Thed Björk impressed on his debut at the fearsome Macau street circuit by qualifying and finishing fourth in the first FIA WTCC race to extend his World Championship lead over main title rival Norbert Michelisz who crashed.
The four-time Swedish champion lost one place in the start but was soon able to fight back to fourth and then put hard pressure on third-placed Honda driver Ryo Michigami, finishing just three tenths behind.
”Macau is no doubt the most challenging street circuit in the world and to score strongly to build my lead further feels incredibly rewarding. I had the pace on Michigami ahead of me but could not get past. My main goal was to outscore Norbert (Michelisz) and we have done that. The race tomorrow will be a different challenge with fast drivers ahead of me, so we need to work on getting even more speed from the car,” said Thed Björk.
Honda driver and main rival Michelisz crashed on lap 6 that brought the red flags out to stop the race. The regulations however state that the results are to be declared one lap prior to the incident in case of a red flag, meaning that Michelisz keeps fifth.
Nicky Catsburg fought his way from eleventh on the grid to finish ninth, despite his car sustaining damage in a qualifying crash yesterday, with the team performing overnight repairs.
”I didn’t get a good start but I was able to fight back and pass two drivers. We had a difficult day yesterday with the crash and to be back today to score points feels good. I have a tough job ahead tomorrow as well from 12th on the grid but we will continue to fight hard,” said Nicky Catsburg.
Team-mate Néstor Girolami had an equally tough qualifying session yesterday where he crashed and was forced to start last in the first race. The Argentinian finished today’s race in 13th position.
”I have to extend a big thank you to the team, they got my car perfect for today after the crash yesterday. It is very difficult to overtake in Macau and I focussed on bringing the car home in order for us to have all cars across the finishing line and score vital points to the manufacturers championship,” said Néstor Girolami.
Despite having the heaviest car in the championship and racing against competitors with more experience of the unique Macau street circuit, Polestar Cyan Racing remains in the lead of both championships with a 30,5-point lead over Honda in the manufacturers’ championship and Thed Björk leading by 16,5 points.
”Maintaining our lead over Honda and their drivers is what matters most to us and we are delivering on our objectives so far. There is another race tomorrow and we need to keep pushing hard and keep doing a good job,” said Alexander Murdzevski Schedvin, Head of Motorsport at Polestar.
Thed Björk starts fourth, Néstor Girolami tenth and Nicky Catsburg 12th in race two.
Follow Polestar Cyan Racing in the FIA WTCC Race of Macau at: wtcc.polestar.com
WTCC Race of Macau
Circuit: Circuito da Guia
Length: 6120 m
Lap record (WTCC): 2:27.009 (Huff)
Race 1 – Top 5
1 Mehdi Bennani Citroën C-Elysée 5 laps
2 Tom Coronel Chevrolet Cruze +1.952
3 Ryo Michigami Honda Civic +3.265
4 Thed Björk Volvo S60 +3.627
5 Norbert Michelisz Honda Civic +4.577
9 Nicky Catsburg Volvo S60 +10.688
13 Néstor Girolami Volvo S60 +18.512
Q1 – Top 5
1 Tom Chilton Citroën C-Elysée 2:24.912
2 Mehdi Bennani Citroën C-Elysée +0.485
3 Norbert Michelisz Honda Civic +0.562
4 Rob Huff Citroën C-Elysée +0.589
5 Thed Björk Volvo S60 +1.243
8 Néstor Girolami Volvo S60 +1.835
10 Nicky Catsburg Volvo S60 +2.496
Q2 – Top 5
1 Rob Huff Citroën C-Elysée 2:24.373
2 Esteban Guerrieri Honda Civic +0.348
3 Norbert Michelisz Honda Civic +0.598
4 Thed Björk Volvo S60 +0.762
5 Tom Chilton Citroën C-Elysée
11 Néstor Girolami Volvo S60 no time
12 Nicky Catsburg Volvo S60 no time
1 Rob Huff Citroën C-Elysée 2:23.995
2 Norbert Michelisz Honda Civic +0.306
3 Tom Chilton Citroën C-Elysée +0.849
4 Thed Björk Volvo S60 +1.151
5 Esteban Guerrieri Honda Civic +1.245
(Times in CET)
06:10 Free Practice 1 (45 min)
02:15 Free Practice 2 (45 min)
07:10 Race 1 (8 laps)
03:40 Race 2 (11 laps)
Drivers’ – Top 5
1 Thed Björk Volvo S60 242,5 pts
2 Norbert Michelisz Honda Civic 226 (-16,5)
3 Nicky Catsburg Volvo S60 211,5 (-31)
4 Mehdi Bennani Citroën C-Elysée 209 (-33,5)
5 Tiago Monteiro Honda Civic 200 (-42,5)
9 Néstor Girolami Volvo S60 110 (-132,5)
1 Volvo 769,5 pts
2 Honda 739 (-30,5)
Compensation weights for Macau
Model – Time difference – Weight
Volvo S60 Polestar – 0.0 sec – +80 kg
Honda Civic – +0.1 sec – +70 kg
Chevrolet Cruze – +0.7 sec – +10 kg
Citroën C-Elysée – +0.8 sec – +0 kg
Lada Vesta – +1.0 sec – +0 kg
2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship Entry List
No – Driver – Team – Car
3 – Tom Chilton – GBR – Sébastien Loeb Racing – Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
5 – Norbert Michelisz – HUN – Honda Racing Team JAS – Honda Civic WTCC
8 – Aurélien Panis – FRA – Zengő Motorsport – Honda Civic WTCC
9 – Tom Coronel – NED – ROAL Motorsport – Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1
12 – Rob Huff – GBR – Münnich Motorsport – Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
18 – Tiago Monteiro – POR – Honda Racing Team JAS – Honda Civic WTCC
22 – Manuel Fernandes – POR – RC Motorsport – Lada Vesta WTCC
24 – Kevin Gleason – USA – RC Motorsport – Lada Vesta WTCC
25 – Mehdi Bennani – MOR – Sébastien Loeb Racing – Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
27 – John Filippi – FRA – Sébastien Loeb Racing – Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
34 – Ryo Michigami – Honda Racing Team JAS – Honda Civic WTCC
61 – Néstor Girolami – ARG – Polestar Cyan Racing – Volvo S60 TC1
62 – Thed Björk – SWE – Polestar Cyan Racing – Volvo S60 TC1
63 – Nicky Catsburg – NED – Polestar Cyan Racing – Volvo S60 TC1
68 – Yann Ehrlacher – FRA – RC Motorsport – Lada Vesta WTCC
86 – Esteban Guerrieri – ARG – Campos Racing – Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1
99 – Daniel Nagy – HUN – Zengő Motorsport – Honda Civic WTCC
FIA World Touring Car Championship 2017 Calendar
WTCC Race of Morocco (Marrakech): 7-9 April
WTCC Race of Italy (Monza): 28-30 April
WTCC Race of Hungary (Hungaroring): 12-14 May
WTCC Race of Germany (Nürburgring Nordschleife): 25-27 May
WTCC Race of Portugal (Vila Real): 23-25 June
WTCC Race of Argentina (Termas de Río Hondo): 15-16 July
WTCC Race of China (Shanghai Ningbo Circuit): 13-15 October
WTCC Race of Japan (Twin Ring Motegi): 27-29 October
WTCC Race of Macau (Circuit de Guia): 17-19 November
WTCC Race of Qatar (Losail International Circuit): 30 November-1 December
Duncan Forrester, Public Relations and Communications
Johan Meissner, Media Relations
Sunnie Zhang, Public Relations and Communications, China
John Paolo Canton, Public Relations and Communications, Americas
Polestar is Volvo Car Group’s performance road car brand. On 17 October 2017, Polestar became a new separately-branded electric performance car company, offering a portfolio of bespoke Polestar cars. Polestar will enjoy specific technological and engineering synergies with Volvo Cars and benefit from significant economies of scale as a result of its connection to Volvo. These synergies will allow it to design, develop and build world beating electrified high performance cars far faster than other new entrants into the market.
Polestar also builds the S60 and V60 Polestar, 367hp performance road cars with over 250 developments over-and-above the standard Volvo products through its Polestar Engineered offering. It also offers Polestar Engineered performance hardware upgrades and engine software optimisations for existing Volvo products.
About Cyan Racing
Founded in 1996 and today known as Cyan Racing, the privately owned and operated company has been Volvo Car Group’s official team in motorsport since its conception. Cyan Racing has claimed multiple titles with the Volvo 850, S40, C30 and S60. Today, the company enjoys success on track with the Polestar road car brand as Polestar Cyan Racing in pursuit of both the World Touring Car Championship and Swedish GT, racing the Volvo S60 Polestar road going performance car.