Thed Björk in close title fight after difficult WTCC Race of Argentina

Tuesday 18th July, 2017 - 8:40am

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Thed Björk secured a podium finish in the WTCC Race of Argentina to keep him in a close title fight. Polestar Cyan Racing had a tough race weekend at Circuito Termas de Río Hondo with Nicky Catsburg retiring from both races despite claiming pole position and setting a new lap record.

Thed Björk fought hard to finish sixth in the first race and climbed from fifth to third in the second race. The results keep him well within reach of the title, placed second, just 12 points from the lead.

“I am happy to claim my sixth podium of 2017 and the team has fought very hard during these tough two races. My goal ahead of the weekend was to remain within striking distance of the championship lead – something we have achieved. My ambition for the next race in China is to repeat my win from last year and climb one position in the standings,” said Thed Björk.

Former championship leader Nicky Catsburg started the weekend fastest of all by claiming pole position for the main race. But both races ended in zero points for the Dutchman who suffered a total of three punctures, dropping him to fifth in the championship.

”I am obviously gutted by this, especially after starting from pole position and having the pace to win in both races. We need to have a hard look at what happened with the tyres and it will be very tough to gain back the lost points. But the team has done a great job with the car and we have four race weekends left – I will keep fighting,” said Nicky Catsburg.

Néstor Girolami fought back from technical issues to finish sixth in the second race on his home circuit.

“I did my best but we had problems with the transmission in both races. I am sorry for my local fans that I was not able to give them a podium finish. This has been an unlucky weekend for the team in total. But I have no doubt that we will be stronger in China where I hope to be back on the podium,” said Néstor Girolami.

Four race weekends and eight race heats remain of the 2017 WTCC season, with Björk 12 points from the drivers’ championship lead and Polestar Cyan Racing eight points from the lead of the manufacturers’ championship.

“The team, Nicky, Thed and Néstor did a solid job all weekend. For sure, a few odd circumstances denied us the points we deserved. However, with the performance from this weekend, we remain assured that we have the strongest package, car and drivers of the championship. With that, we look forward to the remaining races with confidence,” said Alexander Murdzevski Schedvin, Head of Motorsport at Polestar.

WTCC Race of Argentina
Circuit: Circuito Termas de Río Hondo
Length: 4806 m
Lap record (WTCC): 1:45.899 (López)

Results
Race 1 – Top 5
1 Yann Ehrlacher Lada Vesta 11 laps
2 Mehdi Bennani Citroën C-Elysée +0.726
3 Esteban Guerrieri Chevrolet Cruze +1.326
4 Tom Chilton Citroën C-Elysée +1.573
5 Tiago Monteiro Honda Civic +1.677

6 Thed Björk Volvo S60 +2.322
DNF Néstor Girolami Volvo S60
DNF Nicky Catsburg Volvo S60

Race 2 – Top 5
1 Norbert Michelisz Honda Civic 13 laps
2 Tiago Monteiro Honda Civic +0.505
3 Thed Björk Volvo S60 +1.381
4 Esteban Guerrieri Chevrolet Cruze +6.379
5 Mehdi Bennani Citroën C-Elysée +14.281

6 Néstor Girolami Volvo S60 +14.675
16 Nicky Catsburg Volvo S60 +1 lap

Championship Standings
Drivers’ – Top 5
1 Tiago Monteiro Honda Civic 200 pts
2 Thed Björk Volvo S60 188 (-12)
3 Norbert Michelisz Honda Civic 171 (-29)
4 Mehdi Bennani Citroën C-Elysée 164 (-36)
5 Nicky Catsburg Volvo S60 159 (-41)

9 Néstor Girolami Volvo S60 68 (-132)

Manufacturers’
1 Honda 574 pts
2 Volvo 566 (-8)

Compensation weights for Argentina
Model – Time difference – Weight
Citroën C-Elysée – 0.0 sec – +80 kg
Volvo S60 Polestar – 0.2 sec – +60 kg
Honda Civic – +0.2 sec – +60 kg
Chevrolet Cruze – +0.8 sec – +0 kg
Lada Vesta +1.5 sec – +0 kg

2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship Entry List
No – Driver – Team – Car
3 – Tom Chilton – GBR – Sébastien Loeb Racing – Citroën C-Elysée
5 – Norbert Michelisz – HUN – Honda Racing Team JAS – Honda Civic
8 – Aurélien Panis – FRA – Zengő Motorsport – Honda Civic WTCC
9 – Tom Coronel – NED – ROAL Motorsport – Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1
12 – Rob Huff – GBR – Münnich Motorsport – Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
18 – Tiago Monteiro – POR – Honda Racing Team JAS – Honda Civic
22 – Manuel Fernandes – POR – RC Motorsport – Lada Vesta WTCC
24 – Kevin Gleason – USA – RC Motorsport – Lada Vesta WTCC
25 – Mehdi Bennani – MOR – Sébastien Loeb Racing – Citroën C-Elysée
27 – John Filippi – FRA – Sébastien Loeb Racing – Citroën C-Elysée
34 – Ryo Michigami – Honda Racing Team JAS – Honda Civic WTCC
61 – Néstor Girolami – ARG – Polestar Cyan Racing – Volvo S60 TC1
62 – Thed Björk – SWE – Polestar Cyan Racing – Volvo S60 TC1
63 – Nicky Catsburg – NED – Polestar Cyan Racing – Volvo S60 TC1
68 – Yann Ehrlacher – FRA – RC Motorsport – Lada Vesta WTCC
86 – Esteban Guerrieri – ARG – Campos Racing – Chevrolet Cruze TC1
99 – Daniel Nagy – HUN – Zengő Motorsport – Honda Civic WTCC

FIA World Touring Car Championship 2017 Calendar
WTCC Race of Morocco (Marrakech): 7-9 April
WTCC Race of Italy (Monza): 28-30 April
WTCC Race of Hungary (Hungaroring): 12-14 May
WTCC Race of Germany (Nürburgring Nordschleife): 25-27 May
WTCC Race of Portugal (Vila Real): 23-25 June
WTCC Race of Argentina (Termas de Río Hondo): 15-16 July
WTCC Race of China (Shanghai Ningbo Circuit): 13-15 October
WTCC Race of Japan (Twin Ring Motegi): 27-29 October
WTCC Race of Macau (Circuit de Guia): 17-19 November
WTCC Race of Qatar (Losail International Circuit): 30 November-1 December