Mehdi Bennani claimed victory in the Opening Guia Race of Macau, which was red-flagged on the penultimate lap after championship contender Norbert Michelisz triggered a multi-car pile-up.

Starting his Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën from a reversed-grid pole position, Bennani outdragged Tom Coronel off the start line and led the field on the long sprint to the Lisboa corner to claim a lead he wouldn’t lose.

Coronel slotted into second place ahead of Honda’s Ryo Michigami, while championship leader Thed Björk managed to get his Polestar Volvo in front of Kevin Gleason’s RC Motorsport LADA.

2017 FIA WTCC Guia Race of Macau - Opening Race start

Reversed-grid pole sitter Bennani got the jump on Coronel to claim victory in the red-flagged Opening Race.

Gleason tried valiantly to defend against the chasing Hondas of Michelisz and teammate Esteban Guerrieri, but was eased aside by the two Hondas on the second lap. The American equally had no response to the two Citroëns of Main Race pole winner Rob Huff and SLR’s Tom Chilton, who both got by, along with Volvo’s Nicky Catsburg.

Huff and Chilton were quickly able to close in on the Hondas of Michelisz and Guerrieri, but on the penultimate lap Michelisz slid wide on the cement dust at Police which was left after a huge crash in the earlier GT race.

The Hungarian slapped the wall and was T-boned by Guerrieri; Huff and Chilton had no time to respond and joined the fracas. The narrow section of track was completely blocked, forcing officials to unfurl the red flags. The race was declared on a two-lap countback, with Bennani declared the winner ahead of Coronel.

Ryo Michigami celebrated becoming the first Japanese driver to claim a WTCC podium by finishing third ahead of Björk, who marginally extended his Drivers’ Championship advantage to 16.5 points over Michelisz, who was classified in fifth.

Björk’s teammate Catsburg is third, a further 14.5 points adrift, while Bennani’s race win vaults him to fourth overall (-33.5 points) and mathematically in contention for overall title honours.


2017 FIA WTCC Guia Race of Macau – Opening Race Final Classification (5 laps)
Driver Team Result Cat
1. Mehdi Bennani Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée 12:26.832 IND
2. Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze + 1.952 IND
3. Ryo Michigami Honda Racing Team JAS Civic WTCC + 3.265 MF
4. Thed Björk Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 TC1 volvo + 3.627 MF
5. Norbert Michelisz Castrol Honda WTCC Team Civic WTCC + 4.577 MF
6. Esteban Guerrieri Castrol Honda WTCC Team Civic WTCC + 5.379 MF
7. Rob Huff Münnich Motorsport Citroën C-Elysée + 6.635 IND
8. Tom Chilton Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée + 8.068 IND
9. Nick Catsburg Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 TC1 volvo + 10.688 MF
10. Kevin Gleason RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC + 12.040 IND
11. John Filippi Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée + 13.946 IND
12. Yann Ehrlacher RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC + 14.592 IND
13. Néstor Girolami Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 TC1 volvo + 18.512 MF
14. Ma Qing Hua Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée + 18.683 IND
15. Dániel Nagy Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC + 25.074 IND
16. Zsolt David Szabó Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC + 37.025 IND
17. Mak Ka Lok RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC + 46.075 IND
18. Po Wah Wong Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze + 2:00.220 IND

Post-Race Penalties:

  • None

Image via FIA WTCC Media

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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.

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