Race 1 - Michelisz wins, Muller is championNorbert Michelisz converted his pole position into his first victory for Honda, giving the Japanese manufacturer a special triumph on its own playground.
Yvan Muller finished the race in third position, behind the Yokohama Trophy winner Alex MacDowall, and clinched his fourth WTCC title.
The first race at Suzuka was split in three parts: the early laps were full of action with close fights for the point position between several group of cars; halfway through the 26-lap distance drivers adopted a more conservative pace; the in the final laps the battle intensified again with plenty of contacts and overtaking.
And this cost Tarquini and Monteiro the possibility to make Honda’s result even greater.
Start – Michelisz sprints to the lead from MacDowall; Monteiro passes Muller for 3rd
Lap 1 – Monteiro tries to overtake MacDowall on the outside at T1 but drivers wide and drops to 7th
Lap 3 – Tarquini and Oriola have a close fight for 5th place
Lap 4 – multiple contacts between Tarquini, Oriola, Nash and Monteiro; Nash overtakes Oriola for 6th
Lap 5 – Thompson overtakes Coronel for 10th
Lap 8 – Yoshimoto runs wide at T1 and loses 14th place to Monje
Lap 9 – Oriola, Monteiro, Huff, Bennani and Basseng battle for 7th
Lap 12 – O’Young overtakes Kozlovskiy for 18th
Lap 18 – Monteiro dives inside Oriola at T6, they make contact and Monteiro hits a pile of tyres; Thompson moves up to 6th
Lap 19 – Tarquini loses 5th place because of a puncture
Lap 20 – Oriola is given a drive through for the incident with Monteiro
Lap 23 – Huff overtakes Coronel for 7th
Lap 24 – MacDowall defends second place from Muller and Chilton
Lap 26 – Michelisz wins from MacDowall, Muller is 3rd and clinches the title