Norbert Michelisz has kept his FIA WTCC title hopes alive by claiming victory in Sunday’s Main Race at Twin Ring Motegi, which was halted by officials at three-quarters distance.

The Hungarian started his Honda from pole position and led the Volvos of Nicky Catsburg and Néstor Girolami for two reconnaissance laps behind the Safety Car before the green flag was waved on Lap 3.

Championship leader Thed Björk made the first critical overtaking move of the race at the end of the first green-flagged lap, passing the Honda of Ryo Michigami for fifth place.

The Japanese driver tried to re-pass the Swede, but only succeeded in making light contact with his Volvo S60. Michigami’s race would soon end when he slid off track into the Turn 9 gravel.

The rain continued to fall more heavily, prompting drivers to take a more cautious approach. Despite this, Opening Race winner Tom Chilton spun his Citroën out of eighth place at Turn 9 and lost two places.

The Race Director called the Safety Car back into action on Lap 7 and it remained on track until Lap 10 before the race was stopped as conditions showed no sign of improving.

Michelisz was therefore declared the winner ahead of Catsburg and Girolami. With 75% of the scheduled race distance completed, full points were awarded. The Hungarian therefore moves into second place in the Drivers’ Championship standings, 16.5 points behind Björk, with Catsburg a further 19 points adrift.

The penultimate round of the 2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship takes place on November 18-19, with the series making a popular return to the streets of Macau.


2017 FIA WTCC Race of Japan – Main Race Final Classification (9 laps)
Driver Team Result Cat
1. Norbert Michelisz Castrol Honda WTCC Team Civic WTCC 22:17.924 MF
2. Nick Catsburg Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 TC1 volvo + 0.392 MF
3. Néstor Girolami Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 TC1 volvo + 1.798 MF
4. Esteban Guerrieri Castrol Honda WTCC Team Civic WTCC + 3.306 MF
5. Thed Björk Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 TC1 volvo + 5.554 MF
6. Mehdi Bennani Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée + 6.196 IND
7. Yann Ehrlacher RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC + 7.063 IND
8. Kevin Gleason RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC + 7.537 IND
9. John Filippi Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée + 7.911 IND
10. Tom Chilton Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée + 8.764 IND
11. Rob Huff Münnich Motorsport Citroën C-Elysée + 9.633 IND
12. Kris Richard Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze + 11.544 IND
13. Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze + 12.472 IND
14. Dániel Nagy Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC + 13.254 IND
15. Filipe de Souza RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC + 14.899 IND
16. Zsolt David Szabó Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC + 16.640 IND
Not Classified
DNF. Ryo Michigami Honda Racing Team JAS Civic WTCC Spin MF

Post-Race Penalties:

  • None

Image via FIA WTCC Media

The following two tabs change content below.

Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

Latest posts by Richard Bailey (see all)

Share