Benjamin Lessennes scored a strong fifth place on the first day of WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup racing at the Slovakia Ring near Bratislava.

The Belgian started third on the partially-reversed grid and, after losing positions at the start, made up several places during the first half of the race to take his third top-five finish of 2018 for Boutsen Ginion Racing. He climbed from 23rd on the Race-One grid to 20th by the chequered flag.

His team-mate Tom Coronel started Race One from a season’s-best sixth place after an impressive run in qualifying and followed that up with seventh in the race – equalling his best result of 2018.

Unfortunately, a damper issue on the Race Two formation lap prevented him from taking the start and adding to his points total for the day.

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport driver Yann Ehrlacher maintained his third place in the Drivers’ Championship with a hard-fought sixth place in Race One.

The Frenchman agonisingly missed out on a spot in Q2 later in the day by just three hundredths of a second, meaning he qualified 13th. From there, he made up three positions to finish Race Two in 10th.

His team-mate Esteban Guerrieri was an impressive third-fastest in qualifying, which put him eighth on Race Two’s partially-reversed grid. After being forced to race with his qualifying set-up, he found the balance of the Civic Type R TCR was not ideal and finished ninth.

In the earlier race, which he started from sixth, opening-lap contact from a rival driver broke a left-rear toe-link and necessitated a pitstop for repairs, which dropped him out of contention.

The results from Race Two remain provisional pending the result of protests lodged by ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport and Boutsen Ginion Racing against exclusion from Saturday qualifying due to what were deemed to be incorrect boost pressures on all three cars.

Benjamin Lessennes

Benjamin Lessennes 63

“Fifth place is a strong result; one of the best I’ve achieved in the WTCR. Of course, when you start third, you’re aiming for the podium and it’s a bit disappointing that I couldn’t achieve this. I was pushed out wide at the first corner, lost a lot of momentum and dropped four places, so that made the challenge a bit bigger. I was able to overtake two cars in one lap, manage my tyres so I still had grip at the end, and find a good balance. In Race One, starting from 23rd meant points were never going to be achievable, but I made up some places and we found some useful steps we could take for qualifying and Race Two.”

Boutsen Ginion Racing
Tom Coronel

Tom Coronel 9

“Sixth place is my best qualifying position of the season and seventh in Race One equals my best finish in 2018 too. Right from FP1, when I was fastest, the balance of the car and the speed has felt like a step forward from previous races, which is very positive. In second qualifying I focused on getting good corner exits and probably wasn’t aggressive enough on the entries. I lost some time and with the session being so tight, I ended up 18th. Then I had a clip come out of a damper on the warm-up lap and couldn’t start the race. Tomorrow’s another day and I’m looking forward to it.”

Boutsen Ginion Racing
Yann Ehrlacher

Yann Ehrlacher 68

“I was hoping for more from today, but sixth and 10th still means I’ve scored enough points to keep me third in the championship. Qualifying was pretty unlucky. I had cars either get in my way or make a mistake right in front of me on each of my fast laps, which meant I lost the chance to improve. Even then, my Q1 lap was only one tenth off fourth place, and I ended up 13th! It was hard to overtake on the track because in the conditions we’re in currently, there are some cars with some very high top speeds, and these are tough to race against.”

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
Esteban Guerrieri

Esteban Guerrieri 86

“The Honda was extremely strong in qualifying trim. I felt confident to push all the time and a spot on the second row is exactly what was needed, so that’s good for tomorrow’s race. In Race One I was really unlucky because I had some contact on the first lap that broke my left-rear toe-link and that was that, so we lost the chance to see what the car was like running in the pack. When I was right behind another car, the loss of downforce really affected the balance and it wasn’t possible to make any progress.”

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
Olivia Boutsen

Olivia Boutsen

Team Manager

“We’ve scored a fifth and a seventh place today, which is pretty good points for the team and for Benjamin and Tom. Benjamin lost track time in practice, so to have this level of pace today shows what a good job he’s done with his crew. I think with two more laps, he would have been even higher up in Race Two because he’d kept his tyres in a much better condition than the cars ahead of him. I’m sorry that Tom couldn’t start Race 3, because he showed good pace in Race One to equal his best finish of the season.”

Boutsen Ginion Racing
Dominik Greiner

Dominik Greiner

Team Manager

“Pace-wise, we’re pretty pleased with what the cars were capable of today. Esteban’s qualifying performance was very strong. Unfortunately, because we only got the car back from Parc Ferme 15 minutes before the pre-grid, we were not able to change his set-up and this affected his race performance. Yann’s sixth place was strong this morning in Race One and he finished three places higher than he started Race Two, which is also good progress. We look forward to tomorrow.”

ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
Mads Fischer

Mads Fischer

TCR Project Leader, JAS Motorsport

“The performance of the cars this weekend has been solid and some useful points have been scored. Both teams have worked incredibly hard to find extra pace, Esteban did a very good job to qualify third for tomorrow’s third race, and I’m particularly happy to see Tom Coronel get his best qualifying result of the year. In the conditions we’re facing this weekend, some cars are much faster than we’re used to seeing and this has affected the results the Honda Civic Type R TCR could achieve today.”

JAS Motorsport
WTCR Race of Slovakia

Slovakia Ring, Slovakia

WTCR 2018, Round 6

Saturday 14 Jul 2018, 18:49 Europe/London
# Driver Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Gabriele Tarquini 30 ITA 25 BRC Racing Team Hyundai 9 laps
2 Norbert Nagy 8 HUN 20 Zengo Motorsport Cupra +2.150
3 Yvan Muller 48 FRA 16 YMR Hyundai +3.354
4 Pepe Oriola 74 SPA 13 Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra +4.750
5 Benjamin Lessennes 63 BEL 11 Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda +5.313
6 John Filippi 27 FRA 10 Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra +5.892
7 Norbert Michelisz 5 HUN 9 BRC Racing Team Hyundai +5.895
8 Frederic Vervisch 22 BEL 8 Audi Sport Team Comtoyou Audi +13.578
9 Esteban Guerrieri 86 ARG 7 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +14.194
10 Yann Ehrlacher 68 FRA 6 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +14.540
11 Thed Björk 11 SWE 5 YMR Hyundai +14.851
12 Kevin Ceccon 31 ITA 4 Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo +15.084
13 Nathanael Berthon 23 FRA 3 Comtoyou Racing Audi +15.300
14 Aurelien Comte 7 AND 2 DG Sport Competition Peugeot +18.201
15 Fabrizio Giovanardi 88 ITA 1 Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo +18.330
16 Zsolt Szabo 66 HUN 0 Zengo Motorsport Cupra +20.283
17 Gordon Shedden 52 GBR 0 Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi +21.177
18 Mato Homola 70 SLK 0 DG Sport Competition Peugeot +21.606
19 Denis Dupont 20 BEL 0 Audi Sport Team Comtoyou Audi +28.527
20 Andrej Studenic 17 SLO 0 Brutal Fish Racing Team Volkswagen +28.904
21 Petr Fulin 44 CZE 0 Fullin Race Academy Cupra +1 lap
22 Mehdi Bennani 25 MAR 0 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen +DNF
23 Rob Huff 12 GBR 0 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen +DNF
24 Aurélien Panis 21 FRA 0 Comtoyou Racing Audi +DNF
25 Jean-Karl Vernay 69 FRA 0 Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi +DNF
26 Tom Coronel 9 NDL 0 Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda +DNS
Saturday 14 Jul 2018, 15:13 Europe/London
# Driver Num Nationality Nat. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Norbert Michelisz 5 HUN BRC Racing Team Hyundai 2:10.340
2 Aurelien Comte 7 AND DG Sport Competition Peugeot +2:10.577
3 Esteban Guerrieri 86 ARG ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +2:11.078
4 Yvan Muller 48 FRA YMR Hyundai +2:11.100
5 John Filippi 27 FRA Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra +2:11.631
6 Pepe Oriola 74 SPA Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra +2:11.101
7 Frederic Vervisch 22 BEL Audi Sport Team Comtoyou Audi +2:11.101
8 Benjamin Lessennes 63 BEL Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda +2:11.143
9 Gabriele Tarquini 30 ITA BRC Racing Team Hyundai +2:11.150
10 Norbert Nagy 8 HUN Zengo Motorsport Cupra +2:11.197
11 Nathanael Berthon 23 FRA Comtoyou Racing Audi +2:11.255
12 Jean-Karl Vernay 69 FRA Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi +2:11.433
13 Yann Ehrlacher 68 FRA ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +2:11.186
14 Kevin Ceccon 31 ITA Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo +2:11.198
15 Fabrizio Giovanardi 88 ITA Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo +2:11.268
16 Aurélien Panis 21 FRA Comtoyou Racing Audi +2:11.279
17 Petr Fulin 44 CZE Fullin Race Academy Cupra +2:11.326
18 Tom Coronel 9 NDL Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda +2:11,624
19 Thed Björk 11 SWE YMR Hyundai +2:11.685
20 Mato Homola 70 SLK DG Sport Competition Peugeot +2:11.801
21 Zsolt Szabo 66 HUN Zengo Motorsport Cupra +2:11.813
22 Gordon Shedden 52 GBR Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi +2:12.028
23 Denis Dupont 20 BEL Audi Sport Team Comtoyou Audi +2:12.169
24 Mehdi Bennani 25 MAR Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen +2:12.197
25 Rob Huff 12 GBR Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen +2:12.375
26 Andrej Studenic 17 SLO Brutal Fish Racing Team Volkswagen +2:13.666
Saturday 14 Jul 2018, 11:37 Europe/London
# Driver Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Pepe Oriola 74 SPA 25 Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra 11 laps
2 Jean-Karl Vernay 69 FRA 20 Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi +1.734
3 Gabriele Tarquini 30 ITA 16 BRC Racing Team Hyundai +2.374
4 Aurelien Comte 7 AND 13 DG Sport Competition Peugeot +5.525
5 Fabrizio Giovanardi 88 ITA 11 Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo +5.773
6 Yann Ehrlacher 68 FRA 10 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +7.357
7 Tom Coronel 9 NDL 9 Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda +7.725
8 Denis Dupont 20 BEL 8 Audi Sport Team Comtoyou Audi +8.190
9 Aurélien Panis 21 FRA 7 Comtoyou Racing Audi +8.993
10 Nathanael Berthon 23 FRA 6 Comtoyou Racing Audi +9.813
11 Norbert Nagy 8 HUN 5 Zengo Motorsport Cupra +11.517
12 Yvan Muller 48 FRA 4 YMR Hyundai +12.383
13 Thed Björk 11 SWE 3 YMR Hyundai +12.594
14 Mato Homola 70 SLK 2 DG Sport Competition Peugeot +13.395
15 Petr Fulin 44 CZE 1 Fullin Race Academy Cupra +13.767
16 Kevin Ceccon 31 ITA 0 Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo +14.019
17 Gordon Shedden 52 GBR 0 Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi +15.569
18 John Filippi 27 FRA 0 Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra +15.856
19 Rob Huff 12 GBR 0 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen +22.247
20 Benjamin Lessennes 63 BEL 0 Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda +22.917
21 Mehdi Bennani 25 MAR 0 Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen +24.338
22 Andrej Studenic 17 SLO 0 Brutal Fish Racing Team Volkswagen +24.575
23 Norbert Michelisz 5 HUN 0 BRC Racing Team Hyundai +1 lap
24 Zsolt Szabo 66 HUN 0 Zengo Motorsport Cupra +2 laps
25 Esteban Guerrieri 86 ARG 0 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda +4 laps
26 Frederic Vervisch 22 BEL 0 Audi Sport Team Comtoyou Audi +DNF
Friday 13 Jul 2018, 17:40 Europe/London
# Driver Num Nationality Nat. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Gabriele Tarquini 30 ITA BRC Racing Team Hyundai 2:09.464
2 Norbert Michelisz 5 HUN BRC Racing Team Hyundai 2:09.664
3 Yvan Muller 48 FRA YMR Hyundai 2:10.281
4 Aurelien Comte 7 AND DG Sport Competition Peugeot 2:10.326
5 Pepe Oriola 74 SPA Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra 2:10.475
6 Esteban Guerrieri 86 ARG ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda 2:10.487
7 Thed Björk 11 SWE YMR Hyundai 2:10.552
8 Jean-Karl Vernay 69 FRA Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi 2:10.565
9 Tom Coronel 9 NDL Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda 2:10.752
10 Yann Ehrlacher 68 FRA ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda 2:10.870
11 Mato Homola 70 SLK DG Sport Competition Peugeot 2:11.030
12 Aurélien Panis 21 FRA Comtoyou Racing Audi 2:11.170
13 Denis Dupont 20 BEL Audi Sport Team Comtoyou Audi 2:11.199
14 Nathanael Berthon 23 FRA Comtoyou Racing Audi 2:11.230
15 Fabrizio Giovanardi 88 ITA Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 2:11.284
16 Benjamin Lessennes 63 BEL Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda 2:11.368
17 Frederic Vervisch 22 BEL Audi Sport Team Comtoyou Audi 2:11.414
18 Norbert Nagy 8 HUN Zengo Motorsport Cupra 2:11.514
19 Petr Fulin 44 CZE Fullin Race Academy Cupra 2:11.516
20 Gordon Shedden 52 GBR Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi 2:11.646
21 Kevin Ceccon 31 ITA Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 2:11.676
22 Zsolt Szabo 66 HUN Zengo Motorsport Cupra 2:11.808
23 Rob Huff 12 GBR Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 2:11.843
24 Mehdi Bennani 25 MAR Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 2:12.366
25 Andrej Studenic 17 SLO Brutal Fish Racing Team Volkswagen 2:13.529
26 John Filippi 27 FRA Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra No time