Michelisz clinches the title as Kristoffersson wins Sepang Race 3

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Norbert Michelisz secured the WTCR title, the second for Hyundai after that of Gabriele Tarquini in 2018, while his rival Esteban Guerrieri was eliminated for the consequences of a collision with Mikel Azcona.

Johan Kristoffersson’s choice of a full set of slicks paid off and the Swede won the race after starting from P22. Azcona salvaged the second position beating Kevin Ceccon on the line by 15 hundredths.  

A light rain was falling when the race started, Guerrieri led from Azcona, Michelisz, Ceccon and Frédéric Vervisch. Kristoffersson sprinted from 22nd on the grid and moved up into third by the end of the first lap, ahead of Michelisz. The safety car was deployed during the second lap for recovering Augusto Farfus’ Hyundai from the gravel trap.

When racing resumed Azcona began chasing Guerrieri, he pushed him on the straight and so the Argentine drove onto the grass, rejoined but dropped to third behind Azcona and Kristoffersson. Soon later Guerrieri dropped further down as his car began overheating, the radiator clogged by grass and mud. He finally pitted during a second safety car period while Gordon Shedden’s car was recovered from the grass.

Michelisz had the title in the pocket and so didn’t mind to let Kevin Ceccon and Frédéric Vervisch pass by, for P3 and P4.

Racing resumed for the last four laps, with Azcona chased by Kristoffersson and Ceccon. In lap 11, Kristoffersson stole the lead from Azcona and pulled away to take his third victory of the season, while Azcona managed to keep Ceccon at bay to finish second. The fifth place behind Vervisch was enough for Michelisz to secure the title.

Race 3

  1. Johan Kristoffersson (SLR, Volkswagen Golf GTI), 14 laps
  2. Mikel Azcona (PWR Racing, CUPRA), 2.026
  3. Kevin Ceccon (Team Mulsanne, Alfa Romeo Giulietta), 2.182
  4. Frédéric Vervisch (Comtoyou Racing, AUDI RS 3 LMS), 4.296
  5. Norbert Michelisz (BRC Squadra Corse, Hyundai i30 N), 9.297

Championship points

  1. Michelisz 370
  2. Guerrieri 349
  3. Muller 329