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WTCC Hungaroring: Bennani takes first 2017 win after Huff penalty

Mehdi Bennani wins Hungaroring WTCC 2017

Mehdi Bennani took his first World Touring Car Championship victory of 2017 in the second race at the Hungaroring, as polesitter Rob Huff was handed a penalty for contact.

Sebastien Loeb Racing driver Bennani took the lead at the start and despite briefly relinquishing that advantage to Huff after an early safety car, it proved to be inconsequential as Huff was forced to serve a drive-through penalty for a first lap incident.

Bennani duly managed the gap back to Nicky Catsburg over the remainder of the race to snatch his first win since the Qatar season finale last year.

Huff tried to squeeze across to the right at the start of the race but could not prevent Bennani from taking the lead, while the Volvos of Catsburg and Nestor Girolami were also able to squirrel up the Briton's inside on the run to Turn 1.

Munnich Motorsport man Huff then braked late into Turn 2 but ran into the back of Catsburg, forcing the Dutchman into the side of team-mate Girolami who stopped on the outside of the corner as a result.

That necessitated the appearance of the safety car for two laps but as the race resumed Huff was hit with a penalty for the Turn 2 incident and, despite briefly taking the lead back from Bennani with a fine move at Turn 9, was forced to dive into the pits at the end of lap four.

Mehdi Bennani wins Hungaroring WTCC 2017

That left Catsburg chasing Bennani at the front, but despite initial warnings about his Citroen C-Elysee's brakes Moroccan Bennani gradually edged away at the front from the Volvo - laden with 80 kilograms of success ballast.

Catsburg did come back at the Sebastien Loeb Racing driver in the closing laps but could not offer a real challenge and eventually finished 0.654 seconds behind Bennani, who became the fifth different winner from six races at the start of the 2017 season.

Bennani's SLR team-mate Tom Chilton jumped Honda's Norbert Michelisz at the start of the race and inherited third as a result of the Turn 1 altercation and Huff's subsequent penalty, a position he held to the finish to deny Hungarian Michelisz a home podium.

Michelisz's Honda team-mate Tiago Monteiro finished a comfortable fifth to consolidate his championship lead, the Portuguese backing up his race one victory with further points having started the main affair from ninth.

Esteban Guerrieri had started the race form third but dropped back off the line and finished sixth in his Campos Racing Chevrolet Cruze, ahead of the third Volvo S60 Polestar of Thed Bjork.

Yann Ehrlacher again finished a lonely eighth, while Huff's recovery drive was limited to 10th as he tailed ROAL Motorsport driver Tom Coronel over the line.

RESULT - 17 LAPS:

PosDriverTeamCarGap
1Mehdi BennaniSebastien Loeb RacingCitroen33m21.822s
2Nicky CatsburgPolestar Cyan RacingVolvo0.654s
3Tom ChiltonSebastien Loeb RacingCitroen3.553s
4Norbert MicheliszHonda Racing Team JASHonda7.309s
5Tiago MonteiroHonda Racing Team JASHonda9.532s
6Esteban GuerrieriCampos RacingChevrolet10.875s
7Thed BjorkPolestar Cyan RacingVolvo11.865s
8Yann EhrlacherRC MotorsportLada14.547s
9Tom CoronelROAL MotorsportChevrolet20.783s
10Rob HuffMunnich MotorsportCitroen21.212s
11John FilippiSebastien Loeb RacingCitroen28.110s
12Kevin GleasonRC MotorsportLada31.760s
13Ryo MichigamiHonda Racing Team JASHonda36.852s
14Aurelien PanisZengo MotorsportHonda51.021s
-Daniel NagyZengo MotorsportHondaRetirement
-Nestor GirolamiPolestar Cyan RacingVolvoRetirement

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

PosDriverPoints
1Tiago Monteiro123
2Nicky Catsburg85
3Tom Chilton81
4Thed Bjork77
5Mehdi Bennani73
6Rob Huff65
7Esteban Guerrieri62
8Norbert Michelisz62
9Nestor Girolami52
10Tom Coronel20
11Yann Ehrlacher10
12John Filippi7
13Kevin Gleason2
14Aurelien Panis2
15Daniel Nagy1
16Ryo Michigami1


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