WTCR Race 3 flash: Priaulx beats Huff for first win
Andy Priaulx scored his first WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO win after defeating fellow Briton Rob Huff in a tense Race 3 at WTCR Race of Macau.
The Cyan Performance Lynk & Co driver got the drop on DHL Pole Position starter Huff to take the lead off the line, then held back a four-car train for all 11 laps to secure his first WTCR / OSCARO race victory.
“It was a tough race,” said three-time FIA World Touring Car champion Priaulx. “Huffy was on my back all the way and didn’t give me any breathing space. It’s good to be back where I used to be.”
On the possibility of losing the win to team orders, he said: “I respect the team for letting me push for the win. And it’s a special win because it’s my daughter’s 16th birthday.”
Huff was disappointed to miss out on what would have been his 10th race win at Macau, but congratulated his rival. “It was a normal start – I’ve always struggled to get the Golf off the line. It is what it is. We were down on the straights as always. But it was a good race and to be beaten by Andy, I don’t mind really. It’s always enjoyable to race with him.”
Meanwhile, the #RoadToMalaysia title race tightened up further after a closely fought weekend of racing. Points leader Norbert Michelisz finished where he started in P12, with his closest rival Esteban Guerrieri in P10 and double Macau race winner Yvan Muller in sixth. It leaves Michelisz just nine points ahead of Guerrieri, with Muller two points further back with the WTCR Race of Malaysia season super-finale to come.
Priaulx was forced to work hard for his win, with Huff close behind him for most of the lap. But the Lynk & Co just had the edge over the Golf on the long straights, with third-placed Jean-Karl Vernay in his Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport RS 3 LMS pressuring Huff lap after lap under braking at Lisboa. SLR Volkswagen’s Johan Kristoffersson completed the four-car train at the front to finish on a strong note on his first visit to Macau.
Thed Björk ran in a lonely fifth for much of the race, but on the last lap sacrificed his position and points for Muller by dropping back. That elevated BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team’s Nicky Catsburg to fifth, with Muller sixth and Björk seventh.
The fourth Lynk & Co of Yann Ehrlacher completed a successful weekend for the Chinese customer racing brand with eighth, ahead of Kevin Ceccon’s Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR. Guerrieri completed the top 10 at the end of a difficult weekend for ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport but remains firmly in title contention, nine points behind Michelisz.
Tom Coronel was P11 for Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing, ahead of Michelisz. Comtoyou Team Audi Sport’s Niels Langeveld finished in P13, with BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team’s Luca Engstler and Comtoyou Team Audi Sport’s Frédéric Vervisch completing the points scorers.