Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri won the final race of the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) behind the safety car in Macau, as tenth place was enough to give BRC Racing’s Gabriele Tarquini the drivers’ title.
At the start pole-sitter Rob Huff once again struggled to make a rapid start in his Volkswagen, allowing Guerrieri and, initially, Norbert Michelisz to get ahead at the first turn.
Whilst Huff managed to get back past Michelisz on the run to Turn 2, Guerrieri was clear in front and able to consolidate the lead heading into the twisty section of the track.
Crucially for the title battle, BRC racing’s Tarquini jumped from 14th on the grid to ninth by the end of the opening lap, negating Yvan Muller’s gain of one place to fifth – Muller would have needed to finish in at least third to stand any chance of taking the title.
Huff pressured Guerrieri throughout the race, whilst WRT’s Jean-Karl Vernay moved into third on the first lap and moved with the leading duo for much of the race.
Vernay’s race came to an abrupt end with just three laps remaining, however, when the Frenchman seemed to make an unforced error at Lisboa, binning his Audi in the tyres and out of the race.
In the end, though, Guerrieri held on to take victory behind the safety car, which had to come out for the final two laps when Zsolt Szabó crashed heavily at the final corner and left his CUPRA strewn across the circuit.
That gave the title to Tarquini by just three points, even though the Italian went on to lose places to YMR’s Thed Björk and Comtoyou Racing’s Nathanaël Berthon in the race, with Tarquini eventually taking home just one point for tenth.
Michelisz ended up completing the podium in third, which was not quite enough for BRC Racing to deny YMR the teams’ title.
Muller took fourth, distant from the leading duo but on the tail of Michelisz throughout the race, ahead of Münnich Motorsport’s Yann Ehrlacher in fifth.
Campos Racing’s Pepe Oriola took sixth, ahead of the Alfa Romeo of Kevin Ceccon in seventh and Björk in eighth.
Completing the top ten were Berthon and Tarquini, although Berthon passed the new champion just as the safety car boards were shown for Szabó’s crash.
Comtoyou Racing’s Aurélien Panis caused a brief two-lap safety car period on laps four and five after he crashed his Audi into the barriers on lap three and stopped on the circuit.
Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Mehdi Bennani retired in the pits with front-right damage to his car, whilst Münnich Motorsport’s Timo Scheider also had to make a pit stop for repairs, having been involved in a first lap skirmish with Frédéric Vervisch a Turn 3.
By taking the title, Tarquini has beaten his own record, set when he became WTCC champion in 2009, and become the oldest FIA World Champion at 56 years old.
|1||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR||13||37:53.401||2:32.094||2|
|2||12||Rob HUFF||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||13||2.368||2:32.115||1|
|3||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||13||3.354||2:32.374||3|
|4||48||Yvan MULLER||YMR||Hyundai i30 N TCR||13||4.488||2:32.430||6|
|5||68||Yann EHRLACHER||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR||13||5.367||2:31.999||5|
|6||74||Pepe ORIOLA||Team Oscaro by Campos Racing||CUPRA TCR||13||5.702||2:32.301||7|
|7||31||Kevin CECCON||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||13||6.036||2:32.161||9|
|8||11||Thed BJÖRK||YMR||Hyundai i30 N TCR||13||7.130||2:32.383||13|
|9||23||Nathanaël BERTHON||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS||13||7.524||2:32.527||12|
|10||30||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||13||8.220||2:32.424||14|
|11||55||MA Qing Hua||Boutsen Ginion Racing||Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR||13||9.298||2:32.474||16|
|12||70||Mat’o HOMOLA||DG Sport Compétition||Peugeot 308 TCR||13||10.184||2:32.990||20|
|13||22||Frédéric VERVISCH||Audi Sport Team Comtoyou||Audi RS3 LMS||13||12.262||2:32.939||8|
|14||9||Tom CORONEL||Boutsen Ginion Racing||Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR||13||12.781||2:32.845||23|
|15||20||Denis DUPONT||Audi Sport Team Comtoyou||Audi RS3 LMS||13||13.425||2:33.274||22|
|16||7||Aurélien COMTE||DG Sport Compétition||Peugeot 308 TCR||13||13.908||2:33.713||21|
|17||28||Kevin TSE Wing Kin||Teamwork Motorsport||Audi RS3 LMS||13||15.293||2:35.575||24|
|18||89||André COUTO||MacPro Racing Team||Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR||13||16.101||2:35.866||26|
|19||60||Filipe Clemente DE SOUZA||Champ Motorsport||Audi RS3 LMS||13||19.377||2:35.720||28|
|20||8||Norbert NAGY||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA TCR||13||20.342||2:34.758||25|
|21||36||LO Kai Fung||Tian Shi Zuver Team||Audi RS3 LMS||13||21.329||2:36.520||29|
|22||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team||Audi RS3 LMS||10||+ 3 LAPS||2:32.103||4|
|23||27||John FILIPPI||Team Oscaro by Campos Racing||CUPRA TCR||10||+ 3 LAPS||2:33.329||17|
|24||66||Zsolt Dávid SZABÓ||Zengő Motorsport||CUPRA TCR||10||+ 3 LAPS||2:34.284||27|
|R||42||Timo SCHEIDER||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR||9||DNF||2:33.288||10|
|R||21||Aurélien PANIS||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS||2||DNF||2:33.487||15|
|R||52||Gordon SHEDDEN||Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team||Audi RS3 LMS||1||DNF||N/A||18|
|R||16||Luigi FERRARA||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||1||DNF||N/A||19|
|R||25||Mehdi BENNANI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||1||DNF||N/A||11|
|NS||77||LAM Kam San||Champ Motorsport||Audi RS3 LMS||–||DNS||N/A||–|
|NS||6||Rui VALENTE||PCT Racing Team||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||–||DNS||N/A||–|