Suzuka WTCR: Tarquini wins and opens points lead, Ceccon penalised

World Touring Car Cup points leader Gabriele Tarquini extended his advantage with victory in the final race at Suzuka, after on-the-road winner Kevin Ceccon picked up a time penalty

Suzuka WTCR: Tarquini wins and opens points lead, Ceccon penalised

Ceccon crossed the line 2.9 seconds clear of Tarquini, but a five-second penalty for being out of position on the grid dropped the Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo driver to third place.

From pole, race one winner Ceccon fell to fourth on the opening lap as the BRC Racing Hyundai of Tarquini seized the early initiative ahead of Yann Ehrlacher's Munnich Motorsport Honda and Aurelien Comte's DG Sport Peugeot.

Ceccon had recovered to second place and was stalking Tarquini when news emerged of his penalty, which prompted Tarquini to surrender his lead and stick to Ceccon's tail.

In the end the 56-year-old did enough to take his fifth win of 2018 by 1.9s from Comte, as Ehrlacher's podium challenge ended at mid-distance when his Honda slowed with apparent mechanical issues.

Further back, Mehdi Bennani made a stern pass on Aurelien Panis to grab fourth place on the last lap.

Bennani's team-mate Rob Huff - the reversed-grid race winner earlier in the day - emerged with sixth place a further 10s behind in a chaotic final couple of laps.

Esteban Guerrieri had a long train of cars formed behind, with title contender Yvan Muller, Pepe Oriola and Huff his main pursuers.

Oriola became the first to clear Guerrieri on lap eight of 11. Then on the following lap Guerrieri was tapped into a lurid slide by Muller at 130R, causing the pack to bunch up into the final chicane and Muller to hit the tyre stack.

Muller was forced to pull up with damage, gifting Tarquini a comfortable 39-point lead in the standings heading to the Macau season finale next month.

Oriola would have finished sixth but was penalised for repeatedly cutting the final chicane, gifting the position to Huff.

Benefiting from the chaos to move up into the remaining points positions were Frederic Vervisch, Thed Bjork, Norbert Michelisz and Jean-Karl Vernay.

Tiago Monteiro moved up to 11th, missing out on the final point by just two tenths as he returned to racing following his 2017 injury.

Race three result

Pos Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 Gabriele Tarquini BRC Racing Team Hyundai 11 24m41.704s
2 Aurelien Comte DG Sport Competition Peugeot 11 1.577s
3 Kevin Ceccon Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 11 2.024s
4 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 11 3.140s
5 Aurelien Panis Comtoyou Racing Audi 11 3.674s
6 Rob Huff Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 11 13.728s
7 Frederic Vervisch Comtoyou Racing Audi 11 18.296s
8 Thed Bjork YMR Hyundai 11 19.963s
9 Norbert Michelisz BRC Racing Team Hyundai 11 20.694s
10 Jean-Karl Vernay WRT Audi 11 23.015s
11 Tiago Monteiro Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda 11 23.259s
12 John Filippi Campos Racing Cupra 11 23.660s
13 Timo Scheider Munnich Motorsport Honda 11 24.238s
14 Tom Coronel Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda 11 24.639s
15 Mat'o Homola DG Sport Competition Peugeot 11 27.312s
16 Gordon Shedden WRT Audi 11 27.956s
17 Norbert Nagy Zengo Motorsport Cupra 11 28.654s
18 Pepe Oriola Campos Racing Cupra 11 37.050s
19 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 11 39.948s
20 Nathanael Berthon Comtoyou Racing Audi 10 1 Lap
21 Yvan Muller YMR Hyundai 10 1 Lap
- Yann Ehrlacher Munnich Motorsport Honda 6 Retirement
- Denis Dupont Comtoyou Racing Audi 5 Retirement
- Luigi Ferrara Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 5 Retirement
- Zsolt Szabo Zengo Motorsport Cupra 0 Not started

Drivers' standings

Pos Driver Points
1 Gabriele Tarquini 291
2 Yvan Muller 252
3 Thed Bjork 238
4 Pepe Oriola 227
5 Jean-Karl Vernay 216
6 Esteban Guerrieri 213
7 Norbert Michelisz 212
8 Frederic Vervisch 203
9 Rob Huff 197
10 Aurelien Comte 191
11 Yann Ehrlacher 182
12 Mehdi Bennani 154
13 Gordon Shedden 122
14 Kevin Ceccon 83
15 Nathanael Berthon 71
16 Denis Dupont 69
17 Aurelien Panis 53
18 Benjamin Lessennes 48
19 Mat'o Homola 46
20 Daniel Nagy 36
21 James Thompson 36
22 Tom Coronel 24
23 Fabrizio Giovanardi 19
24 Norbert Nagy 18
25 John Filippi 14
26 Petr Fulin 13
27 Rene Rast 10
28 Ma Qinghua 7
29 Zsolt Szabo 4

shares
comments
Suzuka WTCR: Rob Huff wins reversed-grid race for Loeb VW

Previous article

Suzuka WTCR: Rob Huff wins reversed-grid race for Loeb VW

Next article

Audi commits to WTCR for 2019 season with WRT and Comtoyou

Audi commits to WTCR for 2019 season with WRT and Comtoyou
Load comments

About this article

Series WTCR
Drivers Gabriele Tarquini
Author Jamie Klein
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