Norbert Michelisz moved back to the top of the FIA World Touring Car Cup drivers’ standings with victory in race two at Suzuka, holding off race-long pressure from Rob Huff to record his fourth win of the year.
Michelisz led the reverse-grid race from lights-to-flag in Japan, holding off a stern challenge from SLR’s Huff at the very start of the race, as the Volkswagen driver had immediately looked to get past the Hyundai on the inside line into Turn 1.
Huff kept close to Michelisz’s rear bumper for the duration of the race, but ultimately the Volkswagen driver was unable to find a gap on the Hyundai, as Michelisz consistently covered his line into the Turn 1 braking zone.
In a race which was largely without much passing, Gabriele Tarquini completed the podium in third, despite race-long pressure from the Alfa Romeo of Kevin Ceccon, with the Team Mulsanne driver having to settle for fourth.
Ceccon did have an attempt to pass Tarquini on the outside line into Turn 1 with three laps to go, but Tarquini made light contact with his fellow Italian and held the position.
Thed Björk was the top Lynk & Co driver in fifth, with the Swede withstanding heavy pressure from KCMG’s Tiago Monteiro in sixth late in the race.
Johan Kristoffersson brought his Volkswagen home in seventh, ahead of PWR Racing’s Mikel Azcona in eighth.
WRT’s Jean-Karl Vernay took ninth after the Audi driver passed Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri on lap 22, having one lap previously passed both Néstor Girolami and SLR’s Benjamin Leuchter with a strong move at Turn 1.
In finishing tenth, Guerrieri limited his points loss to Michelisz in the standings, with the Argentine now eight points behind.
Leuchter was 11th, whilst Girolami took 12th after dropping behind the German on the final lap of the race.
Comtoyou Racing’s Frédéric Vervisch was 13th, making up more places than any other driver in the points after starting from 18th on the grid,
Cyan Racing duo Yvan Muller and Yann Ehrlacher completed the points, with Muller thus remaining in third in the standings after two points for 14th.
Comtoyou Racing’s Niels Langeveld, who finished on the podium in Saturday’s opening race, was the only retirement, with the Audi driver having been hit by BRC’s Augusto Farfus on lap 15.
|1||5||Norbert MICHELISZ||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||24||22:01.538||53.888||1|
|2||12||Rob HUFF||SLR VW Motorsport||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||24||0.293||53.968||2|
|3||1||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse||Hyundai i30 N TCR||24||8.205||54.075||3|
|4||31||Kevin CECCON||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||24||8.531||54.111||4|
|5||11||Thed BJÖRK||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||24||11.102||54.299||5|
|6||18||Tiago MONTEIRO||KCMG||Honda Civic Type R TCR||24||11.330||54.446||8|
|7||14||Johan KRISTOFFERSSON||SLR Volkswagen||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||24||11.699||54.390||9|
|8||96||Mikel AZCONA||PWR Racing||CUPRA TCR||24||12.114||54.481||7|
|9||69||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||24||12.883||54.566||13|
|10||86||Esteban GUERRIERI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R TCR||24||18.072||54.450||6|
|11||33||Benjamin LEUCHTER||SLR Volkswagen||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||24||18.273||54.647||12|
|12||29||Néstor GIROLAMI||ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport||Honda Civic Type R TCR||24||19.580||54.554||11|
|13||22||Frédéric VERVISCH||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||24||19.958||54.879||18|
|14||100||Yvan MULLER||Cyan Racing Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||24||20.134||54.536||17|
|15||68||Yann EHRLACHER||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||24||20.367||54.892||15|
|16||111||Andy PRIAULX||Cyan Performance Lynk & Co||Lynk & Co 03 TCR||24||20.741||54.891||16|
|17||7||Ryuichiro TOMITA||Audi Team Hitotsuyama||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||24||21.025||54.945||14|
|18||88||Nicky CATSBURG||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||24||21.517||54.962||19|
|19||21||Aurélien PANIS||Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing||CUPRA TCR||24||22.517||54.914||27|
|20||52||Gordon SHEDDEN||Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||24||26.168||54.918||26|
|21||8||Augusto FARFUS||BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||24||28.366||55.027||28|
|22||50||Tom CORONEL||Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing||CUPRA TCR||24||29.493||54.952||29|
|23||55||Ma QING HUA||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||24||30.037||54.753||23|
|24||9||Attila TASSI||KCMG||Honda Civic Type R TCR||24||32.744||54.941||10|
|25||77||Ritomo MIYATA||Audi Team Hitotsuyama||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||24||32.902||54.922||22|
|26||37||Daniel HAGLÖF||PWR Racing||CUPRA TCR||24||33.112||54.825||24|
|27||25||Mehdi BENNANI||SLR VW Motorsport||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||24||33.504||54.960||20|
|28||19||Jim KA TO||KC Motorgroup||Honda Civic Type R TCR||24||52.139||55.299||21|
|R||10||Niels LANGEVELD||Comtoyou Team Audi Sport||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||15||DNF||54.895||25|