WTCC / 20 November 2017
Michelisz closes on points lead with Macau podium
Norbert Michelisz closed to within a handful of points of the FIA World Touring Car Championship lead with a deserved podium finish on the streets of Macau on Sunday.
The Hungarian started from the front row and ran second throughout the Main Race, which was held in damp conditions, to secure his sixth podium finish of the season. He is now just 6.5 points away from the head of the Drivers' Championship with a round to go.
The result was equally important after the Castrol Honda WTCC mechanics from JAS Motorsport had spent a sleepless night repairing damage sustained to the Civics of Norbert and team-mate Esteban Guerrieri in Saturday's Opening Race. They finished the job at 6am on Main Race morning.
Norbert is now just 6.5 points away from the series lead with 60 available at the season finale in Qatar in 12 days.
Having started fifth, Esteban made excellent progress to move up to third by half-distance. He finished fourth to ensure a maximum Manufacturers' score and move Honda to within 12.5 points of the championship lead.
Following his history-making podium finish on Saturday, Ryo Michigami was again aiming for a strong result from seventh on the grid.
Unfortunately, contact from another car on the opening lap knocked his steering out of alignment and cost him three places. A trip down the escape road mid-race dropped him to 15th by the chequered flag.
Zengo Motorsport, who field a pair of JAS-built Civics on a customer basis, enjoyed a landmark event of their own as WTCC rookie Zsolt David Szabo finished 10th to score his first point in the series.
Team-mate Daniel Nagy was one place further back, meaning the team lie sixth in the WTCC Trophy standings with just the Qatar remaining.
Norbert Michelisz, Castrol Honda WTCC, said: "Second place is a hugely important result for the Drivers' Championship fight and I'm only 6.5 points behind now heading to Qatar. None of this would have been possible without the incredible job by the team. We had two cars with big damage yesterday and they worked all night, finishing at 6am. I tried to attack for the win early on because in the wet, I think I had the best package, but in the damp, I didn’t quite have the confidence to push. Esteban was a big help by getting into third place and helping me to make a safe gap, so a big thank you to him too."
Alessandro Mariani, Team Principal, said: "Second and fourth places are strong results and also mean we had the top two Manufacturer cars today. The team did an incredible job - beyond incredible, in fact - to do an impossible job and repair two badly-damaged cars overnight. This result is 100 per cent for them. Looking at the bigger picture, our aim for this weekend was to continue to close the gap to the leaders of the Drivers' and Manufacturers' Championships and we've done this. I think it's going to be a very competitive final round in Qatar."