Ma Qing Hua fends off Norbert Michelisz for race three win

Ma Qing Hua fends off Norbert Michelisz for race three win

Ma Qing Hua
Photo: Florent Gooden / DPPI

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.

Race result

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
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