Shanghai, Race 1: Bjork snatches last-gasp first WTCC win for Volvo

The first five cars were together at the end...

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By Olivier Ferret

25 September 2016 - 09:40
Shanghai, Race 1: Bjork snatches (...)

Thed Björk grabbed the first win in the FIA World Touring Car Championship win for himself, Volvo and Polestar Cyan Racing in a penultimate-corner pass on Norbert Michelisz in the Opening Race at WTCC Race of China.

Taking the lead a better start from second on the grid than polesitter John Filippi, Michelisz seemed on course for his second straight Opening Race victory for Honda, and his advantage grew when Tom Chilton and Gabriele Tarquini collided when fighting for second at the hairpin, forcing them to pit.

Björk benefitted from this to climb to second and he was able to cut the gap to the heavier car of Michelisz, but the Hungarian remained ahead at the start of the final lap. Björk however gained significantly on Michelisz down the long back straight and was able to move ahead and take victory, despite sustaining damage in contact with the Honda.

The first five cars were together at the end, with Yvan Muller claiming third behind Michelisz while José María López grabbed fourth from the LADA of Nicky Catsburg at the line. The Dutch driver picked up the rear bumper of Michelisz on the front of his car after it was dislodged by Björk, and this seemingly caused his car to stop on the slowing-down lap, threatening his front-row position for the Main Race.

Hugo Valente had a strong race to sixth in front in front of Tom Coronel, who picked up the WTCC Trophy win when Chilton retired. Fredrik Ekblom was eighth in the second Volvo followed by the other factory Hondas of Rob Huff and Tiago Monteiro.

WTCC Trophy points leader Mehdi Bennani took second in the class in 11th overall. After losing places at the start, John Filippi eventually retired after contact early in the lap, triggering a safety car.

Pos. Driver Team Car Time
1 Thed Bjork Polestar Cyan Volvo 16 laps
2 Norbert Michelisz Honda Racing Team JAS Honda +0.361
3 Yvan Muller Citroen Total WTCC Citroen +0.528
4 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen Total WTCC Citroen +2.215
5 Nicky Catsburg LADA Sport Lada +2.315
6 Hugo Valente LADA Sport Lada +6.290
7 Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet +6.911
8 Fredrik Ekblom Polestar Cyan Volvo +12.151
9 Rob Huff Honda Racing Team JAS Honda +13.494
10 Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Honda +16.586
11 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen +17.078
12 James Thompson Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet +18.405
13 Grégoire Demoustier Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen +26.284
14 Ferenc Ficza Zengo Honda +26.583
15 Daniel Nagy Zengo Honda +32.857
16 Gabriele Tarquini LADA Sport Lada DNF
17 Tom Chilton Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen DNF
18 John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet DNF

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