magnus across the line and a touring car era came to a close. Yes, the WTCR did deserve better. But given what had come before across a tumultuous five years, some might say it was a fitting end too.
Images courtesy of WTCR