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Esteban Guerrieri wins as Thed Björk seals title

Honda’s Esteban Guerrieri won the main World Touring Car Championship race in Qatar as Volvo’s Thed Björk claimed his maiden WTCC title by finishing in fourth.

Guerrieri led the race from lights-to-flag after getting a clean start, whilst behind the Argentine Rob Huff managed to get his Münnich Motorsport Citroën past Volvo’s Nicky Catsburg for second.

Catsburg settled into third, having started alongside Guerrieri on the front row, and was unable to take the fight to the Honda driver, ultimately finishing almost four seconds adrift when the chequered flag flew.

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Catsburg had let team-mate Björk through into third on the second lap, but the Swede and new champion gave the position back at the end of the race when it became clear that he had done enough to secure his first WTCC title.

Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Tom Chilton took fifth, and with it the Brit claimed top honours in the WTCC Trophy for independents after his chief rival Mehdi Bennani was effectively eliminated on the opening lap.

Bennani had been clouted by the Volvo of Yvan Muller at the first turn after the two of them sandwiched another car, and the damage to the front right of Bennani’s Citroën ultimately caused a puncture on lap three and the Moroccan limped to the pits and out of the race.

Bennani’s woes were further compounded by the fact that he didn’t even secure the runner-up spot in the category, as Huff’s second was enough for him to vault the SLR driver in the standings.

Campos Racing’s Kris Richard was an impressive sixth in his Chevrolet, having made up for his poor start in the Opening Race to gain a place at the start before passing Muller on the second lap.

With a damaged car, Muller could only finish in seventh, the Frenchman’s job done in aiding Volvo to both the driver’s and manufacturers’ titles.

Championship runner-up Michelisz took the flag in eighth, having made up just three positions in the race, one of which was Bennani’s demise. The Hungarian ended the first lap in eighth, having John Filippi and Kevin Gleason at the start and made no further passing moves for the rest of the race.

Michelisz thus ultimately finished 28.5 points behind Björk in the standings, the biggest the points lead has been since the third event of the year.

Filippi once again scored points in his Sébastien Loeb Racing run Citroën in ninth, whilst Honda’s Ryo Michigami completed the points in tenth – just the Japanese racers fifth top ten of the season.

ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel once again just missed out on the points in 11th, ahead of RC Motorsport’s Yann Ehrlacher in 12th.

In what is likely to be the final TC1 race of the WTCC, little action was seen around the twisty Losail International Circuit.

Volvo secured the manufacturers’ title over Honda, despite Guerrieri’s win, the Japanese marque’s campaign ultimately coming undone in qualifying with the brake issues experienced by Michelisz.

Race result

1 86 T Esteban GUERRIERI Honda Racing Team JAS Honda Civic WTCC 12 12 LAPS 2:01.774 1
2 12 T Rob HUFF ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 12 3.708 2:02.125 3
3 63 Nicky CATSBURG Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 Polestar 12 7.319 2:02.588 2
4 62 Thed BJÖRK Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 Polestar 12 7.466 2:02.266 4
5 3 T Tom CHILTON Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 12 8.785 2:03.039 6
6 11 T Kris RICHARD Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 12 10.589 2:03.168 8
7 64 Yvan MULLER Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60 Polestar 12 11.459 2:03.199 5
8 5 Norbert MICHELISZ Honda Racing Team JAS Honda Civic WTCC 12 12.023 2:03.101 11
9 27 T John FILIPPI Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 12 15.942 2:03.999 9
10 34 Ryo MICHIGAMI Honda Racing Team JAS Honda Civic WTCC 12 22.140 2:04.172 13
11 9 T Tom CORONEL ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 12 22.769 2:04.270 12
12 68 T Yann EHRLACHER RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC 12 24.275 2:04.278 14
13 99 T Dániel NAGY Zengő Motorsport Kft Honda Civic WTCC 12 30.126 2:04.482 16
14 24 T Kevin GLEASON RC Motorsport LADA Vesta WTCC 12 34.895 2:04.358 10
15 66 T Zsolt Dávid SZABÓ Zengő Motorsport Kft Honda Civic WTCC 12 48.988 2:05.780 15
R 25 T Mehdi BENNANI Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 3 DNF 2:04.712 7
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