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Motegi WTCC: Honda's Norbert Michelisz wins rain-truncated race

Norbert Michelisz wins Motegi WTCC 2017

Honda's Norbert Michelisz was declared winner of the second World Touring Car Championship race at Motegi, which was suspended early after increasingly heavy rain.

The race was the second in as many rounds to be truncated, with the second race at the Ningbo circuit in China a fortnight ago also called off due to heavy rainfall.

Unlike in China, cars were allowed to race after an initial two laps behind the safety car and during that spell Michelisz eked out a small advantage over the Volvo S60 Polestar of Nicky Catsburg.

A total of four green flag laps were completed before the safety car returned to the track on lap seven as the rain intensified, with polesitter Michelisz leading the following snake of cars in his Honda Civic.

Motegi WTCC 2017

The race was formally stopped on lap 11 of an extended 15-lap schedule, with the countback result taking in the first nine laps.

That allowed full points to be awarded, meaning Michelisz moves into second place in the championship, 16.5 points behind Thed Bjork.

Volvo driver Bjork completed one of just a handful of overtakes during the green flag running, eventually getting the better of Ryo Michigami's factory Civic for fifth after a squabble along the start/finish straight.

Michigami then squirmed off at the tight Turn 9 left-hander and beached himself in the gravel, before being dug out.

The Japanese driver returned to the pits after recovering to the circuit, and was the weekend's only retiree.

Catsburg and team-mate Nestor Girolami completed the podium in their Volvo S60 Polestars, while Esteban Guerrieri backed up his third place finish in the opening race with a fourth to complete a strong weekend as stand-in for Tiago Monteiro.

Bjork was classified fifth ahead of the leading Citroen C-Elysee of Mehdi Bennani and the RC Motorsport Lada Vestas of Yann Ehrlacher and Kevin Gleason.

Bennani's Sebastien Loeb Racing team-mates John Filippi and Tom Chilton completed the points.

Race two result

1Norbert MicheliszHonda Racing Team JASHonda922m17.924s
2Nicky CatsburgPolestar Cyan RacingVolvo90.392s
3Nestor GirolamiPolestar Cyan RacingVolvo91.798s
4Esteban GuerrieriHonda Racing Team JASHonda93.306s
5Thed BjorkPolestar Cyan RacingVolvo95.554s
6Mehdi BennaniSebastien Loeb RacingCitroen96.196s
7Yann EhrlacherRC MotorsportLada97.063s
8Kevin GleasonRC MotorsportLada97.537s
9John FilippiSebastien Loeb RacingCitroen97.911s
10Tom ChiltonSebastien Loeb RacingCitroen98.764s
11Rob HuffMunnich MotorsportCitroen99.633s
12Kris RichardCampos RacingChevrolet911.544s
13Tom CoronelROAL MotorsportChevrolet912.472s
14Daniel NagyZengo MotorsportHonda913.254s
15Filipe SouzaRC MotorsportLada914.899s
16Zsolt SzaboZengo MotorsportHonda916.640s
-Ryo MichigamiHonda Racing Team JASHonda3Retirement

Drivers' standings

1Thed Bjork228.5
2Norbert Michelisz212
3Nicky Catsburg209.5
4Tiago Monteiro200
5Tom Chilton184.5
6Mehdi Bennani184
7Esteban Guerrieri180
8Rob Huff142
9Nestor Girolami110
10Yann Ehrlacher90
11Tom Coronel41
12John Filippi34
13Kevin Gleason27.5
14Filipe Souza8.5
15Ryo Michigami4
16Aurelien Panis2
17Daniel Nagy1

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