Norbert Michelisz clinches title as Johan Kristoffersson wins final race

Norbert Michelisz clinches title as Johan Kristoffersson wins final race

Norbert Michelisz
Photo: Florent Gooden / DPPI

Norbert Michelisz was crowned the 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup champion in the final race of the season in Sepang, as title rival Esteban Guerrieri was taken out and Johan Kristoffersson came from 22nd on the grid to win.

Michelisz started the final race in Malaysia from pole position, but the BRC Racing driver didn’t get off the line as well, allowing Guerrieri’s Honda to draw alongside heading into Turn 1.

Michelisz cautiously braked early, whilst Guerrieri and PWR Racing’s Mikel Azcona went around the outside, leaving the Hungarian in third.

Whilst that would still have been good enough for Michelisz to take the title, SLR’s Kristoffersson then pass Michelisz for third at Turn 9, the Swede having got a lightning start from 22nd on the grid.

Azcona and Guerrieri duelled into the second lap, before the race was neutralised under the safety car when Augusto Farfus beached his Hyundai in the gravel on the first lap.

The race resumed on lap five, when Azcona resumed his battle with Guerrieri for the lead. The CUPRA driver made contact with the Honda driver at Turn 12, which pitched Guerrieri onto the grass as Azcona moved into the lead.

The incident would prove to be decisive in the title race, as Guerrieri’s car began to lose power on the following lap as a result of grass blocking the radiator intake on the front of his car.

Kristoffersson moved into second as a result, with Michelisz in third and heading for the title, despite then losing the position to Comtoyou Racing’s Frédéric Vervisch two laps later.

A late race safety car was required when Gordon Shedden embedded his Audi in the gravel, leaving the season to be concluded with a four-lap sprint.

Guerrieri in the meantime visited the pits to have his radiator cleared, only to be waved through by mechanics. Amidst clear confusion in the Münnich Motorsport garage, Guerrieri then pitted again on the following lap to finally get the front of his Honda cleared.

When the race resumed on lap 11 Kristoffersson passed Azcona at the final corner, with the Swede going on to win from the lowest grid position to taker victory in WTCR history.

Azcona was second, with Team Mulsanne’s Kevin Ceccon in third, after the Alfa Romeo driver passed Michelisz just before the safety car period.

Vervisch was fourth, ahead of an elated Michelisz in fifth, and outgoing champion Gabriele Tarquini in sixth.

Münnich Motorsport’s Néstor Girolami claimed seventh from KCMG’s Tiago Monteiro on the final lap, with the latter taking eighth.

Thed Björk was the leading Lynk & Co driver in ninth, helping Cyan Racing to secure the Teams’ title, whilst the top ten was completed by SLR’s Benjamin Leuchter.

Nicky Catsburg did not take up his fourth-place on the grid after the BRC driver was disqualified before the race for contact with Yvan Muller in race two.

Michelisz wins the title with 370 points, ahead of Guerrieri on 349 and Muller on 328.

Race result

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 14 Johan KRISTOFFERSSON SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 14 39:02.972 2:33.460 22
2 96 Mikel AZCONA PWR Racing CUPRA TCR 14 2.026 2:33.753 3
3 31 Kevin CECCON Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 14 2.182 2:34.096 7
4 22 Frédéric VERVISCH Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 14 4.296 2:33.668 8
5 5 Norbert MICHELISZ BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR 14 9.297 2:35.392 1
6 1 Gabriele TARQUINI BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR 14 9.905 2:34.868 5
7 29 Néstor GIROLAMI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR 14 13.150 2:33.291 9
8 18 Tiago MONTEIRO KCMG Honda Civic Type R TCR 14 14.737 2:35.797 16
9 11 Thed BJÖRK Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 14 17.308 2:36.194 19
10 33 Benjamin LEUCHTER SLR Volkswagen Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 14 17.807 2:35.551 21
11 12 Rob HUFF SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 14 19.279 2:35.934 26
12 69 Jean-Karl VERNAY Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 14 21.373 2:35.083 20
13 100 Yvan MULLER Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 14 24.479 2:36.566 13
14 111 Andy PRIAULX Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 14 25.776 2:36.256 27
15 37 Daniel HAGLÖF PWR Racing CUPRA TCR 14 26.418 2:37.096 24
16 15 Hafizh SYAHRIN Bin Abdullah Hyundai Team Engstler Hyundai i30 N TCR 14 36.567 2:39.089 28
17 68 Yann EHRLACHER Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR 14 36.827 2:39.671 18
18 25 Mehdi BENNANI SLR VW Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 14 37.687 2:39.204 23
19 27 Mitchell CHEAH Min Jie Hyundai Team Engstler Hyundai i30 N TCR 14 40.223 2:39.736 30
20 10 Niels LANGEVELD Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 14 43.171 2:40.436 11
21 65 Douglas KHOO Kok Hui Viper Niza Racing CUPRA TCR 14 56.247 2:43.476 29
22 86 Esteban GUERRIERI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR 14 59.437 2:32.050 2
23 55 Ma QING HUA Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 14 1:50.645 2:39.704 10
R 38 João Paulo Lima DE OLIVEIRA KC Motorgroup Honda Civic Type R TCR 10 DNF 2:38.245 25
R 52 Gordon SHEDDEN Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audi RS3 LMS TCR 7 DNF 2:38.691 15
R 50 Tom CORONEL Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing CUPRA TCR 5 DNF 2:44.533 17
R 8 Augusto FARFUS BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 0 DNF N/A 6
R 9 Attila TASSI KCMG Honda Civic Type R TCR 0 DNF N/A 12
R 21 Aurélien PANIS Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing CUPRA TCR 0 DNF N/A 14
NS 88 Nicky CATSBURG BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR DNS N/A
WTCR points deficit after Round 30
Graphic: TouringCars.Net