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

Jean-Karl Vernay won the opening race of the World Touring Car Cup's Macau Guia race weekend, beating Yvan Muller and Rob Huff in a gripping fight for victory

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

From fourth on the grid, Vernay progressed to second on the opening lap and grabbed the lead in the other side of a safety-car period, then resisted pressure from Muller and Huff for the majority of the race to win in his WRT Audi RS3 LMS.

Huff had dominated both of Friday's qualifying sessions, but after a good initial start he suffered some wheelspin on the run to the first kink, allowing YMR Hyundai driver Muller to work his way around the outside of Huff's Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI.

While Muller held the lead, front-row starters Huff and Esteban Guerrieri were caught on the run to Lisboa by cars behind - with Huff passed by Vernay and Guerrieri dropping to sixth behind the BRC Racing Hyundai i30 Ns of Gabriele Tarquini and Norbert Michelisz.

Munnich Motorsport Honda Civic driver Guerrieri then survived an incident at the right-hander, when he, Mehdi Bennani and Frederic Vervisch collided (pictured below).

That clash, as well as another at San Francisco between Aurelien Comte and Denis Dupont, triggered an early safety car.

Vernay made his crucial move for the lead when racing resumed one lap later, drafting past Muller on the approach with ease after the restart.

He held Muller off for another two laps before the race was halted for 15 minutes, as a result of Vernay's team-mate Gordon Shedden running wide exiting Police bend and blocking the track for those behind.

When racing resumed, Vernay then spent the remaining four laps defending from Muller and Huff but, despite the chasing pair carrying less compensation weight, the grunt of the Audi on the main straight offered Vernay enough respite each lap, as he came through for his fourth victory of the WTCR season.

Muller's second place allowed him to make up some ground on championship leader Tarquini, although his gain was only six points as Tarquini finished fourth.

Having safely made up three places at the start, Tarquini was backed up by rear-gunner Michelisz - who kept the chasing pack of Guerrieri, Pepe Oriola and Timo Scheider behind.

His fourth place means Tarquini and Muller - who is 33 points behind his rival - are now the only two drivers who can claim the inaugural WTCR crown.

Vernay's win elevates him to third at the expense of Muller's team-mate Thed Bjork - who failed to score and was involved in a collision with Ma Qing Hua and John Filippi on the safety-car restart - but he is 60 points behind Tarquini with 55 left on offer in Macau.

Luigi Ferrara (Alfa Romeo Giulietta) and DG Sport Peugeot 308TCR driver Mato Homola completed the points scorers, while Filipe Souza was the highest-placed wildcard finisher in 18th in his Champ Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS.

-

Andre Couto (MacPro Honda Civic) was 15th when the race was stopped but failed to get away when the race resumed.

Result - 10 laps

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Jean-Karl Vernay WRT Audi 46m07.189s
2 Yvan Muller YMR Hyundai 0.516s
3 Rob Huff Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 0.881s
4 Gabriele Tarquini BRC Racing Team Hyundai 6.523s
5 Norbert Michelisz BRC Racing Team Hyundai 8.488s
6 Esteban Guerrieri Munnich Motorsport Honda 9.297s
7 Pepe Oriola Campos Racing Cupra 9.923s
8 Timo Scheider Munnich Motorsport Honda 10.594s
9 Luigi Ferrara Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo 11.725s
10 Mat'o Homola DG Sport Competition Peugeot 12.373s
11 Thed Bjork YMR Hyundai 12.968s
12 Frederic Vervisch Comtoyou Racing Audi 13.437s
13 Tom Coronel Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda 16.408s
14 Yann Ehrlacher Munnich Motorsport Honda 17.058s
15 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen 17.671s
16 Aurelien Panis Comtoyou Racing Audi 19.138s
17 Filipe Souza Champ Motorsport Audi 28.145s
18 Nathanael Berthon Comtoyou Racing Audi 28.461s
19 Billy Lo Tian Shi Zuver Team Audi 45.842s
20 Aurelien Comte DG Sport Competition Peugeot 51.048s
21 Andre Couto MacPro Racing Team Honda 1m32.801s
22 Denis Dupont Comtoyou Racing Audi 1 Lap
23 Norbert Nagy Zengo Motorsport Cupra 2 Laps
- Ma Qinghua Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda Retirement
- Gordon Shedden WRT Audi Retirement
- Kevin Tse Team Work Motorsport Audi Retirement
- John Filippi Campos Racing Cupra Retirement
- Kevin Ceccon Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Retirement
shares
comments
WTCR Macau: Huff gets pole again as points leader Tarquini crashes

Previous article

WTCR Macau: Huff gets pole again as points leader Tarquini crashes

Next article

WTCR Macau: Frederic Vervisch wins as Muller closes on Tarquini

WTCR Macau: Frederic Vervisch wins as Muller closes on Tarquini
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