Norbert Michelisz successfully converted pole position to a first win for Honda at the Japanese marque’s home track of Suzuka, as Yvan Muller secured his fourth World Touring Car Championship title in third place.
Zengo Motorsport driver Michelisz gradually opened up a 4.8 second lead over second-placed Alex MacDowall over the course of the 29 laps around the East configuration.
Muller held fourth at the start behind fast-starter Tiago Monteiro but moved up into third when the Honda driver ran wide and slipped down the order. The podium was enough for RML Chevrolet driver Muller to clinch the title, adding to his successes in 2008, 2010 and 2011.
After dropping behind team-mate Muller at the start, Tom Chilton finished close behind the Frenchman. Gabriele Tarquini ran fifth in his Honda until suffering a puncture, promoting James Nash.
Monteiro hit more trouble when he clashed with Pepe Oriola and was forced into a tyre stack, with the Spanish youngster handed a drive-through penalty for the misdemeanour. James Thompson took sixth, holding off Rob Huff and Tom Coronel. SEAT drivers Marc Basseng and Fernando Monje rounded out the top ten.