Photo: WTCR Media

Frédéric Vervisch takes his first WTCR win, as Muller takes title to the wire

Frédéric Vervisch scored his first World Touring Car Cup victory at Macau, driving past early race leader Timo Scheider to take the victory in his Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS, while Yvan Muller charged to third, keeping the title alive to the final race.

Pole-sitter Scheider in the Münnich Honda moved to block the Alfa Romeo of Kevin Ceccon at the start, which allowed Vervisch straight through from third to second, with Muller passing Oriola’s Campos Cupra for fourth.

There was soon trouble at Lisboa, as both the Münnich Honda of Yann Ehrlacher and the Cupra of Oriola made contact on the way to Lisboa, with Oriola spinning out of control and causing a pile-up, which also took out both the BRC Racing Team Hyundais of Norbert Michelisz and more importantly championship leader Gabriele Tarquini, and the WRT Audi of yesterday’s race winner Jean-Karl Vernay.

The cars were all able to clear themselves up from the accident, with no safety car required, while the top four began to break away.

On lap four, Vervisch through his Audi around Scheider’s Honda for the lead at Mandarin, while at the next corner, Yvan Muller overtook Kevin Ceccon’s Alfa Romeo for third at Lisboa.

From then on, the race was developed into a nail-biting fight between two-time DTM champion Scheider and four-time WTCC champion Yvan Muller for second place, with Muller needing to maximise on Tarquini’s demise.

After pressuring Scheider at Lisboa for four laps straight, it was in the end to no avail, with Muller having to settle for third, with Scheider scoring his career-best result with second.

Vervisch went on to win by 1.7 seconds, becoming the WTCR’s 15th different winner from 29 races.

Ceccon was on his own in fourth, with Münnich’s Esteban Guerrieri fifth, let by team-mate Yann Ehrlacher late in the race.

Mehdi Bennani was seventh in the Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen, with the Audi of Nathanael Berthon, the Alfa Romeo of Luigi Ferrara and the Audi of Aurélien Panis completing the top ten.

Tarquini still leads the championship heading to the final race of the season by 18 points, meaning Muller needs to finish on the podium from sixth on the grid at minimum in order to take the title away from the Italian.

Race 3 starts at 11:00 CST (04:00 CET).