Volvo’s Thed Björk is the 2017 FIA World Touring Car Champion. The Swedish driver finished in fourth place in the Main Race of the season-ending round in Qatar to clinch the Drivers’ Championship title, while Honda stand-in Esteban Guerrieri claimed victory in the race.
Guerrier led the field away from pole position, chased by Münnich Motorsport driver Rob Huff who managed to leap ahead of Volvo’s Nicky Catsburg at the start.
The battle for the WTCC Trophy title for non-manufacturer drivers was resolved on the opening lap when title contender Mehdi Bennani came together with Volvo’s Yvan Muller. The contact saw Bennani – who was just 1.5 points behind teammate Tom Chilton in the points standings – slide down the order and eventually retiring with a puncture.
Muller’s car was also damaged in the incident and the Frenchman lost sixth place to the Campos Racing Chevrolet of Kris Richard. That put the former WTCC champion right ahead of Norbert Michelisz, who gained three places after the start to move into eighth place.
Michelisz would need a miracle to overhaul Björk’s 16.5-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship standings, and Muller played the perfect defensive role to help Björk by keeping the Honda driver at bay.
Up at the front of the field, Michelisz’s teammate Guerrieri could do nothing to help his teammate and cruised serenely to victory ahead of Huff, while Nicky Catsburg completed the podium in his Polestar Volvo.
Catsburg briefly handed third place to Björk during the race to aid his teammate’s quest for a maiden championship title, but when the Swede’s position was assured he returned the position to Catsburg on the final lap.
|2017 FIA WTCC Race of Qatar – Main Race Final Classification (12 laps)|
|1.||Esteban Guerrieri||Castrol Honda WTCC Team Civic WTCC||24:43.996||MF|
|2.||Rob Huff||Münnich Motorsport Citroën C-Elysée||+ 3.708||IND|
|3.||Nick Catsburg||Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 TC1||+ 7.319||MF|
|4.||Thed Björk||Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 TC1||+ 7.466||MF|
|5.||Tom Chilton||Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée||+ 8.785||IND|
|6.||Kris Richard||Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze||+ 10.589||IND|
|7.||Yvan Muller||Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 TC1||+ 11.459||MF|
|8.||Norbert Michelisz||Castrol Honda WTCC Team Civic WTCC||+ 12.023||MF|
|9.||John Filippi||Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée||+ 15.942||IND|
|10.||Ryo Michigami||Honda Racing Team JAS Civic WTCC||+ 22.140||MF|
|11.||Tom Coronel||ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze||+ 22.769||IND|
|12.||Yann Ehrlacher||RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC||+ 24.275||IND|
|13.||Dániel Nagy||Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC||+ 30.126||IND|
|14.||Kevin Gleason||RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC||+ 34.895||IND|
|15.||Zsolt Dávid Szabó||Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC||+ 48.988||IND|
|DNF.||Mehdi Bennani||Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée||Puncture||IND|
Image via FIA WTCC Media