Johan Kristoffersson claims lights-to-flag Suzuka win

Johan Kristoffersson claims lights-to-flag Suzuka win

Johan Kristoffersson
Photo: Florent Gooden / DPPI

Johan Kristoffersson converted his first-ever pole position in the FIA World Touring Car Cup into a lights-to-flag win in race three at Suzuka, with the Volkswagen driver bagging his second win of the season.

At the start, Kristoffersson briefly lost the lead to the Honda of Tiago Monteiro into the first corner, but the Swede took a different line and cut back up the inside of his rival on the exit of the turn to re-gain the lead.

Thereafter, Kristoffersson was able to extend a comfortable margin at the front of the field to eventually win ahead of Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri, who moved into second late in the race when Monteiro tactically dropped back.

Third went to Team Mulsanne’s Kevin Ceccon, who claimed the final podium position on the final lap, after a late-race charge from the Alfa Romeo driver which saw him gain three places in three laps in the final third, having been in seventh with ten laps to go.

Monteiro took the chequered flag in fourth, giving the KCMG driver his best overall weekend score in WTCR since returning full-time at the start of the season.

Cyan Racing’s Thed Björk was fifth, once again the leading Lynk & Co driver, elevating the Swede above team-mate Yvan Muller in the championship standings.

BRC Racing’s Gabriele Tarquini was the leading Hyundai driver in sixth, with the Italian battling past the Lynk & Co of Andy Priaulx for the position on lap 25.

Priaulx claimed seventh ahead of fellow Brit Rob Huff in eighth, the latter having dropped back a couple of positions in the final few laps of the race, having run in seventh early on.

Norbert Michelisz brought his Hyundai home in ninth, which was not enough to maintain the points lead he took after his race two victory, with the Hungarian dropping to seven points behind Guerrieri in the standings.

The top ten was completed by WRT’s Jean-Karl Vernay, who had been pressuring Michelisz ahead for much of the race.

BRC’s Nicky Catsburg was 11th, ahead of SLR’s Benjamin Leuchter in 12th. Frédéric Vervisch again made up five places, just as in race two, to claim 13th, ahead of the second Münnich Honda of Néstor Girolami in 14th.

Cyan Racing’s Yvan Muller completed the points positions in 15th, the Frenchman benefitting when KCMG’s Attila Tassi, who finished 11th on the road, was given a post-race five-second time penalty for being out of position on the starting grid.

Muller had spent more than half the race trying to find a way past the Honda of Girolami, with his inability to do so meaning the Frenchman has dropped to 50 points back in the title race.

Comtoyou Racing’s Tom Coronel was eliminated on the opening lap when wildcard entry Ritomo Miyata speared into the side of his CUPRA in the S-Curves, with the incident also resulting in damage to Ma Qing Hua’s Alfa Romeo, resulting in his later retirement from the race.

Race result

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 14 Johan KRISTOFFERSSON SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 30 30:07.581 53.912 1
2 86 Esteban GUERRIERI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR 30 3.070 54.515 4
3 31 Kevin CECCON Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 30 7.586 54.878 7
4 18 Tiago MONTEIRO KCMG Honda Civic Type R TCR 30 10.394 54.334 2
5 11 Thed BJÖRK Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 30 11.063 54.652 6
6 1 Gabriele TARQUINI BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR 30 11.715 54.685 8
7 111 Andy PRIAULX Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 30 12.545 54.824 5
8 12 Rob HUFF SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 30 13.104 54.801 9
9 5 Norbert MICHELISZ BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR 30 13.864 54.984 10
10 69 Jean-Karl VERNAY Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 30 14.838 54.845 14
11 88 Nicky CATSBURG BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 30 18.340 54.590 19
12 33 Benjamin LEUCHTER SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 30 18.942 54.676 13
13 22 Frédéric VERVISCH Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 30 19.252 54.600 18
14 29 Néstor GIROLAMI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR 30 19.770 55.171 12
15 100 Yvan MULLER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 30 19.952 54.597 17
16 8 Augusto FARFUS BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 30 21.068 54.405 28
17 68 Yann EHRLACHER Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 30 21.812 54.744 16
18 9 Attila TASSI KCMG Honda Civic Type R TCR 30 22.087 55.078 11
19 21 Aurélien PANIS Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing CUPRA TCR 30 23.476 54.569 27
20 96 Mikel AZCONA PWR Racing CUPRA TCR 30 24.001 54.580 3
21 52 Gordon SHEDDEN Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 30 27.669 55.102 26
22 19 Jim KA TO KC Motorgroup Honda Civic Type R TCR 30 40.961 55.327 21
R 7 Ryuichiro TOMITA Audi Team Hitotsuyama Audi RS3 LMS TCR 27 DNF 54.456 15
R 37 Daniel HAGLÖF PWR Racing CUPRA TCR 26 DNF 55.099 24
R 10 Niels LANGEVELD Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 24 DNF 54.201 25
R 55 Ma QING HUA Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 11 DNF 56.550 23
R 25 Mehdi BENNANI SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 1 DNF N/A 20
R 77 Ritomo MIYATA Audi Team Hitotsuyama Audi RS3 LMS TCR 0 DNF N/A 22
R 50 Tom CORONEL Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing CUPRA TCR 0 DNF N/A 29
WTCR points deficit after Round 24
Graphic: TouringCars.Net