Norbert Michelisz won the World Touring Car Championship Yokohama Trophy for independent drivers despite a pair of DNFs at the series finale in Macau. The overall WTCC drivers’ title went to Chevrolet racer Rob Huff.
Michelisz, a 28-year-old Hungarian who races a 320 TC for Zengö Motorsport, went into the finale at Macau with a slim lead over SEAT racer Pepe Oriola in second and BMW racer Stefano D’Aste in third.
All three racers were involved in a crash on lap one of the first sprint at Macau. Oriola was unable to continue, and both Michelisz and D’Aste exited the race after a few more laps. Huff, who could have clinched the title in the race, hit the wall with five laps left, enabling his Chevrolet teammates Yvan Muller and Alain Menu to finish first and second and close up the title chase.
In race two, Michelisz led from the pole, but fell back to third early in the race. Oriola, who was running in fourth, rear-ended Michelisz BMW, shoving it down the track and eventually sending it into the air. Both racers went into a tire barrier and retired. D’Aste, who was involved in a lap one incident, retired after eight laps. Menu won the race, with Huff finishing second to clinch his championship. Muller finished third, leaving Chevrolet with a podium sweep in its last race as a WTCC factory team.
ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel finished sixth in race one and exited race two when the radiator on his 320 TC was punctured on the fourth lap.
Twenty-first century Walter Mittys can take heart from Michezlisz’s path to the Yokohama Trophy. As he tells the story, “I fell in love with motorsport from the very first time I played a racing game on my computer. At that time, however, I didn’t have the chance to get in the driver’s seat of a real racing car. This meant the computer games were a good way to indulge my passion. They were also a good platform to get myself noticed. I had a great deal of luck that some people recognized my racing talent based on how I played the games and, through this, gave me a chance to drive a real racing car. That’s six years ago, now – I can hardly believe what we’ve managed to achieve since then!”—Brian S. MorganBack to News