Mehdi Bennani wins red-flagged Macau opening race
Mehdi Bennani has won the opening race at Macau. The Sébastien Loeb Racing driver made full use of his pole position and never lost the lead. ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel finished second ahead of Honda’s Ryo Michigami. The race was red-flagged with three laps to go when championship contender Norbert Michelisz crashed at Police, causing a pile-up which blocked the track.
Both front-row starters had a good getaway off the line, while RC Motorsport’s Kevin Gleason lost fourth place to championship leader Thed Björk. The Lada driver was also overtaken by Honda’s Norbert Michelisz on the second lap, with team-mate Esteban Guerrieri following suit.
The American then had to defend from main race pole sitter Rob Huff and SLR’s Tom Chilton. With four laps to go the Brit managed to get by the Lada, immediately followed by Chilton and Volvo’s Nicky Catsburg. The Citroën drivers were quick enough to close in on Guerrieri, but that ultimately proved to be a disgrace as Norbert Michelisz went wide at police with three laps to go.
Team-mate Guerrieri collected the Hungarian, as Huff and Chilton had no time to react and also got involved in the crash. Catsburg barely managed to fit his S60 in the small gap Michelisz’s car had left. The pile-up caused a red flag and the race was not resumed.
Björk extended his advantage to 16.5 points from Michelisz, with Catsburg a further 14.5 points behind. Bennani’s win brings him to a total of 209 points, 33.5 shy of the lead.