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Macau Welcomes Return of FIA World Touring Car Championship

After a three-year hiatus, the FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) returns to the streets of Macau in 2017, with November's event set to make history.

 

With an international field, not only will the championship's traditional two-race format be split across two days of action - on Saturday November 18 and Sunday November 19 - but 20 TC1 cars are set to contest an FIA WTCC event for the first time since the latest generation of regulations were employed universally in the world's premier tin-top category.

 

Topping the bill are the factory entries of Volvo and Honda, with the two locked in a fierce battle for the manufacturers' title and their lead drivers jousting for drivers' honours.

 

Polestar Cyan Racing’s challenger, the Volvo S60 Polestar, went through a rigorous test and development programme before its deployment for the 2016 season but has come on in leaps and bounds in 2017. Thed Björk is the current championship leader and has two victories to his name, while highly-rated team mates Nicky Catsburg and Néstor Girolami have also recorded a victory apiece this campaign.

 

Honda's leading two contenders have a wealth of experience in Macao. Ex-Formula 1 driver Tiago Monteiro - a championship stalwart since 2007 - is without a victory around the 6.2km circuit in FIA WTCC machinery, but is the defending winner of the Macau Guia Race having won the event last year, while Norbert Michelisz scored the first of his FIA WTCC victories on the Guia Circuit in 2010. The pair are joined by Ryo Michigami.

 

Rob Huff will head to Macao among the favourites, with a record eight previous tin-top successes on the Guia Circuit. A ninth would make Huff, who is driving a ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Citroën C-Elysée this season, the most decorated racer on two or four wheels in Macao history.

 

Tom Chilton is another man at the wheel of a Citroën C-Elysée, alongside regular-season Sébastien Loeb Racing team-mates Mehdi Bennani and John Filippi. Tom Coronel add race-winning experience to the field.

 

The nephew of the most decorated FIA WTCC driver Yvan Muller, Yann Ehrlacher will make his Macao debut as he looks to continue his impressive maiden season, while team-mate Kevin Gleason has pedigree on the Guia Circuit - having qualified second in 2015. Long-standing FIA WTCC outfit Zengő Motorsport continues to put its faith in young drivers Dániel Nagy and Zsolt Dávid Szabó.

 

Bolstering the field are four additional entrants for the prestigious race, with former F1 test driver and FIA WTCC race winner Ma Qing Hua the most notable of those. Ma is no stranger to Macao, having contested the 2014 event for the factory Citroën outfit, and this year will pilot a fourth Sébastien Loeb Racing-run Citroen C-Elysée - the same machinery with which he previously claimed two FIA WTCC wins.

 

Macanese driver Mak Ka Lok - who has 12 FIA WTCC starts to his name - will drive a third RC Motorsport Lada Vesta, while Po Wah Wong and Clerebold Chan Kin-Pong, both from Hong Kong, will race a pair of Campos Racing Chevrolet Cruzes.

 

2016 Macau Guia Race

 

1.

Tiago Monteiro

PRT

WestCoast Racing

Honda Civic

2.

Jean Karl Vernay

FRA

Leopard Racing Team

Volkswagen Golf GTI

3.

Pepe Oriola

ESP

Craft Bamboo Racing

SEAT León SEQ

Fastest Lap: Pepe Oriola/Craft Bamboo Racing/Lap 7/2:35.494/141.69 km/h

 

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Macau Grand Prix Organizing Committee

24/10/2017

2017-10-24