Yvan Muller Racing has secured a clean sweep of the FIA World Touring Car Cup round at China’s Ningbo International Speedpark, with Thed Björk claiming his second win of the weekend following his victory in Saturday’s opening race and a win for teammate Yvan Muller in Race 2.

The customer Hyundai team has dominated the weekend and after topping every practice and qualifying session its rout of victories simply served to underscore the outfit’s supreme pace.

There was drama before the race as local driver Ma Qing Hua’s Honda was withdrawn by Boutsen Ginion Racing stemming from his last-lap hit on Yann Ehrlacher’s Münnich Motorsport Honda in the preceding race. Ma’s car was ruled out with a damaged turbo, while Ehrlacher was forced to start the race from the pit lane to allow his mechanics time above the brief repair window schedule to fix his battered car.

Having qualified on pole, Björk led away from the sister Hyundais of BRC Racing Team duo Norbert Michelisz and Gabriele Tarquini. The latter was quickly passed by Esteban Guerrieri’s Münnich Motorsport Honda, but the Argentine was rather too optimistic with a subsequent overtaking attempt on Michelisz.

The pair made contact, leaving Guerrieri with terminally damaged suspension. Michelisz dropped behind teammate Tarquini and the Comtoyou Racing Audi of Denis Dupont.

Dupont’s teammate Frédéric Vervisch was on an early charge in what was proving to be a competitive weekend for the four-car Belgian outfit. The French youngster passed his compatriot Yvan Muller for sixth, with Audi stablemate Jean-Karl Vernay attempting to follow him through the gap he had created.

Muller shut the door and made contact with the WRT Audi driver, with both dropping positions as a result of the clash. Muller would later retire with a puncture, possibly stemming from the incident.

The race was then suspended and red-flagged after one of the DG Sport Peugeots broke the kerbs at Turn 16. The broken kerbs were replaced with a tyre stack so the race could be resumed and once again it was Vervisch who was moving forward. He overtook Rob Huff’s SLR Volkswagen to claim fifth place and then hunted down and overtook Michelisz’s Hyundai for fourth on the penultimate lap.

Huff was left to fend off the third Comtoyou Audi of Nathanaël Berthon, but Berthon would run wide in his attempts to pass the Briton and lost a spot to Campos Racing’s Pepe Oriola. Berthon finished eighth ahead of teammate Aurélien Panis – meaning all four Comtoyou Audis finished in the points for the second race running – with Huff’s teammate Mehdi Bennani rounding out the top ten.

Having entered the weekend sixth in the overall standings, Björk’s superb run of results promotes him to second overall in the Drivers’ Championship standings, while Tarquini reclaims the lead at the top of the standings courtesy of Muller’s DNF. The top three are covered by just nine points, with the battle for WTCR title honours set to resume next weekend on the Wuhan street circuit.

2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup Race of China Ningbo – Race 3 Final Classification (17 laps)
Driver Team Laps Result Pts
1. Thed Björk MRacing – YMR 17 54:20.993 30
2. Gabriele Tarquini it BRC Racing Team 17 + 1.928 23
3. Denis Dupont be Comtoyou Racing 17 + 4.020 19
4. Frédéric Vervisch be Audi Sport Team Comtoyou 17 + 7.235 16
5. Norbert Michelisz BRC Racing Team 17 + 8.855 13
6. Rob Huff Sébastien Loeb Racing 17 + 10.572 10
7. Pepe Oriola es Team OSCARO by Campos Racing 17 + 11.061 7
8. Nathanaël Berthon Comtoyou Racing 17 + 12.118 4
9. Aurélien Panis Comtoyou Racing 17 + 12.871 2
10. Mehdi Bennani Sébastien Loeb Racing 17 + 13.737 1
11. Timo Scheider ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport 17 + 14.229
12. Jean-Karl Vernay Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team 17 + 14.678
13. Gordon Shedden Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team 17 + 15.620
14. Kevin Ceccon it Mulsanne SRL 17 + 19.862
15. Norbert Nagy Zengõ Motorsport 10 + 20.316
16. Aurélien Comte DG Sport Compétition 17 + 21.229
17. Tom Coronel Boutsen Ginion Racing 17 + 23.155
18. Mat’o Homola DG Sport Compétition 17 + 25.605
19. Yann Ehrlacher ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport 17 + 26.370
20. John Filippi Team OSCARO by Campos Racing 16 + 1 lap
21. Zsolt Dávid Szabó Zengõ Motorsport 16 + 1 lap
Not Classified Team Laps Reason
DNF. Yvan Muller MRacing – YMR 8 Puncture
DNF. Fabrizio Giovanardi it Mulsanne SRL 2 Retired
DNF. Esteban Guerrieri ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport 1 Collision
DNS. Ma Qing Hua cn Boutsen Ginion Racing Turbo

* Post-Race Penalties:

  • None

Images via FIA WTCR 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.