Thed Björk climbed to fourth position in the first FIA World Touring Car Cup race at Suzuka while Lynk & Co Cyan Racing team-mate Andy Priaulx was taken out by Hyundai driver Nicky Catsburg.
"We knew that it was going to be extremely difficult to make places, so to go from sixth to fourth is something I am pleased with. My strategy ahead of the race was to drive a smart race and score as many points as possible, something we achieved," said Thed Björk.
Andy Priaulx was fighting with Hyundai driver Norbert Michelisz for 13th position at the end of the race. Michelisz allowed team-mate Nicky Catsburg past, with the Hyundai driver taking the three-time World Champion out of the race.
"That was totally intentional to swap positions and then drive me off the road. That was the most unsporting thing I've ever seen in my life. He was using his car as a weapon of intent, that is super-dangerous," said Andy Priaulx.
"As a factory driver you shouldn't be doing that kind of thing as an example for all the young drivers coming through. If I had killed a marshal, hurt myself or hit Yann (Ehrlacher) side on, who knows what that kind of driving behavior could have caused. I think that should be immediate exclusion for the rest of the season."
Quadruple World Champion Yvan Muller was a man on the move in the race, climbing 14 places from 25th position on the grid to finish eleventh.
"Not bad, especially on this kind of circuit. Sometimes you choose the right line and sometimes wrong line in the races, this time I chose the right one. I did a really good first lap and it was a lot of cars to overtake during the race, it was good. We will try to improve further for tomorrow," said Yvan Muller.
23-year-old Yann Ehrlacher fought hard in the race to finish 12th from 13th on the grid.
"I got a good start and avoided the chaos of the first lap. The race was quite tough on the tyres, but I managed to bring back some points and that is good," said Yann Ehrlacher.
Yvan Muller keeps third in the championship, 27 points from new points leader Esteban Guerrieri, with Thed Björk fourth, 41 points from the top.
Lynk & Co Cyan Racing keeps the lead of the team championship, seven points ahead of Honda team Münnich Motorsport.
The WTCR weekend in Japan continues tomorrow with two races of 24 and 28 laps respectively.
FIA WTCR Race of Japan
Results – Race 1
Times in CEST (local time is +7h)
Sunday October 27th
03:00-03:30 – Race 2 (24 laps)
04:30-05:00 – Race 3 (28 laps)
Points for drivers – Top 5
1 Esteban Guerrieri Honda Civic 262 points
2 Norbert Michelisz Hyundai i30 249 (-13)
3 Yvan Muller Lynk & Co 03 235 (-27)
4 Thed Björk Lynk & Co 03 221 (-41)
5 Mikel Azcona Cupra TCR 190 (-72)
7 Yann Ehrlacher Lynk & Co 03 181 (-81)
22 Andy Priaulx Lynk & Co 03 50 (-212)
Points for teams – Top 5
1 Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 456 points
2 Münnich Motorsport 449 (-7)
3 BRC Hyundai Squadra 413 (-43)
4 BRC Hyundai Lukoil 274 (-182)
5 PWR Racing 236 (-220)
6 Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 231 (-225)
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About Cyan Racing
Cyan Racing was founded in 1996 and was formerly named Polestar until Volvo Cars acquired the performance section and trademark in 2015. Cyan Racing is privately owned and operated. The team has claimed multiple titles, most recently the 2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup team title and the double 2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship titles for driver and manufacturer – and participated in the development of the Polestar performance models of the Volvo S60 and V60 in the years 2013 to 2015.
About Lynk & Co
Lynk & Co is the new global urban mobility brand addressing the needs and preferences of the connected generation and challenging auto industry conventions. Its products are designed and engineered in Sweden and will be sold globally.