Volvo gets first WTCC win with last lap Thed Bjork pass in China

Thed Bjork claimed a sensational first World Touring Car Championship win for the Volvo Polestar team with a last lap pass on Honda's Norbert Michelisz in China

Volvo gets first WTCC win with last lap Thed Bjork pass in China

Bjork started sixth but, after getting promoted to second after an incident in front, he closed down race-long leader Michelisz and drafted by the Honda at the end of the back straight to win.

From second on the grid, Michelisz got the jump on polesitter John Filippi off the line, the Frenchman making a tentative start, and he then held off early pressure from Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen driver Tom Chilton and Lada's Gabriele Tarquini, with Bjork keeping a watching brief in fourth.

A safety car was deployed on lap three when contact between the second Volvo Polestar S60 of Fredrik Ekblom, Filippi and champion-elect Jose Maria Lopez eliminated Filippi, whose Campos Racing Chevrolet Cruze was stranded at Turn 2 with broken front-left suspension.

Michelisz got a jump on the chasing pack when the safety car came in three laps later, while Tarquini dragged the pack up to the back of Chilton's C-Elysee.

Chilton made a small mistake at the hairpin midway through the 16-lap race and that was enough to present Tarquini with a sniff, but the Italian bumped into the side of the Citroen and damaged both cars, forcing the pair into the pits and promoting Bjork to second.

That allowed the Swede to reduce Michelisz's lead at a rapid rate, with the Volvo catching the Civic with five laps to go before having to split his attentions between attacking Michelisz and defending from third-placed Yvan Muller.

Bjork was allowed some breathing space on the final lap when Nicky Catsburg tagged into Muller's side, and he made that opportunity count by tailing Michelisz through the first two sectors before drafting past on the back straight - tagging part of the bumper off the Civic in the process - and showing Michelisz out wide off the hairpin.

Bjork appeared to crab off the final corner as a result of that impact, but he made the final corner apex and held off Michelisz across the line to claim a famous first win.

The stewards opened an investigation into contact between the pair.

Michelisz followed Bjork home having been denied a second reversed grid win in as many rounds, while Muller came off best in his battle with Catsburg to claim third.

Despite voicing concerns about the health of his car after earlier contact, Lopez followed team-mate Muller across the line in fourth, having passed Catsburg at the final corner.

Catsburg did make it over the line in fifth, but stopped out on track on the cool down lap after part of Michelisz's rear bumper got caught in front of his radiator.

Hugo Valente made good progress from 13th to finish sixth in the second Lada, just ahead of Tom Coronel, while Bjork's team-mate Ekblom and the Hondas of Rob Huff and Tiago Monteiro completed the points.

RACE ONE RESULT

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Thed Bjork Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo 16 31m58.340s
2 Norbert Michelisz Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 16 0.361s
3 Yvan Muller Citroen Racing Citroen 16 0.528s
4 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen Racing Citroen 16 2.215s
5 Nicky Catsburg LADA Sport Lada 16 2.315s
6 Hugo Valente LADA Sport Lada 16 6.290s
7 Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 16 6.911s
8 Fredrik Ekblom Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo 16 12.151s
9 Rob Huff Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 16 13.494s
10 Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 16 16.586s
11 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 16 17.078s
12 James Thompson Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet 16 18.405s
13 Gregoire Demoustier Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 16 26.284s
14 Ferenc Ficza Zengo Motorsport Honda 16 26.583s
15 Daniel Nagy Zengo Motorsport Honda 16 32.857s
16 Gabriele Tarquini LADA Sport Lada 11 5 Laps
- Tom Chilton Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 9 Retirement
- John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet 2 Retirement


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