Macau WTCR: Muller wins Race 1, Michelisz retakes points lead

Yvan Muller controlled the opening Macau Guia Race, as Andy Priaulx was denied a first podium since his return to World Touring Cars when Cyan Racing implemented team orders.

Muller started the race from pole and converted that into an early lead, as Michelisz moved to tuck in behind the Lynk & Co while also repelling any chance of attack from third-place starter Priaulx.

After pulling out a lead of 1.122 seconds on the opening lap, Muller spent the remaining seven laps with less than a second in hand over Michelisz but was never threatened by the BRC Racing Hyundai driver in a tame first WTCR race of the weekend.

A third victory of the season elevates Lynk & Co driver Muller above Cyan teammate Thed Bjork for third in the points standings, in which he is 36 points behind new leader Norbert Michelisz, who finished runner-up.

Muller should have led a Cyan 1-3 on the podium, until Priaulx moved over out of Fisherman's Bend on the final lap to boost Bjork's place in the order.

The final spot on the podium instead went to the Alfa Romeo Giulietta of Kevin Ceccon, who made a sluggish getaway but was boosted in the order by both Priaulx and Yann Ehrlacher deliberately dropping back.

Rob Huff was fourth in his Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen ahead of Bjork, with Priaulx sixth over the line after fending off Frederic Vervisch's efforts to capitalise on his moving over.

Ehrlacher, who had pulled the same team move as Priaulx early on in the race, was eighth in the fourth Lynk & Co, while the BRC Hyundais of defending champion Gabriele Tarquini and Nicky Catsburg completed the top 10.

Robert Dahlgren scored points in his first race back in World Touring Cars, finishing 13th for the PWR Cupra team, while the sole remaining wildcard in the field Billy Lo was the last driver to finish on the lead lap in 23rd.

Michelisz's second-place finish means he now has an 18-point advantage over Munnich Motorsport Honda driver Esteban Guerrieri.

The Argentinian started the race from the back of the grid due to an engine change after first qualifying and, though he made some progress through the field, lost a lap when he stopped in the pits and was classified 25th.

He was due to start Sunday's reversed-grid race from pole, but was handed a three-place grid penalty on Friday evening for an altercation with Catsburg.

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Cla # Driver Chassis Gap
1 100 France Yvan Muller
Lynk & Co
2 5 Hungary Norbert Michelisz
Hyundai 0.405
3 31 Italy Kevin Ceccon
Alfa Romeo 1.644
4 12 United Kingdom Rob Huff
Volkswagen 2.153
5 11 Sweden Thed Björk
Lynk & Co 2.882
6 111 Guernsey Andy Priaulx
Lynk & Co 3.169
7 22 Belgium Frederic Vervisch
Audi 3.397
8 68 France Yann Ehrlacher
Lynk & Co 4.704
9 1 Italy Gabriele Tarquini
Hyundai 4.918
10 88 Netherlands Nick Catsburg
Hyundai 5.921
11 14 Sweden Johan Kristoffersson
Volkswagen 6.576
12 21 France Aurelien Panis
CUPRA 8.174
13 2 Sweden Robert Dahlgren
CUPRA 10.155
14 29 Argentina Nestor Girolami
Honda 12.134
15 18 Portugal Tiago Monteiro
Honda 12.946
16 6 Germany Luca Engstler
Hyundai 13.543
17 25 Morocco Mehdi Bennani
Volkswagen 13.967
18 9 Hungary Attila Tassi
Honda 20.708
19 96 Spain Mikel Azcona
CUPRA 27.199
20 50 Netherlands Tom Coronel
CUPRA 28.746
21 69 France Jean-Karl Vernay
Audi 34.821
22 33 Germany Benjamin Leuchter
Volkswagen 40.324
23 36 Lo Kai
Audi 45.767
24 86 Argentina Esteban Guerrieri
Honda 1 Lap
10 Netherlands Niels Langeveld
Audi 3 Laps
55 China Ma Qing Hua
Alfa Romeo 3 Laps
Full 2019 Macau Grand Prix weekend schedule
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Macau WTCR: Muller scores back-to-back wins

Macau WTCR: Muller scores back-to-back wins