Macau WTCR: Priaulx completes Lynk & Co hat-trick
Three-time World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx claimed his first WTCR victory by holding off Rob Huff in a tense Macau Guia Race finale, completing a hat-trick of wins for Lynk & Co.
Priaulx, who has two previous Guia Race wins from his BMW World Touring Car Championship spell, set up victory by passing polesitter Huff before the approach to the Reservoir kink at the start of the race.
While Huff's Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen was able to close up in the second and third sectors on the mountain, Priaulx had superior drive off the Melco hairpin each time and was able to gap his compatriot through the final sector in preparation for the long run to Lisboa.
Huff set the fastest lap on the antepenultimate tour in one final bid to close in on Priaulx, but the Cyan Racing Lynk & Co driver went faster still on the following lap.
Huff closed up once more in the third and fourth sectors, but Priaulx held tight to clinch his first World Touring Car win in nine years - also denying Huff a record 10th win in Macau.
Jean-Karl Vernay jostled with Huff and his teammate Johan Kristoffersson at the start, settling into third place at Lisboa in his WRT Audi.
Some way behind the lead quartet, Thed Bjork had occupied fifth, but dropped two positions on the final lap to boost Cyan teammate Yvan Muller's points haul.
BRC Racing Hyundai driver Nicky Catsburg instead claimed the place, having kept Muller at bay, while the fourth Lynk & Co of Yann Ehrlacher came home eighth, ahead of Kevin Ceccon (Mulsanne Alfa Romeo) and title hopeful Esteban Guerrieri (Munnich Honda).
Points leader Norbert Michelisz was 12th in his BRC Racing Hyundai. He now has nine points in hand over Guerrieri, while Muller is two points further back in third.
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Ma Qing Hua
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Macau WTCR: Muller scores back-to-back wins
Volkswagen to cease all non-electric motorsport programmes
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.