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Ningbo WTCR: Muller wins as Michelisz, Guerrieri retire

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Ningbo WTCR: Muller wins as Michelisz, Guerrieri retire
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Sep 15, 2019, 9:06 AM

Yvan Muller claimed his second World Touring Car Cup victory of the Ningbo weekend in an attritional final race to thrust himself into title contention.

While the race was yet another wild affair, featuring two safety-car periods, Muller and nephew Yann Ehrlacher steered clear of trouble at the front of the field in their pair of Cyan Racing Lynk & Cos to seal a one-two for the Chinese brand.

Muller led from start to finish after securing his second pole of the weekend earlier on Sunday, meaning he scored 76 points from a possible 85 on offer at the Chinese venue.

The victory also makes the Cyan Racing driver a serious title contender, as the leading two drivers in the standings both failed to finish.

Race two winner Norbert Michelisz's race effectively lasted less than half a lap, as he spun as a result of contact with the Lynk & Co of Andy Priaulx.

Initial replays suggested Michelisz hit Priaulx unprompted, but a second angle suggested the BRC Racing Hyundai driver had been pushed by the Comtoyou Audi of Frederic Vervisch.

Race control announced the incident, which contributed to the safety car being called out for the first time, would be investigated after the race.

Michelisz remains 16 points clear at the head of the order, however, as Esteban Guerrieri stopped during the second safety-car period.

That was the second non-finish of the day for Guerrieri, meaning he failed to score a point across the entire weekend.

Behind Muller, who is now just one point behind Guerrieri, Ehrlacher finished ahead of the leading BRC Racing Hyundai of Gabriele Tarquini.

The reigning world champion had emerged from a four-car tussle after the second safety car - called when Mehdi Bennani tapped Tiago Monteiro into a heavy crash on the main straight - behind the sister car of Augusto Farfus, but was later allowed through by the Brazilian.

Farfus held off the third Lynk & Co of Thed Bjork to finish fourth, while Aurelien Panis - who ran third early on but lost ground at the second restart - was sixth in his Comtoyou Cupra.

Vervisch was a lonely seventh, ahead of Guerrieri's Munnich Motorsport teammate Nestor Girolami.

Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua was on course to complete a heroic recovery from the pitlane to finish in the top eight, but copped damage to his Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce as he tried to overake the Honda of Girolami.

That did however allow Ma's teammate Kevin Ceccon to poach ninth, ahead of Johan Kristoffersson's Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen.

The points were completed by Priaulx, Tom Coronel, Attila Tassi, Bennani - who served a drivethrough penalty for his clash with Monteiro - and Gordon Shedden, who was the final finisher.

Results:

Cla Driver Chassis Gap
1 France Yvan Muller Lynk & Co  
2 France Yann Ehrlacher Lynk & Co 0.431
3 Italy Gabriele Tarquini Hyundai 1.234
4 Brazil Augusto Farfus Hyundai 3.830
5 Sweden Thed Björk Lynk & Co 4.248
6 France Aurelien Panis CUPRA 5.064
7 Belgium Frederic Vervisch Audi 6.891
8 Argentina Nestor Girolami Honda 11.729
9 Italy Kevin Ceccon Alfa Romeo 12.396
10 Sweden Johan Kristoffersson Volkswagen 13.903
11 Guernsey Andy Priaulx Lynk & Co 16.238
12 Netherlands Tom Coronel CUPRA 16.884
13 Hungary Attila Tassi Honda 19.654
14 Morocco Mehdi Bennani Volkswagen 28.521
15 United Kingdom Gordon Shedden Audi 37.661
  China Ma Qing Hua Alfa Romeo 2 Laps
  Netherlands Nick Catsburg Hyundai 8 Laps
  Argentina Esteban Guerrieri Honda 13 Laps
  Portugal Tiago Monteiro Honda 13 Laps
  Spain Mikel Azcona CUPRA 13 Laps
  United Kingdom Rob Huff Volkswagen 13 Laps
  Netherlands Niels Langeveld Audi 14 Laps
  Hungary Norbert Michelisz Hyundai 17 Laps
  Sweden Daniel Haglof CUPRA  
  France Jean-Karl Vernay Audi  
  Germany Benjamin Leuchter Volkswagen  
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About this article

Series WTCR
Event Ningbo
Drivers Yvan Muller
Author Jack Cozens