Guerrieri seals vital WTCR Sepang win to set up title showdown

Esteban Guerrieri ensured the World Touring Car Cup title fight will go down to the season finale by claiming a vital win in a heavily disrupted second Sepang race

Guerrieri seals vital WTCR Sepang win to set up title showdown

The Honda driver dominated the race either side of a red-flag stoppage that lasted more than an hour, first by charging through the pack in his Civic Type R and then by reclaiming the lead from his team-mate after the restart to earn his fourth victory of 2019.

Guerrieri had stormed from his ninth-place grid position into the lead before half of the opening lap had been completed, though the race was soon neutralised when Nicky Catsburg's car caught fire.

Catsburg had, moments earlier, caused a collision with his BRC Racing team-mate Norbert Michelisz's title rival Yvan Muller.

Four-time world champion Muller, who like Guerrieri had climbed the order, was fourth when he was hit from behind by Catsburg's Hyundai.

Catsburg, on slick front tyres, followed Muller's line into the Turn 9 hairpin but then moved for the inside on the approach to the corner and T-boned the Cyan Racing driver's Lynk & Co 03.

Muller - who said he was Catsburg's "target" and had been hit "three corners before" - continued, but Catsburg stopped on the grass runoff on the exit of the corner before a fire emerged from the bonnet of his i30 N.

Though the fire was extinguished and Catsburg's car was recovered, a 56-minute delay ensued before the race was resumed under a safety car.

The order was also taken from the previous sector, which meant Guerrieri took the restart in second behind his team-mate Nestor Girolami, with Muller fifth and points leader Michelisz 13th.

Guerrieri took the lead shortly after the race resumed on lap four, with Girolami measuring his pace to ensure his Argentinian compatriot could make a break at the front.

The Munnich Motorsport driver did just that and, even though Girolami was passed by Mikel Azcona's PWR Cupra late on, Guerrieri was more than 10 seconds up the road by that point.

A late safety car, deployed when Attila Tassi stopped his KCMG Honda on track, guaranteed Guerrieri the win, which helped him reduce his arrears in the title race to 10 points.

Behind Azcona, double World Rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson also found a way past Girolami and completed the podium in his Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI.

Girolami finished fourth ahead of the Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce of Kevin Ceccon, while a sixth place finish for Muller signalled the end of his title bid.

Michelisz finished eighth - behind Muller's nephew Yann Ehrlacher - after recovering from an off on the opening lap.

The Hungarian locked up at the Turn 9 hairpin moments after Catsburg and Muller had collided, though was able to rejoin the circuit after dragging his Hyundai i30 N out of the grass.

He took the restart in 13th, but made up two positions in the opening half of the first racing lap then passed Tiago Monteiro exiting the final corner, despite receiving a hit from the KCMG Honda.

Augusto Farfus then moved over to give Michelisz another position, while the Hungarian also overtook Rob Huff's SLR Volkswagen to complete his recovery.

Michelisz will start the final race from pole and shares the front row with Guerrieri.

Huff and fellow SLR driver Benjamin Leuchter made it three Volkswagens in the top 10, while the points were completed by Aurelien Panis (Comtoyou Cupra), Monteiro, the fourth VW of Mehdi Bennani and Audi drivers Jean-Karl Vernay and Niels Langeveld.

Watch the WTCR season finale live on Autosport

Race two result - 11 laps

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 28m45.146s
2 Mikel Azcona PWR Racing Cupra 1.023s
3 Johan Kristoffersson SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen 1.368s
4 Nestor Girolami Munnich Motorsport Honda 2.198s
5 Kevin Ceccon Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 2.313s
6 Yvan Muller Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 2.500s
7 Yann Ehrlacher Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 3.894s
8 Norbert Michelisz BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai 4.498s
9 Rob Huff SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen 5.033s
10 Benjamin Leuchter SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen 6.270s
11 Aurelien Panis Comtoyou Cupra Cupra 6.966s
12 Tiago Monteiro KCMG Honda 8.821s
13 Mehdi Bennani SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen 9.511s
14 Jean-Karl Vernay WRT Audi 10.095s
15 Niels Langeveld Comtoyou Audi Audi 10.705s
16 Mitchell Cheah Team Engstler Hyundai 11.274s
17 Ma Qinghua Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 13.607s
18 Joao Paulo de Oliveira KC Motorgroup Honda 14.408s
19 Augusto Farfus BRC Racing Team Hyundai 14.667s
20 Tom Coronel Comtoyou Cupra Cupra 16.685s
21 Andy Priaulx Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 17.847s
22 Hafizh Syahrin Team Engstler Hyundai 18.159s
23 Thed Bjork Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 19.074s
24 Douglas Khoo Viper Niza Racing Cupra 20.589s
25 Frederic Vervisch Comtoyou Audi Audi 21.395s
26 Gabriele Tarquini BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai 1m10.622s
- Gordon Shedden WRT Audi Retirement
- Attila Tassi KCMG Honda Retirement
- Daniel Haglof PWR Racing Cupra Retirement
- Nicky Catsburg BRC Racing Team Hyundai Retirement

Drivers' championship

Pos Driver Points
1 Norbert Michelisz 0.359
2 Esteban Guerrieri 0.349
3 Yvan Muller 0.325
4 Thed Bjork 0.288
5 Mikel Azcona 0.224
6 Gabriele Tarquini 0.222
7 Yann Ehrlacher 0.22
8 Johan Kristoffersson 0.217
9 Nestor Girolami 0.214
10 Jean-Karl Vernay 0.204
11 Rob Huff 0.204
12 Frederic Vervisch 0.178
13 Nicky Catsburg 0.165
14 Kevin Ceccon 0.144
15 Augusto Farfus 0.142
16 Ma Qinghua 0.133
17 Aurelien Panis 0.127
18 Andy Priaulx 0.117
19 Benjamin Leuchter 0.102
20 Tiago Monteiro 0.099
21 Niels Langeveld 0.063
22 Tom Coronel 0.063
23 Daniel Haglof 0.055
24 Attila Tassi 0.055
25 Mehdi Bennani 0.039
26 Gordon Shedden 0.034
27 Joao Paulo de Oliveira 0.011
28 Robert Dahlgren 0.003
29 Luca Engstler 0.002

Teams' championship

Pos Team Points
1 Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 614
2 BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse 581
3 All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport 563
4 Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 339
5 SLR Volkswagen 321
6 BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team 310
7 PWR Racing 283
8 Team Mulsanne 277
9 SLR VW Motorsport 244
10 Comtoyou Team Audi Sport 241
11 Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport 240
12 Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing 190
13 KCMG 155


shares
comments
WTCR Sepang: Michelisz closes on title, three drivers in contention

Previous article

WTCR Sepang: Michelisz closes on title, three drivers in contention

Next article

Michelisz seals 2019 WTCR title as rival Guerrieri hits trouble

Michelisz seals 2019 WTCR title as rival Guerrieri hits trouble
Load comments

About this article

Series WTCR
Author Jack Cozens
The tin-top champion who doesn't know the meaning of retirement Plus

The tin-top champion who doesn't know the meaning of retirement

The news is out that three-time World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx is stepping down from full-time racing. But he's still got plenty of mileage left him in yet, and his son has much more

WTCR
Jun 16, 2020
The phoenix driver who is at peace with his defeats Plus

The phoenix driver who is at peace with his defeats

Esteban Guerrieri spent years trying to make it in single-seaters, and came closer than you'd think to making it to F1. Now he's forging a successful tin-top career, but it's his philosophical approach to defeat and personal growth that is truly impressive

WTCR
Jan 13, 2020
The surprise team orders twisting a world title battle Plus

The surprise team orders twisting a world title battle

Team orders in major touring car racing are nothing unusual with manufacturer honour at stake. But in the 2019 World Touring Cars title fight, one team is raising eyebrows with the choices it is making

WTCR
Nov 18, 2019
The 'weapon' clash that turned a world title battle bitter Plus

The 'weapon' clash that turned a world title battle bitter

Emotions ran high at Suzuka last weekend between two teams gunning for global tin-top bragging rights, and little has been done to cool those tensions since. While that's great news for WTCR, is there a danger of both outfits losing sight of their main aim?

WTCR
Nov 2, 2019
How WTCR's last real independent has stayed in play Plus

How WTCR's last real independent has stayed in play

The World Touring Car Cup has gone from strength to strength for 2019 - but one small team in particular is proving time and again that it merits a place alongside the series' big hitters

WTCR
Apr 23, 2019
The lessons World Touring Cars must heed from history Plus

The lessons World Touring Cars must heed from history

The WTCR has made a massive step up in quality ahead of its second season in its current format, but as manufacturers start to lock horns is it already in danger of repeating other great touring car series' mistakes?

WTCR
Apr 5, 2019
A world champion in waiting's tortuous path to recovery Plus

A world champion in waiting's tortuous path to recovery

Tiago Monteiro seemed destined to win the World Touring Car Championship last year, until a huge testing crash halted his charge. After early whispers of a swift racing return, he recounts his arduous (and incomplete) road to recovery

WTCR
Aug 9, 2018
Why a world championship made the ultimate sacrifice Plus

Why a world championship made the ultimate sacrifice

A rulebook scrapped with two-thirds of its planned existence remaining and the disintegration of a 'world championship' - yet everyone's a winner from one of modern motorsport's greatest acts of martyrdom

WTCR
Jan 9, 2018