Main Race flash: Michelisz wins after WTCC heartbreak for Catsburg

Main Race flash: Michelisz wins after WTCC heartbreak for Catsburg

16/07/2017 21:57

Norbert Michelisz inherited his second consecutive FIA World Touring Car Championship Main Race victory after Nicky Catsburg retired from a comfortable lead with his second puncture of the day at WTCC Race of Argentina.

Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo ace Catsburg converted his DHL pole position into the race lead from Castol Honda World Touring Car Team duo Michelisz and Tiago Monteiro. Dutchman Catsburg looked assured of victory until lap seven of 13 when he suddenly slowed with a left-front puncture. It was a cruel blow to the driver, who had also retired from the Opening Race of the day with a puncture on the same corner of his Volvo S60 Polestar.

That left Michelisz with a lead he would hold to the flag, ahead of championship pacesetter Monteiro and the Volvo of Thed Björk. Monteiro was relieved to consolidate his points advantage after suffering a scare on his out lap to the grid when he went off into a gravel trap, but managed to keep his Civic from getting beached.

“I was a bit lucky with the puncture for Nicky,” said Michelisz, who also won the previous WTCC Main Race at Vila Real in Portugal last month. “After that it was just a case of controlling the pace. The car felt great and it was possible to push. It’s just amazing.

“Although I’m a bit disappointed for the weekend after my left-front puncture in the Opening Race. Those were important points lost for the championship.”

Local hero Esteban Guerrieri claimed fourth place in his Campos Racing Chevrolet ahead of Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Mehdi Bennani, who held off Argentine Néstor Girolami after an entertaining battle.

Tom Chilton, who lost his Opening Race victory because of a penalty, finished seventh this time despite damage incurred at the start after contact with Guerrieri. Opening Race winner Yann Ehrlacher drove another mature race to hold off former World Touring Car champion Rob Huff for eighth. Tom Coronel rounded out the top 10.

The wide-open 2017 WTCC season resumes on October 13-15 with WTCC Race of China at the Ningbo International Speedpark.

Zsolt Dávid Szabó completed his FIA World Touring Car Championship debut in Argentina last weekend by underlining his desire to return to the track when WTCC 2017 resumes in China in mid-October.

Yann Ehrlacher was applauded and praised by his rivals following his maiden FIA World Touring Car Championship victory.

Mehdi Bennani reckoned he over-achieved at WTCC Race of Argentina by scoring his third podium of 2017 to remain firmly in the hunt for the FIA World Touring Car Championship.

Four-time WTCC champion Yvan Muller isn’t surprised that his nephew, Yann Ehrlacher, is a winner in the FIA World Touring Car Championship – revealing that he always expected the 21-year-old would reach the top of the podium.

The chase for WTCC Trophy title success intensified when the FIA World Touring Car Championship visited Argentina last week.

Esteban Guerrieri used his home rounds of the FIA World Touring Car Championship to deliver one of his best weekends in the WTCC so far with a third and a fourth in the two races at Circuito Termas de Río Hondo.