Esteban Guerrieri wins race three as Gabriele Tarquini secures the title

Esteban Guerrieri wins race three as Gabriele Tarquini secures the title

Esteban Guerrieri
Photo: Alexandre Guillaumot / DPPI

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.

Race result

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
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
WTCR points deficit chart
Graphic: TouringCars.Net