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.
||Lynk & Co|
||Lynk & Co||2.882|
||Lynk & Co||3.169|
||Lynk & Co||4.704|
Ma Qing Hua
||Alfa Romeo||3 Laps|
|View full results|
Full 2019 Macau Grand Prix weekend schedule
Macau WTCR: Muller scores back-to-back wins
The boss of the World Touring Car Cup has stated his hope that Cyan Lynk & Co will return next year, following its dramatic mid-season withdrawal over tyre safety concerns.
WTCR organisers have called Cyan Racing Lynk & Co’s withdrawal on the eve of the Anneau Du Rhin round “surprising but also very unfortunate” amid plans to solve the tyre issues.
Cyan Racing Lynk & Co has suspended its World Touring Car Cup campaign with immediate effect over Goodyear tyre safety concerns.
The World Touring Car Cup has cancelled its two races on the Nurburgring Nordschleife this weekend because of safety fears over Goodyear’s control tyres on the 15.77-mile circuit.