Zandvoort, Race 3: Björk scored a second win
Team orders became a talking point at Zandvoort
Thed Björk scored his second victory of the WTCR Race of Netherlands weekend as discussions over team orders became a talking point at Zandvoort.
The Swede grabbed the lead at the start from team-mate and Pole Position man Yann Ehrlacher, then was ordered to give up his first place. Ehrlacher then led – until a decision was taken to order Björk back through to the front, a position he held to the flag for his third win of 2019.
“I had a perfect start,” said Björk. “Yann thought he had a perfect start too and wanted to be first into the first corner. But I was there and took it. I understand. We all want to be first.”
Björk had made the better getaway from the line, but Ehrlacher moved to the right to block and made contact with his team-mate, who still accelerated into the lead. But as they started lap three, the order on the radio was to “swap positions on the main straight”, and Björk obliged.
But then on lap six the team changed its mind on the incident at the start and ordered Ehrlacher to let Björk back through. The young Frenchman was clearly upset and responded emotionally, saying: “I have the weakest engine.” He eventually gave up on what would have been his first win of the season and let Björk back through on lap 11 to claim a third win of the season.
Behind the pair, Augusto Farfus looked set for his first podium finish in the FIA World Touring Car Cup, only for fellow BRC Hyundai driver and title contender Norbert Michelisz to pass him on the last lap.
Yvan Muller, who became involved in Cyan’s team orders row via the radio during the race, finished where he started in fifth having lost his Pole Position for non-compliance regarding the maximum boost pressure and the maximum engine speed values as published in the Balance of Performance chart issued for the event.
PWR Racing’s Mikel Azcona completed a strong weekend with more points in sixth, ahead of Race 2 podium finisher Johan Kristoffersson of SLR Volkswagen. Race 2 winner Esteban Guerrieri was eighth for ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, with BRC’s Gabriele Tarquini and SLR’s Rob Huff completing the top 10.
The other points finishers were local hero Nicky Catsburg in P11, ahead of Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing’s Aurélien Panis, Mehdi Bennani and Andy Priaulx. Non-finishers included Race 2 runner-up Benjamin Leuchter, whose Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR dropped out of P13 on lap 11, and Jean-Karl Vernay who pulled up on the last lap.
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