Michelisz wins, but Guerrieri and Muller keep the fight alive

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Norbert Michelisz converted his pole into a victory – the fifth for him in the season so far – and further reinforced his position in the title fight.

After the first race at Sepang, in WTCR finale, the Hungarian has increased his leading margin in the standings to 27 points ahead of Esteban Guerrieri and 35 over Yvan Muller when 50 points are still at stake in today’s Races 2 and 3.

The race started behind the safety car on a slippery track and under a light rain; some drivers went for slick tyres, some for wets and some, including Michelisz, opted for slicks at the front and rains at the rear.

Eventually, the rain did not intensify and the choice of a full set of wet tyres didn’t pay off. Michelisz led the whole race followed by Aurélien Panis who claimed his first podium of the season, while Gabriele Tarquini finished in third position and kept Guerrieri at bay.

The Argentine recovered from ninth on the grid to fourth, but then he was unable to chase Tarquini. Luckily for him guest driver João Paulo De Oliveira climbed to fifth and protected his shoulders from a charging Muller. However, the latter pocketed the points for fifth, because De Oliveira was not eligible to score.

Race 2 will start at 18:15 local time (11:15 CET) with Ma Qing Hua and Néstor Girolami sharing the front row of the top-ten reversed grid; Michelisz will start tenth and Guerrieri ninth.

Race 1

  1. Norbert Michelisz (BRC Squadra Corse, Hyundai i30 N), 9 laps
  2. Aurélien Panis (Comtoyou Racing, CUPRA), 2.446
  3. Gabriele Tarquini (BRC Squadra Corse, Hyundai i30 N), 10.009
  4. Esteban Guerrieri (Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic FK7), 10.878
  5. Joäo Paulo De Oliveira (KCMG, Honda Civic FK7), 11.287

Championship points

  1. Michelisz 351
  2. Guerrieri 324
  3. Muller 316