Macau WTCC: Rob Huff wins wild finale

Rob Huff claimed his sixth victory on the streets of Macau in a World Touring Car Championship finale that swung from chaotic to dangerous

Macau WTCC: Rob Huff wins wild finale

Just 15 of the 33 cars finished a race that was punctuated by two huge melees and two subsequent stoppages, but which did at least conclude with a fantastic - and clean - fight for the lead.

Nine drivers are under investigation for their roles in the clashes.

Watch Macau video clips on the AUTOSPORT WTCC page

The carnage started at Turn 1 where, from a standing start, Norbert Michelisz tagged Tom Chilton, damaged his car and ended up spearing into the outside wall.

The Hungarian's stricken Zengo Honda bounced back into the oncoming pack, precipitating chaos as cars flew into each other and the surrounding walls, ruling out seven drivers immediately.

After a lengthy delay the race restarted under the safety car and with the grid reset to its original position - a welcome reprieve for the likes of James Thompson and Chilton, who had originally dropped back, but equally effectively a punishment for those like Tiago Monteiro who had gained ground.

Coronel once again protected his lead at the restart, heading up a train of cars comprising Thompson, Chilton and James Nash - the latter pair being separated by just one point in the fight for third in the championship.

Chilton gained the advantage in that scrap when he picked off Nash through Mandarin on the restart, with Huff also getting by Alex MacDowall in a four-way fight down to Lisboa.

Immediately behind Monteiro and Yvan Muller collided at San Francisco. The latter hit the wall but was able to continue, while the former - who went from eighth to fourth at the original start - retired with damage.

AUTOSPORT's Macau blog

The race settled into something resembling calm by lap five - the third after the restart - only to explode when Chilton suddenly faded with exhaust damage. As he crawled around Maternity, he was hit by Eurico de Jesus, who ended up parked sideways across the track.

The frontrunners were just about able to slow down as they happened upon the scene next time around, but as they backed up those behind exercised less caution, with Franz Engstler and then Filipe de Souza ploughing into the bottleneck.

The scene was repeated behind as Joseph Rosa-Merszei and Michael Soong hit the slowing Yukinori Taniguchi and slid into the pack.

The reds once again flew and another lengthy stoppage followed, which did at least grant teams time to repair the damage suffered in the pile-up - Muller for example lost his rear left, but was able to continue for the final restart.

Coronel still held the advantage this time, but Huff came to the fore as he picked off Thompson and then the Dutchman in quick succession to move into a lead he would not relinquish.

There was yet more drama when Oriola nerfed Thompson at the left-hander before Maternity while fighting for third.

The Spaniard, who clashed with Chilton in race one, went on to pick off Coronel and claim second, but is one of the nine under official review.

Nash and MacDowall rounded out the top five, with Muller diving by Marc Basseng on the final time through San Francisco to steal sixth.

Results - 11 laps (inc two red flags):

Pos  Driver               Team/Car                    Time/Gap
 1.  Rob Huff             Munnich SEAT            1h23m32.152s
 2.  Pepe Oriola          Tuenti Chevrolet             +0.723s
 3.  Tom Coronel          ROAL BMW                     +1.173s
 4.  James Nash           Bamboo Chevrolet             +2.909s
 5.  Alex MacDowall       Bamboo Chevrolet             +3.428s
 6.  Yvan Muller          RML Chevrolet                +4.642s
 7.  Marc Basseng         Munnich SEAT                 +5.665s
 8.  Franz Engstler       Engstler BMW                +18.982s
 9.  Gabriele Tarquini    Honda                       +30.963s
10.  Henry Ho             Engstler BMW                +47.079s
11.  Celio Alves Dias     China Dragon Chevrolet      +48.255s
12.  Ng Kin Veng          China Dragon Chevrolet      +58.652s
13.  Lam Kam San          China Dragon Chevrolet      +58.921s
14.  Mak Ka Lok           RPM BMW                   +1m00.680s
15.  Filipe de Souza      China Dragon Chevrolet    +1m34.078s

Retirements:

     James Thompson       Lada                          7 laps
     Yukinori Taniguchi   Nika Chevrolet                6 laps
     Charles Ng           Engstler BMW                  5 laps
     Michael Soong        Campos SEAT                   5 laps
     Joseph Rosa-Merszei  Engstler BMW                  5 laps
     Tom Chilton          RML Chevrolet                 4 laps
     Eurico de Jesus      PAS Honda                     4 laps
     Rene Munnich         Munnich SEAT                  3 laps
     Tiago Monteiro       Honda                         3 laps
     Jeronimo Badaraco    Son Veng Chevrolet            2 laps
     Stefano D'Aste       PB BMW                         1 lap
     Konstantins Calko    Campos SEAT                   0 laps
     Darryl O'Young       ROAL BMW                      0 laps
     Mehdi Bennani        Proteam BMW                   0 laps
     Tom Boardman         Special Tuning SEAT           0 laps
     Hugo Valente         Campos SEAT                   0 laps
     Mikhail Kozlovskiy   Lada                          0 laps
     Norbert Michelisz    Zengo Honda                   0 laps
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