Honda driver Norbert Michelisz claimed his second World Touring Car Championship race win of the 2017 season with victory in the Main Race at Argentina’s Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo.
The Hungarian driver lost valuable championship ground to teammate Tiago Monteiro in the earlier Opening Race when he copped a puncture, but this time he benefited from one befalling another driver.
The man in question was Polestar Cyan Racing’s Nicky Catsburg, who incredibly suffered another front-left tyre failure.
Having claimed a controversial pole position in Saturday’s qualifying session, Catsburg comfortably led off the line and left Michelisz to defend his second place from Monteiro through the opening sequence of corners.
This time at least, the two Honda drivers didn’t come together. Michelisz settled himself down and stayed close to Catsburg during the opening laps before the Dutch driver started to build a small cushion.
That came to nought, however, when his front left tyre collapsed on Lap 8 and he was forced to limp into the pits for the second time in as many races.
That gifted the lead to Michelisz, who eased his pace while Monteiro dutifully followed in tow to consolidate his championship lead as Honda claimed its second 1-2 finish of the season.
The podium was completed by Monteiro’s closest championship rival Thed Björk, who salvaged some pride for Volvo after a troubled weekend for the Swedish outfit.
The result sees Monteiro extend his lead in the Drivers’ Championship standings to 12 points over Björk, with Michelisz vaulting to third place, albeit a further 17 points adrift.
Local driver Esteban Guerrieri followed up his Opening Race podium with fourth place in his Campos Racing Chevrolet, ahead of Sébastien Loeb Racing teammates Mehdi Bennani and Tom Chilton who were split by the second Volvo of Néstor Girolami.
Opening Race winner Yann Ehrlacher finished eighth in his RC Motorsport LADA, defending from Rob Huff’s Citroën in the closing laps.
|2017 FIA WTCC Race of Argentina – Main Race Final Classification (13 laps)|
|1.||Norbert Michelisz||Castrol Honda WTCC Team Civic WTCC||22:39.375||MF|
|2.||Tiago Monteiro||Castrol Honda WTCC Team Civic WTCC||+ 0.505||MF|
|3.||Thed Björk||Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 TC1||+ 1.381||MF|
|4.||Esteban Guerrieri||Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze||+ 6.379||IND|
|5.||Mehdi Bennani||Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée||+ 14.281||IND|
|6.||Néstor Girolami||Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 TC1||+ 14.675||MF|
|7.||Tom Chilton||Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée||+ 20.386||IND|
|8.||Yann Ehrlacher||RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC||+ 20.750||IND|
|9.||Rob Huff||Münnich Motorsport Citroën C-Elysée||+ 20.999||IND|
|10.||Tom Coronel||ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze||+ 21.983||IND|
|11.||Ryo Michigami||Honda Racing Team JAS Civic WTCC||+ 22.361||MF|
|12.||John Filippi||Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée||+ 22.989||IND|
|13.||Kevin Gleason||RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC||+ 26.701||IND|
|14.||Dániel Nagy||Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC||+ 39.996||IND|
|15.||Zsolt David Szabo||Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC||+ 40.437||IND|
|16.||Nick Catsburg||Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 TC1||+ 1 lap||MF|
Image via FIA WTCC Media