Bargwanna tackles Macau as inaugural World Tour champion is crowned

Ben Bargwanna has continued to expand his international racing portfolio after competing in the final round of the Kumho TCR World Tour in Macau last weekend.

The Victorian followed the globe-trotting category to Macau following an epic two-weeks of action down under, which saw 10 of the world’s best touring car drivers tackle Sydney Motorsport Park and the world-famous Mount Panorama alongside Supercheap Auto TCR Australia.

The round marked the third appearance outside of Australia for Bargwanna after having previously featured in the opening two rounds of the season at two of the most renowned circuits in the world, Portimão and Spa Francorchamps.

However, a tight, challenging Macau circuit might have handed the 22-year-old his greatest challenge yet.

After taking an emphatic pole position at Race Sydney earlier this month, there was no doubt in the field that Bargwanna could stir the pot in qualifying, where he would go on to make it through to the second phase and secure 11th on the grid for race one.

A drama-filled opening contest then saw the Hangcha Forklifts Peugeot stay in one piece and maintain position for the entirety of the race, before falling behind Italy’s Marco Butti on the final lap to settle for 12th.

Unfortunately, the weekend took a turn for the worst in race two as Bargwanna only lasted a number of corners – eventually being forced to retire the car after heavy contact with the wall on the opening lap.

The incident ultimately ended what has been a well-journeyed season for Bargwanna Motorsport, claiming 17th outright in TCR World Tour with a season-best finish of 10th at Supercheap Auto Bathurst International.

Meanwhile, Hungarian Norbert Michelisz was crowned the inaugural Kumho TCR World Tour champion after picking up his fourth win of the season.

Entering the round third in the championship one point behind joint-leaders, Yann Ehrlacher and Rob Huff, the Hungarian driver took the early advantage by claiming pole position ahead of Hyundai teammate, Mikel Azcona.

Pole position was then converted into a victory in race one, with maximum points ensuring the ball was in his court for the final race of the season.

Starting further back in the field for race two, Michelisz was unable to integrate himself into the leading pack but was able to earn enough points to take the title with an eighth place finish.

Taking the victory in that race was Frédéric Vervisch, who did well to hold off all four of the Lynk & Co entries behind.

The Kumho TCR World Tour will now hold it’s the TCR World Finals at Algarve in Portimão on 1-3 March.