Rio Hondo WTCC: Michelisz wins for Honda after Catsburg puncture
|By Jack Cozens||Sunday, July 16th 2017, 20:02 GMT|
Honda's Norbert Michelisz grabbed his second World Touring Car Championship victory of 2017 in the main Termas de Rio Hondo race after long-time leader Nicky Catsburg's Volvo suffered a puncture.
Michelisz failed to score a point in the first race due to a puncture of his own on the opening lap, but inherited his second victory in as many WTCC rounds in the second half of the main event as Catsburg suffered a second catastrophic tyre failure of the weekend.
Catsburg jumped away from pole at the start of the race to head the field into the first corner, with Michelisz defending his second place on the grid from team-mate Tiago Monteiro.
Having fended off the sister Honda's attentions, Michelisz stayed with Catsburg early on but forfeited six tenths of a second in the space of two laps in the middle of the race, as Catsburg began to build a comfortable lead.
But disaster struck on lap eight of the 13-lap race for Catsburg, who picked up a left-front puncture for a second race in a row, crushing his own hopes of a second victory of 2017.
With Monteiro in tow, Michelisz nurtured his Civic home in the closing laps to head a comfortable one-two - Honda's second of the season and its first since the opening round in Marrakech.
Monteiro's second place allowed him to extend his points lead over third-place finisher Thed Bjork, whose third podium from four races restored some pride for Volvo.
Home Argentinian driver Esteban Guerrieri backed up a podium finish in the opening race with a fine fourth in the main event, finishing five seconds behind Bjork in his Campos Racing Chevrolet Cruze.
Sebastien Loeb Racing team-mates Mehdi Bennani and Tom Chilton were separated by the second Volvo of Nestor Girolami, with Chilton dragging his understeering Citroen C-Elysee to seventh after contact at the first corner.
Chilton finished the opening race first on the road but was demoted to fourth for a brusque move on RC Motorsport driver Yann Ehrlacher for the lead.
He finished ahead of the Lada fair and square in the second race as Ehrlacher defended from Munnich Motorsport's Rob Huff.
RESULTS - 13 LAPS:
|1||Norbert Michelisz||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda||22m39.375s|
|2||Tiago Monteiro||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda||0.505s|
|3||Thed Bjork||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo||1.381s|
|4||Esteban Guerrieri||Campos Racing||Chevrolet||6.379s|
|5||Mehdi Bennani||Sebastien Loeb Racing||Citroen||14.281s|
|6||Nestor Girolami||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo||14.675s|
|7||Tom Chilton||Sebastien Loeb Racing||Citroen||20.386s|
|8||Yann Ehrlacher||RC Motorsport||Lada||20.750s|
|9||Rob Huff||Munnich Motorsport||Citroen||20.999s|
|10||Tom Coronel||ROAL Motorsport||Chevrolet||21.983s|
|11||Ryo Michigami||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda||22.361s|
|12||John Filippi||Sebastien Loeb Racing||Citroen||22.989s|
|13||Kevin Gleason||RC Motorsport||Lada||26.701s|
|14||Daniel Nagy||Zengo Motorsport||Honda||39.996s|
|15||Zsolt David Szabo||Zengo Motorsport||Honda||40.437s|
|16||Nicky Catsburg||Polestar Cyan Racing||Volvo||1 Lap|
|18||Zsolt David Szabo||0|