Norbert Michelisz moved to the top of the FIA World Touring Car Cup drivers standings with victory ahead of BRC team-mate Gabriele Tarquini in a chaotic second race at Ningbo in China.
The reverse-grid race saw Lynk & Co’s Andy Priaulx start from pole position and the Brit duly led comfortably at the start, as behind him there was chaos on the opening lap.
SLR’s Benjamin Leuchter and Tiago Monteiro made contact and ended up in the gravel, whilst BRC’s Augusto Farfus lost control of his car and caused erstwhile points leader Esteban Guerrieri to go off in the process, with the Münnich Motorsport driver spinning into the barriers.
Home hero Ma Qing Hua was also a casualty, coming to a standstill with a broken front-left wheel on his Alfa Romeo.
With numerous cars needing to be recovered the safety car was called and the field neutralised for the following four laps.
Racing resumed on lap six and initially Priaulx made a good restart. However, the Guernseyman could not shake off the chasing Hyundais of Michelisz and Tarquini, and the duo began to apply heavy pressure on lap 11 as the leading Lynk & Co apparently began to suffer with a slow puncture.
The battle for first became a five-way tussle on lap 12, and when Priaulx braked earlier as a result of his puncture, Michelisz hit the back of him and spun Priaulx across the circuit, allowing Tarquini into the lead with Michelisz following in his battered i30.
The duo then swapped positions on lap 13, giving Michelisz the win and moving him to the head of the standings by 14 points after Guerrieri’s retirement.
Tarquin took second, whilst the podium was completed by Yvan Muller, after the third BRC car of Nicky Catsburg dropped back when he made contact with Daniel Haglöf on lap 14 whilst trying in vain to defend his podium.
That contact also gifted Thed Björk fourth position, whilst Haglöf was able to continue and come home as the best-placed CUPRA in fifth.
KCMG’s Attila Tassi was the best Honda driver in sixth, the Hungarian coming through from 16th on the grid in a race of high attrition.
SLR’s Rob Huff was seventh, ahead of the limping Catsburg in eighth, Comtoyou Racing’s Tom Coronel in ninth and Team Mulsanne’s Kevin Ceccon in tenth.
Leopard Racing’s Jean-Karl Vernay had been running in eighth until the last lap when the Audi driver lost out in a five-way tussle for the lower places of the top ten.
Mikel Azcona had been running in sixth but on lap eight the PWR Racing driver slowed with a technical issue on his CUPRA and retired from the race. At the same time, Münnich Motorsport’s Néstor Girolami also retired with a broken front-right wheel after contact on the circuit.
Race three gets underway at 15:50 local time (08:50 BST, 09:50 CEST).
|1||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||15||32:31.594||1:52.864||2|
|2||1||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||15||0.766||1:52.844||5|
|3||100||Yvan MULLER||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||15||1.537||1:53.455||10|
|4||11||Thed BJÖRK||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||15||1.906||1:53.539||3|
|5||37||Daniel HAGLÖF||PWR Racing||CUPRA TCR||15||2.360||1:52.687||12|
|6||9||Attila TASSI||KCMG||Honda Civic Type R TCR||15||6.708||1:53.717||16|
|7||12||Rob HUFF||SLR VW Motorsport||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||15||7.670||1:54.446||20|
|8||88||Nicky CATSBURG||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||15||11.402||1:53.053||7|
|9||50||Tom CORONEL||Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing||CUPRA TCR||15||11.623||1:54.128||21|
|10||31||Kevin CECCON||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||15||11.961||1:53.566||26|
|11||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||15||12.565||1:53.750||13|
|12||25||Mehdi BENNANI||SLR VW Motorsport||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||15||12.766||1:54.706||24|
|13||14||Johan KRISTOFFERSSON||SLR Volkswagen||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||15||13.120||1:54.857||22|
|14||52||Gordon SHEDDEN||Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||15||13.676||1:54.681||25|
|15||68||Yann EHRLACHER||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||15||14.307||1:54.461||9|
|R||111||Andy PRIAULX||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||13||DNF||1:52.831||1|
|R||21||Aurélien PANIS||Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing||CUPRA TCR||10||DNF||1:54.303||8|
|R||96||Mikel AZCONA||PWR Racing||CUPRA TCR||7||DNF||1:53.577||15|
|R||29||Néstor GIROLAMI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R TCR||7||DNF||1:54.574||17|
|R||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||KCMG||Honda Civic Type R TCR||4||DNF||1:55.800||18|
|R||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R TCR||4||DNF||N/A||6|
|R||22||Frédéric VERVISCH||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||3||DNF||N/A||14|
|R||8||Augusto FARFUS||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||0||DNF||N/A||4|
|R||55||Ma QING HUA||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||0||DNF||N/A||11|
|R||33||Benjamin LEUCHTER||SLR Volkswagen||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||0||DNF||N/A||19|
|NS||10||Niels LANGEVELD||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||–||DNS||N/A||23|