Andy Priaulx holds off Rob Huff to win tense Macau finale
Andy Priaulx completed a clean-sweep of Lynk & Co Cyan Racing victories with a commanding drive in the final World Touring Car Cup race at Macau, fending off fellow Briton Rob Huff to seal his first WTCR win.
Jean-Karl Vernay completed the podium, his WRT Audi team working intensely before the race to solve the engine issues that plagued the Frenchman in Race 2.
Meanwhile in the championship fight, things closed up further still with Yvan Muller – who won the opening two races of the weekend – again finishing ahead of his main title rivals.
Priaulx set off from the front row alongside pole man Huff’s Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, and snatched the lead from his countryman thanks to a strong start. Huff was able to defend second into Lisboa, however, with Vernay keeping third ahead of Johan Kristoffersson, Thed Björk, Nicky Catsburg and Muller.
The order then remained largely unchanged, with the top four opening up a large gap to Björk who seemed content with simply holding position until the final lap, when he slowed to let Muller (and, in the process, Hyundai’s Catsburg who was running between the Lynk & Co cars) past for team tactical reasons.
Muller thus finished as the highest of the four title contenders in sixth, reducing the gap to championship leader Norbert Michelisz and second-placed Esteban Guerrieri to just 11 and two points respectively.
Michelisz finished the race in 12th, with Guerrieri tenth after spending much of the encounter fending off Cupra’s Tom Coronel.
Priaulx’s win came on the same day his daughter celebrates her 16th birthday, and tops off a late-season run of strong form for the three-time world champion. Huff put significant pressure on Priaulx in pursuit of a tenth Macau win, but ultimately could not get quite close enough on the run to Lisboa to make a pass stick.
The World Touring Car Cup resumes at Malaysia’s Sepang circuit for the season-finale on December 13-15, with the ultra-close championship fight set to provide a thrilling conclusion to the campaign.