Kevin Ceccon crossed the finishing line in first position in WTCR’s Race 3 at Suzuka, but he was dropped to third by a five-second time penalty; this handed victory to Gabriele Tarquini who staked a serious claim on the title. In fact the Italian has stretched his leading margin in the standings to 39 points ahead of Yvan Muller, when 85 are still at stake in the Macau finale.
At the start, Ceccon was slow in moving from the pole position and dropped to fourth, as Tarquini took the lead from Yann Ehrlacher and Aurélien Comte.
During the first lap Muller and Pepe Oriola made contact, while Ceccon overtook Comte for third. The Italian moved up to second as he passed Ehlacher on lap 2, however he was handed a five-second time penalty for being in the wrong position on the grid.
Ceccon took the virtual lead from Tarquini on lap 7; behind the leaders Ehrlacher lost his third place as he stopped on the track. The fight for the sixth place became a fierce battle between Oriola, Esteban Guerrieri, Rob Huff, Muller, Norbert Michelisz and Frédéric Vervisch who were clashing, swapping paints and cutting chicanes. Eventually, Oriola was given a drive-through for repeatedly infringing the track limits and dropped out of the points.
Ceccon pushed hard to make up of the penalty, but in the end it was Tarquini who scored his fifth race win of the season from Comte and Ceccon; Bennani overtook Panis for fourth during the final lap, while Huff, Vervisch, Thed Björk, Michelisz and Jean-Karl Vernay rounded off the top-ten.
In the standings, Tarquini leads with 291 points, Muller is second with 252, Thed Björk third with 238 and Oriola fourth with 227.
The WTCR’s inaugural season will finish at Macau on November 15/18.
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