WTCR Macau: Frederic Vervisch wins as Muller closes on Tarquini

Frederic Vervisch won the second World Touring Car Cup race at Macau, while Yvan Muller gave his title hopes a major boost with third as points leader Gabriele Tarquini retired

WTCR Macau: Frederic Vervisch wins as Muller closes on Tarquini

Comtoyou Audi driver Vervisch started from the second row but immediately jumped the Alfa Romeo Giulietta of Kevin Ceccon, then overtook polesitter Timo Scheider around the outside of the Mandarin kink on lap four to secure the lead.

Once clear of Scheider's Munnich Motorsport Honda Civic, Vervisch ran unchallenged over the remaining four laps to claim his first win of 2018 - becoming the 15th different driver to win a race in the inaugural WTCR season.

While he eased clear in the lead, the real attention was on Muller - who ran fourth in the early laps after escaping an incident at Lisboa on the opening lap that accounted for four cars including Tarquini.

Starting fifth, Muller immediately jumped the Campos Racing Cupra of Pepe Oriola to run fourth on the approach to Lisboa - where Oriola and Yann Ehrlacher tangled.

Oriola skated along the inside barrier and into the wall on the outside of the corner, avoiding Muller's YMR Hyundai i30 N but causing a block that collected for Saturday race winner Jean-Karl Vernay, Tarquini's team-mate Norbert Michelisz and Rob Huff.

The subsequent delay also meant Tarquini, on the inside of the corner, received a hit from behind that put him into the back of Muller's team-mate Thed Bjork.

That caused significant damage to Tarquini's BRC i30 N, which he recovered to the pits but did not return to the track in.

With every car eventually clearing Lisboa, the intervention of the safety car was not required, and the top four initially ran together - well clear of Munnich Motorsport pair Ehrlacher and Guerrieri, who were the first cars to escape from the Lisboa blockage.

Muller made his move for third at the same time as Vervisch's overtake for the lead, clearing Ceccon on the run to Lisboa before settling in behind Scheider.

He made four attempts to pass the Honda on the approach to Lisboa, but double DTM champion Scheider - who is racing in Macau for the first time this weekend - stood firm on each occasion, holding off the four-time World Touring Car champion to claim his first WTCR podium since joining halfway through the season.

The 15 points Muller scored for third mean he trails Tarquini by 18 points in the standings ahead of Sunday morning's season finale, and Muller will need to finish at least third to deny Tarquini the title if the Italian who is 14th on the grid - fails to score.

Behind Ceccon, Guerrieri cleared Ehrlacher - elevating him to fifth in the drivers' standings - and Mehdi Bennani came home seventh in his Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI.

Nathanael Berthon, the second Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo of Luigi Ferrara and Aurelien Panis completed the points scorers, while Kevin Tse Wing Kin was the highest-placed of the Guia race wildcards in 18th.

Result - 8 laps

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Frederic Vervisch Comtoyou Racing Audi 20m30.967s
2 Timo Scheider Munnich Motorsport Honda 1.713s
3 Yvan Muller YMR Hyundai 2.132s
4 Kevin Ceccon Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 5.608s
5 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 6.422s
6 Yann Ehrlacher Munnich Motorsport Honda 7.944s
7 Nathanael Berthon Comtoyou Racing Audi 19.927s
8 Luigi Ferrara Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 20.396s
9 Aurelien Panis Comtoyou Racing Audi 37.106s
10 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 38.484s
11 John Filippi Campos Racing Cupra 40.188s
12 Aurelien Comte DG Sport Competition Peugeot 41.708s
13 Ma Qinghua Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda 42.714s
14 Gordon Shedden WRT Audi 45.334s
15 Denis Dupont Comtoyou Racing Audi 45.692s
16 Tom Coronel Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda 47.090s
17 Mat'o Homola DG Sport Competition Peugeot 47.495s
18 Kevin Tse Team Work Motorsport Audi 1m13.820s
19 Filipe Souza Champ Motorsport Audi 1m16.374s
20 Andre Couto MacPro Racing Team Honda 1m23.257s
21 Billy Lo Tian Shi Zuver Team Audi 1m38.484s
22 Zsolt Szabo Zengo Motorsport Cupra 1m45.726s
23 Norbert Nagy Zengo Motorsport Cupra 1 Lap
24 Rob Huff Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 1 Lap
- Thed Bjork YMR Hyundai Retirement
- Jean-Karl Vernay WRT Audi Retirement
- Pepe Oriola Campos Racing Cupra Retirement
- Gabriele Tarquini BRC Racing Team Hyundai Retirement
- Norbert Michelisz BRC Racing Team Hyundai Retirement

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WTCR Macau: Jean-Karl Vernay beats Muller and Huff in first race

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