Macau WTCR: Yvan Muller controls opener amid Lynk & Co team orders

Jack Cozens
Muller controls opener amid Lynk & Co team orders
Muller controls opener amid Lynk & Co team orders

Yvan Muller controlled the opening Macau Guia Race, as Andy Priaulx was denied a first podium since his return to World Touring Cars when Cyan Racing implemented team orders.

Muller started the race from pole and converted that into an early lead, while Norbert Michelisz moved to tuck in behind the Lynk & Co 03 and also repel any chance of attack from third-place starter Priaulx.

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After pulling out a lead of 1.122 seconds on the opening lap, Muller spent the remaining seven laps with under a second in hand over Michelisz but was never threatened by the BRC Racing Hyundai driver in a tame first WTCR race of the weekend.

A third victory of the season elevates Lynk & Co driver Muller above Cyan team-mate Thed Bjork for third in the championship standings, in which he is 36 points behind new leader Michelisz.

Muller should have led a Cyan 1-3 on the podium, until Priaulx moved over out of Fisherman's Bend on the final lap to boost Bjork's place in the order.

The final spot on the podium instead went to the Alfa Romeo Giulietta of Kevin Ceccon, who made a sluggish getaway but was boosted in the order by both Priaulx and Yann Ehrlacher deliberately dropping back.

Muller controls opener amid Lynk & Co team orders
Muller controls opener amid Lynk & Co team orders

Rob Huff was fourth in his Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI ahead of Bjork, with Priaulx sixth over the line after fending off Frederic Vervisch's efforts to capitalise on his moving over.

Ehrlacher, who had pulled the same team move as Priaulx early on in the race, was eighth in the fourth Lynk & Co 03, while the BRC Hyundais of defending champion Gabriele Tarquini and Nicky Catsburg completed the top 10.

Robert Dahlgren scored points in his first race back in World Touring Cars, finishing 13th for the PWR Cupra team. The sole remaining wildcard in the field Billy Lo was the last driver to finish on the lead lap in 23rd.

Michelisz's second-place finish means he now has an 18-point advantage over Munnich Motorsport Honda driver Esteban Guerrieri.

The Argentinian started the race from the back of the grid due to an engine change after first qualifying and, though he made some progress through the field, he lost a lap when he stopped in the pits and was classified 25th.

He was due to start Sunday's reversed-grid race from pole, but was handed a three-place grid penalty on Friday evening for an altercation with Catsburg.

Race one result

Pos

Driver

Team

Car

Laps

Gap

1

Yvan Muller

Cyan Racing

Lynk & Co

8

20m30.047s

2

Norbert Michelisz

BRC Squadra Corse

Hyundai

8

0.405s

3

Kevin Ceccon

Team Mulsanne

Alfa Romeo

8

1.644s

4

Rob Huff

SLR VW Motorsport

Volkswagen

8

2.153s

5

Thed Bjork

Cyan Racing

Lynk & Co

8

2.882s

6

Andy Priaulx

Cyan Performance

Lynk & Co

8

3.169s

7

Frederic Vervisch

Comtoyou Audi

Audi

8

3.397s

8

Yann Ehrlacher

Cyan Performance

Lynk & Co

8

4.704s

9

Gabriele Tarquini

BRC Squadra Corse

Hyundai

8

4.918s

10

Nicky Catsburg

BRC Racing Team

Hyundai

8

5.921s

11

Johan Kristoffersson

SLR Volkswagen

Volkswagen

8

6.576s

12

Aurelien Panis

Comtoyou Cupra

Cupra

8

8.174s

13

Robert Dahlgren

PWR Racing

Cupra

8

10.155s

14

Nestor Girolami

Munnich Motorsport

Honda

8

12.134s

15

Tiago Monteiro

KCMG

Honda

8

12.946s

16

Luca Engstler

BRC Racing Team

Hyundai

8

13.543s

17

Mehdi Bennani

SLR VW Motorsport

Volkswagen

8

13.967s

18

Attila Tassi

KCMG

Honda

8

20.708s

19

Mikel Azcona

PWR Racing

Cupra

8

27.199s

20

Tom Coronel

Comtoyou Cupra

Cupra

8

28.746s

21

Jean-Karl Vernay

WRT

Audi

8

34.821s

22

Benjamin Leuchter

SLR Volkswagen

Volkswagen

8

40.324s

23

Billy Lo

Tian Shi Zuver Team

Audi

8

45.767s

24

Esteban Guerrieri

Munnich Motorsport

Honda

7

1 Lap

-

Niels Langeveld

Comtoyou Audi

Audi

5

Retirement

-

Ma Qing Hua

Team Mulsanne

Alfa Romeo

5

Retirement

-

Gordon Shedden

WRT

Audi

0

Withdrawn

-

Jim Ka To

KC Motorgroup

Honda

0

Withdrawn

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