Nash celebrates first WTCC victory in near-perfect weekend

James Nash wins in Austria
James Nash wins in Austria

James Nash capped an almost perfect weekend with his first World Touring Car Championship victory on Sunday.

The Newport Pagnell racer secured a tremendous second place finish in the first race at the Salzburgring, before leading the way to the chequered flag in Race 2.

It could have been even better though. Race 1 saw a lights-to-flag victory for Yokahama Trophy rival Michel Nykjaer. But Nash’s Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet Cruze hounded him to the very end, crossing the line second ahead of the factory cars.

And Race 2 saw Nash’s dominance finally pay off as he raced away to victory. Starting on the front row alongside Norbi Michelisz, Nash beat the Hungarian to the first corner, taking the lead and racing off into a comfortable lead.

Championship leader Yvan Muller, starting back in the pack, didn’t give up though and made good ground through the order. His steady pace saw him eventually climb into third behind Nash and Michelisz. With Muller and Michelisz battling it out for the second step on the podium, it allowed Nash to extend his lead, allowing him to enjoy his victory lap at the end of the race. And the relief of taking his first win was plain for all to see.

“The victory has finally come! I had to work for it, though – Norbi Michelisz didn’t let me go and so it became a case of managing the gap and the tyres.

“Over the last few laps, with Yvan approaching pretty quickly I started to lean on my tyres and made a few errors. I’m a bit disappointed with that, but we had a big enough gap and so we were able to keep it together.

“When he passed Norbi, for the first time I looked at how many laps there were to go. I always have high expectations of myself and I know what the car is capable of.

“I’m not achieving the capabilities of the car and that’s down to me and I really need to get to grips with it.

“This win today has given the confidence to move forward and look at my ability and I know I can do it.”

Nash sits third in the WTCC championship.