After a season of promise stifled by terrible luck, rookie driver Norbert Michelisz has finally taken his maiden World Touring Car Championship win, wrapping up proceedings in the season’s final race at Macau.
The Hungarian led home fellow SEAT runner Gabriele Tarquini and Chevrolet driver Robert Huff, which resulted in the pair finishing equal second on points in the Drivers’ Championship standings. The matter was resolved in Tarquini’s favour by dint of having picked up more race wins than Huff.
Rather atypically for a SEAT in a standing start, Michelisz leapfrogged the rear-wheel-drive BMW of Race 2 polesitter Kristian Poulsen off the grid, but the race wasn’t even a lap old before the red flags were unfurled when Andrei Romanov and Nobuteru Taniguchi collided at the Police corner and blocked the circuit.
The Bamboo Engineering Chevrolets of Darryl O’Young and Yukinori Taniguchi were right behind the pile-up, and sustained race-ending damage that would end their slim hopes of taking the Independent Teams’ championship.
The race was restarted behind the Safety Car, and again Michelisz led the way, while Poulsen suffered a loss of pace and fell down the order as the laps ticked by, which allowed Sergio Hernández to take the Independents Trophy title for the second time in his WTCC career.
Up at the front, Huff was let through by Muller so he could have a crack at taking second place in the Drivers’ Championship standings, and the Briton fought his way past Augusto Farfus’ BMW before getting onto the tail of Tarquini on the final lap, but being unable to find a way past.
Muller would also find his way past a rather tail-happy Farfus, and the Brazilian would finish fifth with his rear bumper flailing off the back of his BMW.
Tom Coronel finished in sixth place, with Andy Priaulx taking a fine seventh after charging his way through the field from his lowly grid slot, brought about by his accident in the first race.
WTCC Macau Race 2 Final Classification (10 laps):
|1.||Norbert Michelisz||Zengö-Dension SEAT León TDI||54:37.415||4|
|2.||Gabriele Tarquini||SR Sport SEAT León TDI||+ 1.193||5|
|3.||Robert Huff||RML Chevrolet Cruze LT||+ 1.543||8|
|4.||Yvan Muller||RML Chevrolet Cruze LT||+ 10.886||7|
|5.||Augusto Farfus||RBM Team BMW 320si||+ 14.675||3|
|6.||Tom Coronel||SR Sport SEAT León TDI||+ 14.894||12|
|7.||Andy Priaulx||RBM Team BMW 320si||+ 15.716||22|
|8.||Tiago Monteiro||SR Sport SEAT León TDI||+ 16.360||6|
|9.||Sergio Hernández (I)||Scuderia Proteam BMW 320si||+ 20.951||11|
|10.||Franz Engstler (I)||Team Engstler BMW 320si||+ 25.099||9|
|11.||Michel Nykjær||SUNRED SEAT León TDI||+ 43.156||26^|
|12.||Mehdi Bennani (I)||Wiechers Sport BMW 320si||+ 47.302||10|
|13.||Colin Turkington||AVIVA-COFCO WSR BMW 320si||+ 61.671||27^|
|14.||Kevin Chen (I)||Scuderia Proteam BMW 320si||+ 107.235||17|
|15.||Philip Ma (I)||Jacob & Co Honda Accord Euro||+ 112.404||18|
|16.||César Campaniço (I)||Novadriver Total BMW 320si||+ 2 laps||14|
|NF||Masaki Kano (I)||Team Engstler BMW 320si||6 laps||20|
|NF||Kristian Poulsen (I)||Poulsen Motorsport BMW 320si||4 laps||1|
|NF||Joseph Merszei (I)||Team Engstler BMW 320si||3 laps||19|
|NF||Alain Menu||RML Chevrolet Cruze LT||2 laps||2|
|NF||Andrei Romanov (I)||Team Engstler BMW 320si||0 laps||15|
|NF||Nobuteru Taniguchi (I)||Scuderia Proteam BMW 320si||0 laps||16|
|NF||Yukinori Taniguchi (I)||Bamboo Chevrolet Lacetti||0 laps||13|
|NF||Fredy Barth||SUNRED SEAT León TDI||0 laps||25^|
|NF||Darryl O’Young (I)||Bamboo Chevrolet Lacetti||0 laps||23^|
|NS||Henry Ho (I)||Ho Chun Kei BMW 320si||21|
|NS||André Couto||SR Sport SEAT León TDI||24^|
^ Forced to start from the rear of the grid due to parc ferme regulations breaches
[Original images via FIA WTCC official site]