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Norbert Michelisz admits he needed big points on Saturday

Norbert Michelisz was pleased to take the lead of the championship in the opening FIA World Touring Car Cup race in Macau, with the Hungarian finishing second behind Yvan Muller.

Michelisz started the race on the front row of the grid, but the Hyundai driver had no answer to Muller’s pace at the front, only being able to close the gap in the very late stages of the race.

The BRC Racing driver will have a much more difficult task on Sunday, when he starts both races from 12th on the grid after being unable to post a time in Q2 when he crashed into the back of Gordon Shedden’s stricken Audi.

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“First of all there are still five races to go,” said Michelisz. “You saw that [the changeable nature of the title fight] in Qualifying 2. We were a bit unlucky yesterday. I needed to take maximum points today.

“This is why I really tried hard, especially at the start to jump Yvan. But at the start, on the first lap and all the way he did a perfect job, so congrats to him.

“I really tried my best and he was quite strong in sector two. I was stronger in the last and first sector so I was always closing the gap under braking for Turn 3, but then he had an advantage compared to me.”

Michelisz has moved into the lead with an 18-point advantage over Honda’s Esteban Guerrieri, after the Argentine failed to score in race one.

The 35-year-old maintains that he is not thinking of the title, and hopes to just get through Sunday’s two races intact.

“[It was] important points. I think tomorrow will be a difficult day for us.

“Like I said, if it’s 18 points, 30 points or five points it doesn’t really matter so much right now.

“For me the most important thing is to have two clean races tomorrow and grab some points.”

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