Norbert Michelisz lucked in to his second consecutive FIA World Touring Car Championship Main Race victory after Nicky Catsburg retired from a comfortable lead with his second puncture of the day in the FIA WTCC Race of Argentina.
Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo ace Catsburg converted his DHL Pole Position into the race lead from Castol Honda World Touring Car Team duo Michelisz and Tiago Monteiro. Dutchman Catsburg looked assured of victory until lap seven of 13 when he suddenly slowed with a left-front puncture. It was a cruel blow to the driver, who had also retired from the Opening Race of the day with a puncture on the same corner of his S60.
That left Michelisz with a lead he would hold to the flag, ahead of championship leader Monteiro and the Volvo of Thed Björk. Monteiro was relieved to consolidate his points lead after suffering a scare on his out lap to the grid when he went off into a gravel trap, but managed to keep his Civic from getting beached.
“I was a bit lucky with the puncture for Nicky,” said Michelisz, who also won the previous WTCC Main Race at Vila Real. “After that it was just a case of controlling the pace. The car felt great and it was possible to push. It’s just amazing.
“Although I’m a bit disappointed for the weekend after my left-front puncture in the Opening Race. Those were important points lost for the championship.”
Local hero Esteban Guerrieri claimed fourth place in his Campos Racing Chevrolet ahead of Sébastien Loeb Racing Mehdi Bennani, who held off Argentine Néstor Girolami after an entertaining battle.
Tom Chilton, who lost his Opening Race victory because of a penalty, finished seventh this time despite damage incurred at the start after contact with Guerrieri. Opening Race winner Yann Ehrlacher drove another mature race to hold off former World Touring Car Champion Rob Huff for eighth.
The 2017 WTCC resumes on October 13-15 with the WTCC Race of China at the Shanghai International Circuit.
Source: FIA WTCC