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ETCC Race 1 flash: Schreiber wins from second row



Christjohannes Schreiber made a scorching start from the second row to win the opening encounter of ETCC Race of Zolder on Sunday to secure his fourth victory of the year in the FIA European Touring Car Cup.

The Swiss driver was only fourth on the grid in his Rikli Motorsport Honda Civic, but timed his getaway to perfection to shoot into the lead into Turn 1 at the former Belgian Grand Prix circuit. From there, Schreiber was never headed to win the 13-lap race and close on points leader Petr Fulín, who failed to score.

Gearbox gremlins in qualifying had forced Czech racer Fulín to start from the back of the grid, and he was up to sixth by the end of the first lap. But further transmission problems forced the Krenek Motorsport SEAT León Cup driver out of the race after nine laps.

Igor Stefanovski looked set to claim second place in his SEAT León after pressing Schreiber hard for the lead in the early laps. As the race continued the Macedonian came under increasing pressure from Peter Rikli and pole position starter Norbert Nagy. In a dramatic climax, both passed him in one move, before Stefanovski pulled into the pits with a heavily worn front left tyre.

He’d pushed so hard in his attack for the lead and subsequent defence of second place, the top layer of rubber was completely shredded. But an eighth-place classification in the final results did at least ensure Stefanovski would start the second reverse-grid race from pole position.

Rikli ensured a Honda Civic one-two for his eponymous team, while third place was small consolation for Nagy after his disastrous start from pole. The Hungarian’s Zengő Motorsport SEAT León Cup racer bogged down off the line with engine mapping problems and was only fifth at the end of the first lap. He made up places only thanks to the problems of others ahead of him. Fábio Mota, running directly in front of him in fourth, had a grassy moment on lap eight, then Stefanovski’s late problem further promoted Nagy on to the podium.

Mota recovered to claim fourth for Lein Racing, ahead of Andreas Pfister’s SEAT León.

The result leaves Schreiber just three points behind Fulín at the top of the standings with the second reverse-grid race to follow at Zolder this afternoon.