Norbert Michelisz splashed to victory in a Main Race shortened by heavy rainfall at WTCC JVCKENWOOD Race of Japan at Twin Ring Motegi.
The Hungarian delivered the Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team a home victory from the DHL pole position and was never headed before the safety car was introduced because of worsening conditions.
The inevitable decision was taken to start the race under the safety car, allowing Michelisz to lead away from the Polestar Cyan Racing Volvos of Nicky Catsburg and Néstor Girolami – and that’s how they finished after four laps of racing under green flag conditions.
“I’m so grateful to the guys at the team,” said Michelisz. “The car was just great. I was lacking points in the first race, but I’m happy with the result this time and how things are going for the championship. I will push until the last lap of the last round in Qatar.”
Behind the Volvos, Esteban Guerrieri claimed a solid fourth place on his debut weekend driving for Castrol Honda World Touring Car Team.
FIA World Touring Car Championship title leader Thed Björk was fifth to take him to 228.5 points, with Michelisz rising to second with 212.
Mehdi Bennani finished sixth for Sébastien Loeb Racing, ahead of RC Motorsport pairing Yann Ehrlacher and Kevin Gleason. Opening Race winner Tom Chilton was 10th this time after a spin, which meant he finished behind Sébastien Loeb Racing team-mate John Filippi.
Rob Huff finished a lowly 11th in his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Citroën C-Elysée WTCC, one place ahead of Kris Richard who could be happy with a respectable performance on his last-minute drive for Campos Racing as the replacement for Honda-bound Guerrieri.
But in contrast, there was heartbreak for local hero Ryo Michigami who understeered off at Turn 9 while lying in sixth position.
The FIA World Touring Car Championship continues on 16-17 November at the WTCC JVCKENWOOD Race of Macau.
Source: FIA WTCC