THE season-ending leg of the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) at the Sepang Circuit left fans on the edge of their seats with the rain playing a major factor yesterday.
Championship leader Norbert Michelisz of the BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse team eased his way to the win in the first race in 26 minutes and 2.896 seconds.
Michelisz’s decision to run slicks in front and wet tyres at the rear paid dividends on a track which was partially wet.
Aurelien Panis (Comtoyou DHL Team Cupra Racing) and Michelisz’s teammate Gabriele Tarquini settled for second and third.
Malaysian wildcards Mitchell Cheah, Hafizh Syahrin Abdullah of Hyundai Team Engstler and Douglas Khoo (Viper Niza Racing), who were all carrying 20kg ballasts, came in 19th, 25th and 26th respectively.
Race Two was a fully wet affair and it did not take long for the drama to happen as three cars went off track at turn nine on the very opening lap, among which included Michelisz and Nicky Catsburg (BRC Hyundai N Lukoil Racing).
Catsburg’s car caught fire as it returned to the tarmac. He escaped unhurt. The race was stopped for roughly one hour to clean up the track following the fire as well as an investigation into the incident.
Esteban Guerrieri (ALL-INKL.COM Munnrich Motorsport) kept his chances of catching Michelisz in the championship fight alive after he won the restarted Race Two in 1:28:45.146s.
PWR Racing’s Mikel Azcona and Johan Kristoffersson (Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen) were second and third while Michelisz was eighth.