Click here for full WTCC race one results from Motegi

WTCC championship leader has made a huge stride towards the defence of his world title with victory in race one at Motegi.

The Citroen driver cleverly got the better of pole sitter Norbert Michelisz into turn one and never looked in danger after that to go on and take victory by three seconds.

Michelisz recovered from a poor start to hold on to second and was joined on the rostrum by fellow Honda driver Gabriele Tarquini who jumped up from sixth on the grid.

Ma Qing Hua won the tight midfield battle between the rest of the Citroens with fourth place ahead of Yvan Muller, Sebastien Loeb and Mehdi Bennani.

There was a lengthy gap between seventh and eighth with British driver Rob Huff leading home Tiago Monteiro, who had to start from the back of the grid after an engine change, and Hugo Valente who rounded out the points-paying positions.

Le Mans 24 Hours LMP2 winner Nicolas Lapierre made a solid but unspectacular start to his WTCC career in 11th, while ROAL Motorspor Chevrolet duo Tom Chilton and Tom Coronel both crashed out on successive laps.

 

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