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WTCC 2017 - MACAU

Sábado, 18 Novembro 2017 15:45 | Actualizado em Quinta, 18 Outubro 2018 19:30

WTCC STREET STAR BENNANI WINS IN MACAU
 

OPENING RACE REPORT: FIA WTCC JVCKENWOOD Race of Macau Suncity Group Macau Guia Race
16-19 November 2017, FIA World Touring Car Championship, Rounds 17 and 18 of 20

*Moroccan flies to maiden Guia Race victory for Sébastien Loeb Racing
*Drama for title chaser Michelisz as leader Björk finishes fourth
*Michigami lands first WTCC podium for high-scoring Honda

Mehdi Bennani led all the way to claim victory in the Opening Race at WTCC JVCKENWOOD Race of Macau as FIA World Touring Car Championship title contender Norbert Michelisz was involved a crash that stopped the exciting action early on the tight Guia street track.

Sébastien Loeb Racing-run Bennani made a perfect start from his reverse-grid DHL Pole Position and was never challenged in his Citroën C-Elysée WTCC, as Macau veteran Tom Coronel consolidated his second place on the grid with the runner-up spot for ROAL Motorsport.

“It’s very special to win here in Macau,” said a delighted Bennani, whose win was his third of 2017 and the sixth of his WTCC career. “It’s such a challenging circuit and it’s great to put my name with the likes of Schumacher and Senna as a winner at Macau! Thanks to everybody!"

The race around the 6.120-kilometre track came to an early end after Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team driver Michelisz clipped a wall. His Honda Civic WTCC blocked the track, leaving Esteban Guerrieri, Rob Huff, Tom Chilton and the rest of the field with no way to pass. There was no option but to red flag the race and results were called after five of the scheduled eight laps.

Behind Bennani – who also won the WTCC Trophy for independent racers – and Coronel, Ryo Michigami claimed a maiden podium, the first in the WTCC by a Japanese driver, with third place in his Honda Racing Team JAS Civic. He finished ahead of Thed Björk, who restored his 16.5-point championship lead in his Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo S60, having dropped two points to Michelisz in qualifying on Friday.

Björk’s main title rival Michelisz was still classified fifth from eighth on the grid despite his accident. Honda team-mate Esteban Guerrieri was sixth ahead of Main Race DHL Pole Position setter Rob Huff. The Briton and eight-time Suncity Group Guia Race winner started ninth and overtook RC Motorsport’s Kevin Gleason to make progress on a circuit where it is famously difficult to pass.

Fellow Briton Tom Chilton was eighth in his Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën, while Nicky Catsburg took ninth in his Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo. The Dutchman holds third in the standings but is now 1.5 points ahead of Bennani, who moves up to fourth overall. Gleason rounded out the top 10 with John Filippi and Yann Ehrlacher next up.

Néstor Girolami finished P13 for Polestar Cyan Racing, Ma Qing Hua took P14 on his WTCC return having crashed in qualifying. Dániel Nagy and Zsolt Dávid Szabó were P15 and P16 respectively in their Zengő Motorsport Hondas. Macau-based Mak Ka Lok (RC Motorsport) finished P17 on his first WTCC start since 2014. Newcomer Po Wah Wong completed the finishers in a Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1.

The Main Race at WTCC JVCKENWOOD Race of Macau takes place on Sunday at 10h45 local time. New regulations for the event will effectively allow teams unlimited OSCARO Repair Time to ready their cars for the event’s 12-lap finale.

RACE WINNER QUOTES (full transcript at http://media.fiawtcc.com)
Mehdi Bennani (Opening Race winner): “Friday was very tricky for me and I didn’t manage one lap in Q2 but it was enough to be P10 and I was very lucky to be on pole for the Opening Race and now I am very happy. I think I have the best win in my career because to win in Macau is something very special and to win in front of drivers like Tom Coronel and Rob Huff is also very, very special because they are very talented and experienced drivers here in Macau. Congratulations to Tom and also to Michigami who starts to do some podiums and everybody who starts to make podiums in the WTCC doesn’t stop because it’s a big challenge to make podiums in the WTCC.”

HONDA BEATS VOLVO POLESTAR TO MACAU WTCC MAC3 SUCCESS
The Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team secured a comfortable victory in the Manufacturers Against the Clock team time trial at WTCC JVCKENWOOD Race of Macau ahead of a hobbled Polestar Cyan Racing team. Norbert Michelisz led the charge of Honda Civic WTCCs off the line at the start of the team's run, with Esteban Guerrieri and Ryo Michigami slotting in behind the title hopeful. The trio completed their two-lap run of the Circuito da Guia in a time of 5m04.465s, which ended up comfortably faster than the Volvo S60s that ran second. The results of WTCC MAC3 and qualifying means Volvo Polestar’s lead in the battle to win the FIA World Touring Car Championship for Manufacturers has been cut to 40.5 points heading into the first of two races tomorrow (Saturday). “I’m pretty happy with today’s results,” said Honda Team Principal Alessandro Mariani. “We’ve been inside the top two in every session and have shown excellent speed and consistency. Norbi’s front-row grid spot and our MAC3 win are both good for the championship.” After Néstor Girolami and Nicky Catsburg were both caught up in incidents during qualifying, all three Volvo drivers - led by Thed Björk - cruised around the circuit and brought their cars home safely in a time of 8m48.108s. “Looking at how the race weekend has progressed so far with all incidents and the amount of points that we have scored at the end of the day, I must say that this is a result to be pleased with,” said Alexander Murdzevski Schedvin, Head of Motorsport at Polestar. “We must continue to push hard in the races to score as many points as possible.”

RESULTS/STANDINGS


 
WTCC Race of Macau Opening Race start-jpg WTCC Race of Macau Mehdi Bennani-jpg WTCC Race of Macau Ryo Michigami-jpg
 


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