The first-ever visit of the WTCC to the Slovakia Ring saw victories in the two races going to Gabriele Tarquini in a Lukoil Racing SEAT León and Robert Huff in one of the three factory Chevrolet Cruze cars. For both drivers, Slovakia saw their first wins of the season, with Tarquini giving the new SEAT 1.6 litre turbocharged petrol engine its maiden victory.
A sell-out crowd of more than 25,000 enjoyed the sunny day and close, incident-packed racing. A number of WTCC competitors were not quite so happy with the spectacle, with the Team AON Ford Focus cars in particular leaving the circuit having failed to convert their early promising pace into useful points because of race incidents.
The early domination of the 2012 WTCC by Chevrolet appeared to have drawn to a close after qualifying on Saturday. The highest-placed Cruze was that of sixth-placed Yvan Muller, while pole position had been claimed by Norbert Michelisz in a BMW 320 TC. The Chevrolet team bounced back on race day, however, with all three of their drivers recording podium finishes. James Nash, meanwhile, qualified an impressive fourth in a Ford Focus, but received a ten-place grid penalty for both races after failing the ride height inspection.
Tarquini and his team-mate Aleksei Dudukalo claimed a 1-2 for Lukoil Racing in Race 1, while a similar result for Chevrolet in Race 2 saw Huff finish just ahead of Muller. Huff has now closed the gap to Muller to 27 points, with Alain Menu dropping to third place in the Drivers Championship table, just a point behind Huff.
In the Yokohama Trophy there were wins for Dudukalo in Race 1 and Pepe Oriola in Race 2. Oriola now leads by 9 points from Stefano DAste, with Norbert Michelisz in third place.
The WTCC now has its shortest break between races of the entire season, with rounds 9 and 10 taking place next weekend at Budapests Hungaroring.
CORONEL GIVEN TIME PENALTY FOR RACE 1
Tom Coronel was given a 30-second time penalty on the results of the first race, as he had punted Franz Engstler off the track.
This dropped the Dutchman from eighth to 15th.
EUROPEAN TOURING CAR CUP – ROUND 3 & 4
CZECH DRIVERS SHARE VICTORIES IN SLOVAKIA
The two ETCC races at the Slovakia Ring saw the Czech drivers sharing the spoils of victory, with the SEAT León TDi of Michal Matějovský winning the first race and Petr Fulíns BMW 320si taking the honours in the second. However it was Matějovský who won the event, thanks to the qualifying points.
Their results meant that Czech Republic earned a total of 32 points in the Nations Cup and moves into a 3-point lead over Germany.
The leader of the Super 2000 category arriving in Slovakia, Fernando Monje, failed to repeat his dominant performance from the opening races in Monza and so it is Peter Rikli who leads the S2000 class by one point.
Other winners of the day were Kevin Krammes (Ford Fiesta in S1600), Andreas Pfister (SEAT León Cup in Single-Make Trophy) and Nikolay Karamyshev (Honda Civic) in Super Production.