Michelisz closes in on WTCR leader Guerrieri after Vila Real win

Norbert Michelisz eased to a lights-to-flag victory in the opening World Touring Car Cup race at Vila Real to carve into Esteban Guerrieri's championship lead

Michelisz closes in on WTCR leader Guerrieri after Vila Real win

Michelisz's second victory of the season and a non-score for Guerrieri means that just 15 points now separate the pair, with Guerrieri having arrived in Portugal with a 45-point margin.

From pole, Michelisz got off the line well to lead comfortably into the first corner from BRC Racing Squadra Corse Hyundai team-mate Augusto Farfus and Cyan Racing's Yann Ehrlacher.

Farfus's defensive efforts allowed Michelisz to open up a four-second advantage, with the latter easily rejoining from the mandatory joker lap in the lead.

The tight confines of the 4.79-kilometre (2.98-mile) street circuit did not produce any repeats of last year's crashes as the field managed to get through the first laps unscathed.

Defending WTCR champion Gabriele Tarquini did, however, collect the KCMG Honda Civic Type R of local driver Tiago Monteiro, putting both into the tyre barriers.

Tarquini pitted soon after and retired, while Monteiro finished a lowly 23rd and just one place ahead of Guerrieri who suffered a nightmare race.

Guerrieri qualified 19th after struggling to find a clear track and made little progress up the field in the early laps.

He was running in the points in 13th before slowing round the back of the circuit, losing several places in the process.

The Honda driver made it to the finish but was left to rue a significantly reduced points lead.

Behind winner Michelisz, Ehrlacher leapfrogged Farfus after taking his joker a lap after the Hyundai driver to claim second.

Farfus just hung onto the final step of the podium from the Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI of Rob Huff.

Huff's VW proved faster in the late stages of the race, meaning he finished ahead of the third BRC Hyundai of Nicky Catsburg and the Comtoyou Cupra of Aurelien Panis.

Nurburgring Race two winner Johan Kristoffersson claimed seventh after electing to take his joker lap in the closing laps to edge out fellow Swede Thed Bjork.

Yvan Muller made it three Cyan Racing Lynk & Cos in the top 10 with ninth place, beating Team WRT Audi's Jean-Karl Vernay.

Team Mulsanne's Ma Qing Hua finished 14th after bogging down heavily from his fifth-place starting position.

The Alfa Romeo driver was swallowed up as the lights went out, but showed plenty of pace at the end to claim two points.

Race result - 11 laps

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Norbert Michelisz BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai 22m40.936s
2 Yann Ehrlacher Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 2.291s
3 Augusto Farfus BRC Racing Team Hyundai 3.009s
4 Rob Huff SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen 3.538s
5 Nicky Catsburg BRC Racing Team Hyundai 7.630s
6 Aurelien Panis Comtoyou Cupra Cupra 8.437s
7 Johan Kristoffersson SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen 10.344s
8 Thed Bjork Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 11.349s
9 Yvan Muller Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 16.051s
10 Jean-Karl Vernay WRT Audi 17.248s
11 Nestor Girolami Munnich Motorsport Honda 19.081s
12 Andy Priaulx Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 22.000s
13 Mikel Azcona PWR Racing Cupra 22.775s
14 Ma Qinghua Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 23.735s
15 Niels Langeveld Comtoyou Audi Audi 26.254s
16 Benjamin Leuchter SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen 28.016s
17 Gordon Shedden WRT Audi 29.525s
18 Tom Coronel Comtoyou Cupra Cupra 29.757s
19 Kevin Ceccon Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 30.743s
20 Frederic Vervisch Comtoyou Audi Audi 32.409s
21 Attila Tassi KCMG Honda 33.515s
22 Mehdi Bennani SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen 34.014s
23 Tiago Monteiro KCMG Honda 40.051s
24 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 53.762s
25 Daniel Haglof PWR Racing Cupra 53.926s
- Gabriele Tarquini BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai Retirement


shares
comments
WTCR Vila Real: Hyundai's Michelisz gets pole in disrupted qualifying

Previous article

WTCR Vila Real: Hyundai's Michelisz gets pole in disrupted qualifying

Next article

Tassi secures maiden WTCR pole and Honda 1-2 for Vila Real finale

Tassi secures maiden WTCR pole and Honda 1-2 for Vila Real finale
Load comments
Why the new electric tin-top series deserves to be taken seriously Plus

Why the new electric tin-top series deserves to be taken seriously

The new Pure ETCR series will get underway at Vallelunga this weekend featuring great looking cars, top drivers and real tracks. Its format is wacky, but it exists in an era when its petrol-fuelled brethren are all artificially contrived, and has the potential to move the tin-top game on

WTCR
Jun 17, 2021
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