Ma Qing Hua fought off a challenge from the Hyundai of Norbert Michelisz to claim victory in the final FIA world Touring Car Cup race at the Slovakiaring, as his Alfa Romeo team-mate Kevin Ceccon completed the podium.
Like in the morning’s first race, Ma once again got off the line well and the Chinese driver led into the first corner, as his Team Mulsanne team-mate Ceccon moved up to fourth on the opening lap.
Pole-sitter Nicky Catsburg had attempted to take his Hyundai around the outside once again at Turn 1, but the BRC Racing driver had to settle for second ahead of team-mate Michelisz.
However, the Dutchman would drop out of the reckoning on lap five when his i30 appeared to develop issues, as he slowed and dropped to fourth with an intermittent issue that eventually saw him drop down to 12th by the end of the race.
That left the leading trio of Ma, Michelisz and Ceccon, with Michelisz pressuring the leader before he himself came under pressure from Ceccon on lap eight. Michelisz then caught back up to Ma but, despite the cheers of local support, he was unable to pass and Ma took his first WTCR win and the second for Alfa Romeo in the series.
Comtoyou Racing’s Niels Langeveld converted his strong grid position into fourth as the best-placed Audi driver, ahead of the CUPRA of PWR Racing’s Mikel Azcona in fifth.
Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri was sixth as the top Honda, with the result moving the Argentine to just two points from compatriot Néstor Girolami after his team-mate went off on the opening lap after contact from Aurélien Panis and finished just 24th.
BRC Racing’s Augusto Farfus was seventh after another spirited drive from 17th on the grid, ahead of the CUPRA of Panis in eighth.
Reigning champion Gabriele Tarquini and wildcard Hyundai racer Luca Engstler completed the top ten.
Thed Björk was the best of the Lynk & Co drivers in 11th, the Swede finishing the race where he had started it.
PWR Racing’s Daniel Haglöf was once again in the wars, the CUPRA driver making contact with SLR’s Rob Huff on lap ten, dropping Huff two places and effectively eliminating Haglöf.
Comtoyou Racing’s Tom Coronel also retired late on in the race, the Dutchman having been running in 13th after starting from the back of the grid before damage slowed his car.
WRT’s Jean-Karl Vernay was the only retirement after the Audi driver pitted at the end of lap one.
Girolami leads Guerrieri in the points with 125 points to his team-mates 123, whilst Michelisz leapfrogs Tarquini to move into third on 102 points, with Tarquini on 96 points.
|1||55||Ma QING HUA||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||11||24:27.427||2:11.288||3|
|2||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||11||0.242||2:11.768||2|
|3||31||Kevin CECCON||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||11||0.694||2:11.449||6|
|4||10||Niels LANGEVELD||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||11||11.818||2:12.311||7|
|5||96||Mikel AZCONA||PWR Racing||CUPRA TCR||11||12.413||2:12.420||13|
|6||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R TCR||11||13.536||2:13.024||5|
|7||8||Augusto FARFUS||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||11||14.116||2:12.939||17|
|8||21||Aurélien PANIS||Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing||CUPRA TCR||11||16.833||2:13.195||8|
|9||1||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||11||16.963||2:12.961||16|
|10||6||Luca ENGSTLER||Hyundai Team Engstler||Hyundai i30 N TCR||11||17.997||2:13.561||14|
|11||11||Thed BJÖRK||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||11||20.247||2:13.980||11|
|12||88||Nicky CATSBURG||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||11||20.483||2:11.657||1|
|13||12||Rob HUFF||SLR VW Motorsport||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||11||22.259||2:13.103||10|
|14||100||Yvan MULLER||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||11||23.749||2:13.497||20|
|15||52||Gordon SHEDDEN||Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||11||25.427||2:13.818||22|
|16||33||Benjamin LEUCHTER||SLR Volkswagen||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||11||25.724||2:13.575||12|
|17||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||KCMG||Honda Civic Type R TCR||11||26.041||2:13.874||24|
|18||14||Johan KRISTOFFERSSON||SLR Volkswagen||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||11||26.398||2:13.861||26|
|19||25||Mehdi BENNANI||SLR VW Motorsport||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||11||28.218||2:14.269||18|
|20||68||Yann EHRLACHER||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||11||28.402||2:14.411||25|
|21||22||Frédéric VERVISCH||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||11||31.706||2:15.232||15|
|22||111||Andy PRIAULX||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||11||34.320||2:14.767||23|
|23||50||Tom CORONEL||Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing||CUPRA TCR||11||35.050||2:13.493||27|
|24||29||Néstor GIROLAMI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R TCR||11||57.914||2:13.781||9|
|25||9||Attila TASSI||KCMG||Honda Civic Type R TCR||11||1:14.131||2:13.422||21|
|26||37||Daniel HAGLÖF||PWR Racing||CUPRA TCR||10||+ 1 LAP||2:12.284||4|
|R||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||3||DNF||3:38.126||19|