Norbert Michelisz slashed the gap to points leader Esteban Guerrieri with victory in the opening FIA World Touring Car Cup race on the streets of Vila Real, as his rival failed to pick up any points.
BRC Racing’s Michelisz followed up his superb qualifying lap with an equally flawless race performance, getting a strong start and taking his joker lap whilst in clean air to ensure that he was never threatened for the win.
Lynk & Co’s Yann Ehrlacher was second, the Frenchman getting the jump on the second Hyundai of Augusto Farfus when he used his joker lap on lap four to slingshot the Brazilian.
Farfus, who had been a cork in the bottle which allowed Michelisz to escape early on, completed the podium, making his second visit to the rostrum in as many race meetings.
Rob Huff was the leading Volkswagen in fourth, the SLR driver unable to find a way to challenge for a podium, ahead of Nicky Catsburg’s BRC Hyundai in fifth.
Comtoyou Racing’s Aurélien Panis was sixth, the CUPRA driver only gaining a place when Ma Qing Hua made a poor start in his Alfa Romeo as the lights went out – the Chinese driver ultimately dropping to 19th by the end of the opening tour.
SLR’s Johan Kristoffersson was seventh, ahead of Lynk & Co duo Thed Björk and Yvan Muller in eighth and ninth, whilst the Audi of Jean-Karl Vernay completed the top ten in a relatively uneventful race.
The biggest drama came when BRC’s Gabriele Tarquini and KCMG’s Tiago Monteiro made contact on lap five, the duo dropping from the edge of the top ten to the back of the field as they had to reverse out of the barriers after contact at the corner apex.
Michelisz has slashed Guerrieri’s points lead with his pole and win, the Hungarian being just 15 points behind after the Münnich Motorsport driver was 24th in the race. Guerrieri had been running on the edge of the points but dropped back as a problem struck his Honda late in the race.
Qualifying for races two and three gets underway at 10:00 WEST / BST (11:00 CEST) on Sunday.
|1||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||11||11 LAPS||2:03.019||1|
|2||68||Yann EHRLACHER||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||11||2.291||2:02.879||3|
|3||8||Augusto FARFUS||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||11||3.009||2:03.245||2|
|4||12||Rob HUFF||SLR VW Motorsport||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||11||3.538||2:02.977||4|
|5||88||Nicky CATSBURG||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||11||7.630||2:03.169||6|
|6||21||Aurélien PANIS||Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing||CUPRA TCR||11||8.437||2:03.243||7|
|7||14||Johan KRISTOFFERSSON||SLR Volkswagen||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||11||10.344||2:03.006||8|
|8||11||Thed BJÖRK||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||11||11.349||2:03.041||9|
|9||100||Yvan MULLER||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||11||16.051||2:03.465||12|
|10||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||11||17.248||2:03.969||11|
|11||29||Néstor GIROLAMI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R TCR||11||19.081||2:03.888||13|
|12||111||Andy PRIAULX||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||11||22.000||2:03.839||15|
|13||96||Mikel AZCONA||PWR Racing||CUPRA TCR||11||22.775||2:04.082||17|
|14||55||Ma QING HUA||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||11||23.735||2:03.965||5|
|15||10||Niels LANGEVELD||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||11||26.254||2:04.434||18|
|16||33||Benjamin LEUCHTER||SLR Volkswagen||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||11||28.016||2:04.475||19|
|17||52||Gordon SHEDDEN||Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||11||29.525||2:04.578||20|
|18||50||Tom CORONEL||Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing||CUPRA TCR||11||29.757||2:04.336||21|
|19||31||Kevin CECCON||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||11||30.743||2:04.255||25|
|20||22||Frédéric VERVISCH||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||11||32.409||2:04.721||24|
|21||9||Attila TASSI||KCMG||Honda Civic Type R TCR||11||33.515||2:04.092||22|
|22||25||Mehdi BENNANI||SLR VW Motorsport||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||11||34.014||2:04.098||23|
|23||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||KCMG||Honda Civic Type R TCR||11||40.051||2:04.149||14|
|24||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R TCR||11||53.762||2:04.044||16|
|25||37||Daniel HAGLÖF||PWR Racing||CUPRA TCR||11||53.926||2:04.051||26|
|R||1||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||6||DNF||2:04.276||10|