Norbert Michelisz wins to move back to top of drivers’ standings

Norbert Michelisz wins to move back to top of drivers’ standings

Norbert Michelisz
Photo: Florent Gooden / DPPI

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.

Race result

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
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
WTCR points deficit after Round 23
Graphic: TouringCars.Net