Yvan Muller wins as Lynk & Co score 1-2 in final Ningbo...

Yvan Muller wins as Lynk & Co score 1-2 in final Ningbo race

Yvan Muller
Photo: Frederic Le Floc'h / DPPI

Yvan Muller took victory ahead of team-mate Yann Ehrlacher in the final FIA World Touring Car Cup race at Ningbo in China, hauling the Lynk & Co driver into title contention with a near-perfect weekend points score.

Muller started the race from pole position and took a lights-to-flag win, successfully defending at two safety car restarts after eight laps were spent under yellow flag conditions.

The result lifts the Frenchman to just 17 points from the lead of the drivers’ standings, after the 50-year-old also took victory in Saturday’s opening race and third in Sunday’s earlier race two.

Ehrlacher finished in second just behind his Uncle, scoring his sixth podium of the season, whilst the podium was completed by BRC Racing’s Gabriele Tarquini, who took his second podium of the weekend.

The race was punctuated by two lengthy safety car periods, with the first coming, like race two, after the opening lap when Jean-Karl Vernay ended up in the gravel at Turn 1 after Frédéric Vervisch had tried to come between the Frenchman and Daniel Haglöf, turning the CUPRA and Audi into each other and ending both their races.

The first safety car phase lasted three laps, and a second five-lap neutralisation of the race was required on lap six when KCMG’s Tiago Monteiro was turned into the pit wall by SLR’s Mehdi Bennani, for which the latter received a drive-through penalty.

Tarquini had earlier moved past Thed Björk to take fourth on the second restart on lap ten, before the third-placed Augusto Farfus then allowed the Italian through on lap 12.

Farfus took fourth, acting as a rear gunner for Tarquini, ahead of Björk in fifth.

Comtoyou Racing’s Aurélien Panis was sixth, ahead of Vervisch in seventh, who is under investigation for the incident on lap one.

Münnich Motorsport’s Néstor Girolami was eighth, scoring the best result of the weekend for the team in a disastrous weekend for the Honda outfit. His team-mate Esteban Guerrieri, the points leader heading to China, retired after five laps.

Team Mulsanne’s Kevin Ceccon and SLR’s Johan Kristoffersson completed the top ten, having benefitted when Ma Qung Hua, who had charged through the field from a pit lane start, made contact with Girolami on lap 15 whilst tussling for eighth.

Lynk & Co’s Andy Priaulx was 11th, the Brit having been hit hard by BRC’s Norbert Michelisz on the opening lap at Turn 8, in contact with ended Michelisz’s race in the barriers. The Hungarian nevertheless remains as the points leader after Guerrieri also retired.

Race result

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 100 Yvan MULLER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 18 38:40.228 1:53.295 1
2 68 Yann EHRLACHER Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 18 0.431 1:53.370 2
3 1 Gabriele TARQUINI BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR 18 1.234 1:53.126 6
4 8 Augusto FARFUS BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 18 3.830 1:53.331 7
5 11 Thed BJÖRK Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 18 4.248 1:53.132 8
6 21 Aurélien PANIS Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing CUPRA TCR 18 5.064 1:53.388 3
7 22 Frédéric VERVISCH Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 18 6.891 1:53.457 14
8 29 Néstor GIROLAMI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR 18 11.729 1:53.210 11
9 31 Kevin CECCON Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 18 12.396 1:53.421 25
10 14 Johan KRISTOFFERSSON SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 18 13.903 1:54.096 21
11 111 Andy PRIAULX Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 18 16.238 1:53.961 10
12 50 Tom CORONEL Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing CUPRA TCR 18 16.884 1:54.084 20
13 9 Attila TASSI KCMG Honda Civic Type R TCR 18 19.654 1:54.069 16
14 25 Mehdi BENNANI SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 18 28.521 1:53.833 23
15 52 Gordon SHEDDEN Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 18 37.661 1:55.033 24
16 55 Ma QING HUA Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 16 + 2 LAPS 1:53.282 26
R 88 Nicky CATSBURG BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 10 DNF 1:53.450 4
R 86 Esteban GUERRIERI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR 5 DNF 1:55.318 5
R 18 Tiago MONTEIRO KCMG Honda Civic Type R TCR 5 DNF 1:56.731 17
R 96 Mikel AZCONA PWR Racing CUPRA TCR 5 DNF 1:54.474 15
R 12 Rob HUFF SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 5 DNF 2:21.455 19
R 10 Niels LANGEVELD Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 4 DNF 2:20.527 22
R 5 Norbert MICHELISZ BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR 1 DNF N/A 9
R 37 Daniel HAGLÖF PWR Racing CUPRA TCR 0 DNF N/A 12
R 69 Jean-Karl VERNAY Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 0 DNF N/A 13
NS 33 Benjamin LEUCHTER SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR DNS N/A 18