Heavy rain ruined WTCC premiere at Ningbo International Circuit
After a three-month break, the FIA World Touring Car Championship season resumed in China, coming for the first time to the Ningbo International Circuit. But, there was no much racing because a heavy rain ruined the event.
The first race had a rolling start behind Safety car and Esteban Guerrieri took his second victory of the season in the #86 Chevrolet Cruze of Campos Racing. In the second race, the cars were following the Safety car for four laps and then the race was stopped. The pole-sitter Nestor Girolami in the #61 Volvo S60 Polestar was awarded winner, taking half of the points.
Yann Ehrlacher (RC Motorsport, Lada Vesta) started from pole in the first race due to reversed grid, ahead of John Filippi (Sebastien Loeb Racing, Citroen C-Elysee) and Nicky Catsburg (Volvo S60 Polestar). Esteban Guerrieri was fourth on the grid. After three laps behind Safety Car, the race started and Ehrlacher pulled away.
Guerrieri overtook Filippi and Catsburg before the race was interrupted by Safety car after Britons Rob Huff and Tom Chilton collided. On the restart, Guerrieri jumped into the lead and after that built a gap of almost three seconds. Catsburg completed a podium with a third-place finish. His teammate Thed Bjork, who had a chance to take the championship lead, didn’t score points in the 13th place.
The second race started on the same way as the first, behind the Safety car. But, as the rain was harder and harder, there was no start. The race was stopped instead. The pole-sitter Nestor Girolami had no chance to convert his starting position into his first victory of the season in a proper racing. However, he was awarded as the winner, taking half of the points.
Half of the points was enough for third-placed Thed Bjork to take the championship lead ahead of Tiago Monteiro, who skipped the Chinese round because he’s recovering from injuries. Norbert Michelisz was second in the second race and he’s now just two points behind Bjork in the championship standings, intensifying a title fight with three more rounds on a calendar.
Photos: Frederic le Floch/DPPI/fiawtcc.com,