Andy Priaulx became the fifteenth different race-winner of the 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup, giving Lynk & Co a clean sweep of the Guia Race of Macau round and denying Rob Huff a fairytale tenth victory at the iconic street circuit.
The Guernseyman, who has borne a run of bad luck in his first season of front-wheel-drive touring car racing, managed to get the jump on pole-sitter Huff from the front row of the grid and kept the SLR Volkswagen driver at arm’s length for the remainder of the race.
Huff was able to hang on to second place as the pack sprinted towards Lisboa, slotting in behind his fellow Briton and ahead of the ART Audi of Jean-Karl Vernay and fellow SLR VW driver Johan Kristoffersson.
Thed Björk was fourth ahead of sixth-placed Cyan Racing Lynk & Co teammate Yvan Muller – winner of the weekend’s two races so far – with the pair split by the BRC Racing Hyundai of Nicky Catsburg.
The top-four runners soon broke away from Björk, with the quartet repeatedly trying to slipstream each other through the fast harbourfront section of the lap. While Huff was clearly faster than Priaulx through the mountain section of the lap, the single-file twists and turns made it impossible for him to attempt a pass.
Priaulx, meanwhile, made sure he always had the better exit from the final corner to deny Huff any shot at a lunge into Lisboa. Huff was himself being kept busy by an attacking Vernay, whose team had worked frantically to remedy the engine issues that had plagued the Frenchman in Race 2.
Björk led the next train of cars, sitting comfortably in fifth place until the final lap before once again slowing under instruction from the Cyan Racing pit wall to allow Muller (and, in the process, Catsburg) to pass him so his teammate could gain a few extra points to strengthen his Drivers’ Championship ambitions.
Muller therefore finished as the best-placed of the championship contenders in sixth place – title rivals Norbert Michelisz (BRC Racing Hyundai) and Esteban Guerrieri (Münnich Motorsport Honda) were consigned to twelfth and tenth respectively.
Michelisz still leads the WTCR points standings, albeit with a reduced margin of 9 points to Guerrieri and 11 points to Muller ahead of the season-ending Race of Malaysia at Sepang next month.
|2019 FIA WTCR Guia Race of Macau – Race 3 Final Classification (11 laps)|
|Driver||Team / Entry||Laps||Result||Pts|
|1.||Andy Priaulx||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||11||27:58.428||25|
|2.||Rob Huff||SLR VW Motorsport||11||+ 0.352||20|
|3.||Jean-Karl Vernay||Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport||11||+ 1.193||16|
|4.||Johan Kristoffersson||SLR Volkswagen||11||+ 1.855||13|
|5.||Nicky Catsburg||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team||11||+ 20.030||11|
|6.||Yvan Muller||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||11||+ 21.096||10|
|7.||Thed Björk||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||11||+ 21.552||9|
|8.||Yann Ehrlacher||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||11||+ 22.194||8|
|9.||Kevin Ceccon||Team Mulsanne||11||+ 22.565||7|
|10.||Esteban Guerrieri||Münnich Motorsport||11||+ 23.506||6|
|11.||Tom Coronel||Comtoyou Team DHL Cupra Racing||11||+ 23.884||5|
|12.||Norbert Michelisz||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||11||+ 24.597||4|
|13.||Niels Langeveld||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||11||+ 25.054||3|
|14.||Luca Engstler||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team||11||+ 27.552||2|
|15.||Frédéric Vervisch||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||11||+ 27.925||1|
|16.||Attila Tassi||KCMG||11||+ 29.259|
|17.||Néstor Girolami||Münnich Motorsport||11||+ 30.140|
|18.||Mehdi Bennani||SLR VW Motorsport||11||+ 30.527|
|19.||Tiago Monteiro||KCMG||11||+ 31.317|
|20.||Mikel Azcona||PWR Racing||11||+ 31.500|
|21.||Benjamin Leuchter||SLR Volkswagen||11||+ 32.319|
|22.||Ma Qing Hua||Team Mulsanne||11||+ 34.602|
|23.||Aurélien Panis||Comtoyou Team DHL Cupra Racing||11||+ 37.051|
|24.||Robert Dahlgren||PWR Racing||11||+ 39.756|
|25.||Billy Lo Kai Fung||Tian Shi Zuver Team||11||+ 51.272|
|Not Classified||Team / Entry||Laps||Reason|
|DNF.||Gabriele Tarquini||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||3||Mechanical|
|DNS.||Gordon Shedden||Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport||Withdrawn|
|DNS.||Jim Ka To||KC Motorgroup||Withdrawn|
- The top fifteen classified finishers (excluding wildcard entries) and their respective teams are awarded championship points on a 25-20-16-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 sliding scale.
- To be advised.
Images via FIA WTCR Media