WTCC World Touring Car Championship 2017
Honda’s Norbert Michelisz took his first FIA World Touring Car Championship victory of 2017 on the streets of Vila Real, while a double-podium for Tiago Monteiro moved the local hero to the top of the points table.
From pole position, Norbert moved his Honda Civic WTCC straight into the lead of the Main Race and completed a lights-to-flag victory to claim the sixth win of his career.
He had earlier finished seventh in the Opening Race from 10th on the grid; the Hungarian using perfect tactics to make a very late pass through the all-new ‘joker lap’ section of track. The points gained during the weekend moved him up three places to fourth in the championship.
Tiago made a superb getaway from seventh in the Opening Race to climb to fourth within the first few corners. A well-timed run through the joker lap allowed him to gain two more spots and take second place.
He made up another position as the lights went out at the start of the Main Race and finished third to chalk up his sixth podium finish of the year and take a four-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship.
Opening Race polesitter Ryo Michigami led a WTCC race for the first time after making an excellent getaway, but a throttle sensor issue exiting Turn 6 on the first lap cost him the lead and affected his pace thereafter.
After a puncture-induced retirement, the Japanese driver started the Main Race from the pitlane as the team fixed his car and recovered to 13th place by the checkered flag.
“I’m delighted because I knew after taking pole position yesterday that we had the pace in the Honda to win, and because I needed a result like this to really re-fire my title campaign. My Opening Race start wasn’t good, but we made a good strategy with the joker lap and that meant I could climb from 10th to seventh by the end. My Main Race start was much better thankfully and I was able to control my pace and never really felt under threat.”
“I’m very pleased to take two podiums and get back to the top of the championship. At a track like Vila Real, if you don’t start on the front row, it’s very difficult to win, so a double podium is a very good result. We’ve had a great package all weekend and I made two great starts, which helped me a lot. I have to thank the team for giving me such a good car for the weekend and everybody who came to Vila Real this weekend to support me. I get an extra motivation when I hear the cheers and see the flags.”
“It felt very good to lead a WTCC race for the first time; it’s just unfortunate it didn’t last very long. I had an issue with a throttle sensor that cost me the lead on lap one and got progressively worse. I was slow accelerating out of the chicane near the end and a blue car hit me on the side and caused a puncture. Unfortunately the repair couldn’t be done in the small gap between races so I had to start the Main Race from the pitlane. Despite this, I’ve been much more comfortable with the car this weekend than at any point in 2017, and that gives me a lot of confidence going forwards.”
Alessandro Mariani - Castrol Honda WTCC Team Principa
“I am very happy because this weekend has gone very well. We’ve proved we have a very fast car on this kind of circuit and both Norbi and Tiago have scored big points. I’m delighted to see Norbi win because he has not been feeling well for most of the week, so he’s dug very deep for this one. And for Tiago, two podiums are excellent and mean he’s in a very strong position in the points with half the season gone. I’m just so sorry for Ryo because it seems that whenever we have bad luck, it’s always him affected. It’s an excellent day for us in championship and will give the whole team a big morale boost after we had a very tough weekend in Germany at the last round.”
Ryuichi Furukawa - Large Project Leader WTCC Development, Honda R&D
“To have two pole positions yesterday was very good but a win for Norbi and two podiums for Tiago today is even better and puts us in a strong position for the championship with the European part of the WTCC finished. It’s a shame for Ryo because he could have had two good results if he had not had a technical issue. It has still been his most competitive performance in the WTCC and we can definitely build on this in Argentina.”
|1||Mehdi BENNANI (Citroen C-Elysee WTCC)|
|2||Tiago MONTEIRO (Honda Civic WTCC)|
|3||Thed BJORK (Volvo S60 WTCC)|
|4||Tom CHILTON (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1)|
|5||Nicky CATSBURG (Volvo S60 WTCC)|
|6||Rob HUFF (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)|
|7||Norbert MICHELISZ (Honda Civic WTCC)|
|11||Aurelien PANIS (Honda Civic WTCC)|
|13||Daniel NAGY (Honda Civic WTCC)|
|14||Ryo MICHIGAMI (Honda Civic WTCC)|
|1||Norbert MICHELISZ (Honda Civic WTCC)|
|2||Thed BJORK (Volvo S60 WTCC)|
|3||Tiago MONTEIRO (Honda Civic WTCC)|
|4||Nicky CATSBURG (Volvo S60 WTCC)|
|5||Rob HUFF (Citroën C-Elysée WTCC)|
|6||Tom CHILTON (Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1)|
|13||Ryo MICHIGAMI (Honda Civic WTCC)|
|14||Daniel NAGY (Honda Civic WTCC)|
|16||Aurelien PANIS (Honda Civic WTCC)|