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Björk claims WTCC title glory in Qatar

Written by  Dec 02, 2017

Tom Chilton and Esteban Guerrieri shared the wins but it was Thed Björk who came out on top of a tense title showdown in Qatar as the provisional FIA World Touring Car champion for 2017.

In his second full WTCC campaign with the factory Polestar Cyan Racing team, Björk started the final weekend of the season 6.5 points in front of Norbert Michelisz.

But a brake issue in qualifying left his Honda-driving rival out of contention as Björk drove without fault to touring car racing’s biggest prize on the back of standout wins at Monza and the Nürburgring Nordschleife earlier in the year.

Fifth in the Opening Race, the Swede was heading for a podium in the Main Race before handing the place back to team-mate Nicky Catsburg following an earlier gesture by the Dutchman.

And during a night of Swedish celebration, Volvo Polestar won the FIA World Touring Car Championship for Manufacturers with Catsburg and Yvan Muller – on his return to the WTCC – helping to ensure it beat Honda by 28.5 points. Néstor Girolami also performed strongly for the team in 2017, winning from pole in China.

Elsewhere, Tom Chilton beat fellow Briton Rob Huff and his Sébastien Loeb Racing team-mate Mehdi Bennani to the WTCC Trophy for independent racers, winning the Opening Race to boot ahead of Bennani and Kevin Gleason, with the American claiming his first WTCC top-three.

Esteban Guerrieri marked an impressive debut WTCC bid with the Main Race victory for Honda and was joined on the podium by Tiago Monteiro, the former world championship leader he replaced after the Portuguese was injured in a testing crash in September. Huff and Catsburg completed the podium amid emotional scenes.

John Filippi finished a career-best fourth in the Opening Race with Muller sixth and title contender Michelisz down in ninth from P11 on the grid. Tom Coronel, Kris Richard, Yann Ehrlacher, Ryo Michigami, Dániel Nagy and Zsolt Dávid Szabó completed the Opening Race finishers.

In the Main Race, former ETCC champion Richard made up for his hesitant start in the first counter, passing Muller with an audacious move to finish sixth on only his fourth WTCC start.

Filippi and Michigami rounded out the points scorers, with Coronel just missing out in P11. Bennani retired with damage following first-corner contact with Muller.

RACE WINNERS IN 2017

Event

Opening Race

Main Race

FIA WTCC Race of Morocco

Esteban Guerrieri

(Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1)

Tiago Monteiro

(Honda Civic WTCC)

FIA WTCC Race of Italy

Tom Chilton

(Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)

Thed Björk

(Volvo S60 Polestar)

FIA WTCC Race of Hungary

Tiago Monteiro

(Honda Civic WTCC)

Mehdi Bennani

(Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)

FIA WTCC Race of Germany

Thed Björk

(Volvo S60 Polestar)

Nicky Catsburg

(Volvo S60 Polestar)

FIA WTCC Race of Portugal

Mehdi Bennani

(Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)

Norbert Michelisz

(Honda Civic WTCC)

FIA WTCC Race of Argentina

Yann Ehrlacher

(LADA Vesta WTCC)

Norbert Michelisz

(Honda Civic WTCC)

FIA WTCC Race of China

Esteban Guerrieri

(Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1)

Néstor Girolami

(Volvo S60 Polestar)

FIA WTCC Race of Japan

Tom Chilton

(Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)

Norbert Michelisz

(Honda Civic WTCC)

FIA WTCC Race of Macau

Mehdi Bennani

(Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)

Rob Huff

(Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)

FIA WTCC Race of Qatar

Tom Chilton

(Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)

Esteban Guerrieri

(Honda Civic WTCC)

PROVISIONAL STATISTICS
Drivers (after round 20/20): 
1 Björk 283.5pts; 2 Michelisz 255; 3 Chilton 248.5; 4 Guerrieri 241; 5 Catsburg 238.5; 6 Bennani 234; 7 Huff 215; 8 Monteiro 200; 9 Girolami 112; 10 Ehrlacher 90; etc.
Manufacturers (20/20): 1 Volvo Polestar 908.5; 2 Honda 880
WTCC Trophy (20/20): 1 Chilton 138; 2 Huff 129; 3 Bennani 128.5; 4 Guerrieri 85; 5 Ehrlacher 80; 6 Coronel 68.5; 7 Filippi 61; 8 Gleason 45.5; 9 Nagy 13; 10 Richard 11; etc.
WTCC Teams (20/20): 1 Sébastien Loeb Racing 175; 2 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich M’sport 128; 3 Campos Racing 109; 4 RC Motorsport 109; 5 ROAL Motorsport 91.5; 6 Zengő Motorsport 61
All-time race wins (top 5): Y Muller 48; Huff and López 29; Menu 23; Tarquini 22
All-time pole positions (top 5): Y Muller 29; López 21; Tarquini 17; Menu 15; Huff 13
All-time fastest laps (top 5): Y Muller 38; Huff 30; López 29; Tarquini 24; Menu 20
All-time laps led (top 5): Y Muller 571; Huff 358; López 301; Menu 297; Tarquini 295
Season wins: Bennani, Chilton, Guerrieri and Michelisz 3; Björk and Monteiro 2; Catsburg, Ehrlacher, Girolami, Huff 1
Season pole positions: Michelisz 3; Huff 2; Björk, Catsburg, Girolami, Guerrieri and Monteiro 1
Season fastest laps: Guerrieri 4; Björk, Catsburg and Huff 3; Chilton 2; Bennani, Ma, Michelisz and Nagy 1
Season laps led: Bennani 40; Monteiro 36; Chilton 32; Michelisz 27; Guerrieri 27; Huff 14; Björk 13; Coronel 11; Catsburg and Ehrlacher 9; Girolami 3; Gleason 1

FIA WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP HALL OF FAME

 

Year

Driver (NAT)

Manufacturer

2017

Thed Björk (SWE), Volvo S60 Polestar

Volvo Polestar

2016

José María López (ARG), Citroën C-Elysée WTCC

Citroën

2015

José María López (ARG), Citroën C-Elysée WTCC

Citroën

2014

José María López (ARG), Citroën C-Elysée WTCC

Citroën

2013

Yvan Muller (FRA), Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T

Honda

2012

Rob Huff (GBR), Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T

Chevrolet

2011

Yvan Muller (FRA), Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T

Chevrolet

2010

Yvan Muller (FRA), Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T

Chevrolet

2009

Gabriele Tarquini (ITA), SEAT León TDI

SEAT

2008

Yvan Muller (FRA), SEAT León TDI

SEAT

2007

Andy Priaulx (GBR), BMW 320si

BMW

2006

Andy Priaulx (GBR), BMW 320si

BMW

2005

Andy Priaulx (GBR), BMW 320i

BMW

1987

Roberto Ravaglia (ITA), BMW M3

Ford Texaco

 

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