Slovakia WTCR: Ma Qing Hua and new Alfa Romeo get first win

Ma Qing Hua scored his first victory of the World Touring Car Cup era in the final race of the Slovakia Ring weekend, after resisting pressure from Hyundai's Norbert Michelisz

Slovakia WTCR: Ma Qing Hua and new Alfa Romeo get first win

Alfa Romeo driver Ma was twice a race winner in the World Touring Car Championship with Citroen, and had scored his best WTCR result from 15 starts in Sunday's first Slovakia race by finishing runner-up.

That result had its foundations in a strong getaway, and the Chinese driver again made a strong start in the finale from third to lead into the first corner.

Ma initially resisted pressure from the BRC Racing Hyundai i30 N of Nicky Catsburg, but the polesitter ceded two places to Michelisz and the second Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce of Kevin Ceccon at half-distance and quickly fell away from the lead battle.

Having briefly broken clear of Ceccon, Michelisz mounted a mid-race attack on Ma by braking late around the outside of the Alfa at the Turn 3 right-hander, only to give up that attack as Ceccon came back at him in the second half of the lap.

The lead three settled down again in the closing stages, but while Michelisz made one last attempt to grab the lead he found no way past the Alfa of Ma - who gave Team Mulsanne its first victory with the Veloce model it introduced for 2019.

Michelisz nevertheless moved up to third in the drivers' standings with second place, while Ceccon's third-place finish sealed Mulsanne's best combined result in WTCR.

Niels Langeveld scored his best result since joining the WTCR grid for 2019 by finishing fourth, having bided his time behind Catsburg before moving his Comtoyou Audi RS3 LMS past the ailing Hyundai.

Langeveld finished just ahead of PWR Cupra rookie Mikel Azcona, while race two runner-up Esteban Guerrieri was sixth in his Munnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R.

Augusto Farfus charged through the order to a fine seventh in his BRC Hyundai, with Aurelien Panis (Comtoyou Racing Cupra) and reigning champion Gabriele Tarquini next up and wildcard entrant Luca Engstler completing the top 10 in his Hyundai i30 N.

Cyan Racing's Thed Bjork salvaged some points from the weekend in his Lynk & Co 03 by finishing 11th ahead of Catsburg, while Rob Huff had been on course to finish in the top 10 until he was involved in an incident with the second PWR Cupra of Daniel Haglof at Turn 3 and instead finished 13th.

The points positions were instead completed by Yvan Muller (Cyan Lynk & Co) and WRT Audi driver Gordon Shedden.

Race three result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Ma Qinghua Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 11 24m27.427s
2 Norbert Michelisz BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai 11 0.242s
3 Kevin Ceccon Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 11 0.694s
4 Niels Langeveld Comtoyou Audi Audi 11 11.818s
5 Mikel Azcona PWR Racing Cupra 11 12.413s
6 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 11 13.536s
7 Augusto Farfus BRC Racing Team Hyundai 11 14.116s
8 Aurelien Panis Comtoyou Cupra Cupra 11 16.833s
9 Gabriele Tarquini BRC Squadra Corse Hyundai 11 16.963s
10 Luca Engstler Team Engstler Hyundai 11 17.997s
11 Thed Bjork Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 11 20.247s
12 Nicky Catsburg BRC Racing Team Hyundai 11 20.483s
13 Rob Huff SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen 11 22.259s
14 Yvan Muller Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 11 23.749s
15 Gordon Shedden WRT Audi 11 25.427s
16 Benjamin Leuchter SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen 11 25.724s
17 Tiago Monteiro KCMG Honda 11 26.041s
18 Johan Kristoffersson SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen 11 26.398s
19 Mehdi Bennani SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen 11 28.218s
20 Yann Ehrlacher Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 11 28.402s
21 Frederic Vervisch Comtoyou Audi Audi 11 31.706s
22 Andy Priaulx Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 11 34.320s
23 Tom Coronel Comtoyou Cupra Cupra 11 35.050s
24 Nestor Girolami Munnich Motorsport Honda 11 57.914s
25 Attila Tassi KCMG Honda 11 1m14.131s
- Daniel Haglof PWR Racing Cupra 10 Retirement
- Jean-Karl Vernay WRT Audi 3 Retirement

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