The Main World Touring Car Championship race at the Ningbo International Speedpark in China has been cancelled due to persistent and heavy rain which has affected the circuit all weekend.
Volvo’s Néstor Girolami had been due to start the race from pole position, and the Argentine led the field around four exploratory laps behind the safety car in the early stages, before the decision to cancel the race was made.
It is only the second time in WTCC history that a race has featured no racing laps, with the first having been at Slovakia in 2014. Half points will be awarded in the race, even though no racing laps were completed.
“Unfortunately I didn’t have any other choice,” explained WTCC Race Director Miroslav Bartos. “We could see that even behind the safety car the cars could not properly follow.
“Based on our weather forecast, the situation was not going to get any better. It’s also getting dark so the race has been stopped and will not be restarted.”
Girolami, who had been in a prime position to fight for his first-ever WTCC win, added that the decision to cancel was the correct one.
“It happens – you cannot do anything about it,” said Girolami. “Now it’s even worse and getting darker. The track was completely wet with a lot of water on the straights, so we were aquaplaning everywhere.
“It was really dangerous. You need to think about safety sometimes and I think it was a good decision.”
The cancellation will come as a huge relief to absent championship leader Tiago Monteiro, who therefore suffers from minimal damage to his championship campaign after China. The Honda driver trails Thed Björk, who failed to capitalise on the Portuguese’s absence in the Opening Race, by just 0.5 points after only half-points were awarded in the race.
The next round of the WTCC takes place in Japan in two weeks’ time.
Race result (all laps behind safety car)
|1||61||Néstor GIROLAMI||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo S60 Polestar||2||4:59.154||2:27.931||1|
|2||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda Civic WTCC||2||0.851||2:28.053||2|
|3||62||Thed BJÖRK||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo S60 Polestar||2||2.537||2:28.981||3|
|4||2||Gabriele TARQUINI||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda Civic WTCC||2||3.347||2:28.550||5|
|5||3||T||Tom CHILTON||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||2||4.562||2:29.020||6|
|6||86||T||Esteban GUERRIERI||Campos Racing||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||2||6.691||2:28.790||7|
|7||63||Nicky CATSBURG||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo S60 Polestar||2||8.113||2:29.638||8|
|8||27||T||John FILIPPI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||2||9.722||2:29.008||9|
|9||34||Ryo MICHIGAMI||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda Civic WTCC||2||11.250||2:27.638||11|
|10||24||T||Kevin GLEASON||RC Motorsport||LADA Vesta WTCC||2||12.118||2:27.409||12|
|11||68||T||Yann EHRLACHER||RC Motorsport||LADA Vesta WTCC||2||13.656||2:32.312||10|
|12||9||T||Tom CORONEL||ROAL Motorsport||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||2||16.721||2:28.835||14|
|13||99||T||Dániel NAGY||Zengő Motorsport Kft||Honda Civic WTCC||2||17.666||2:28.874||15|
|14||26||T||Filipe Clemente DE SOUZA||RC Motorsport||LADA Vesta WTCC||2||18.403||2:25.745||16|
|15||66||T||Zsolt Dávid SZABÓ||Zengő Motorsport Kft||Honda Civic WTCC||2||19.793||2:25.107||17|
|16||25||T||Mehdi BENNANI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||2||43.848||2:28.569||13|
|17||12||T||Rob HUFF||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Citroën C-Elysée WTCC||1||+ 1 LAP||N/A||4|