Yvan Muller has rounded off another sensational weekend for the RML Chevrolet team, winning the second race of the World Touring Car Championship round at Brno.
After losing out to team-mate Robert Huff in the opening race, the Frenchman was thrilled to take the spoils of victory in the second race, and a great start off the line was one of the big factors.
Starting from eighth position, the defending WTCC title-holder leapt to third by the end of the first lap.
Further in front, front-row starter Tom Coronel easily accounted for polesitter Michel Nykjær on the run into the first corner. But the Dutchman’s hopes of taking BMW’s first win of the season would be short-lived, for he soon had Muller dancing in his rearview mirrors after the Frenchman slipped by Nykjær to take second place.
After barely a couple of laps battling, Muller dived by Coronel at Turn 5, and was never headed.
Muller’s Chevrolet team-mates Huff and Alain Menu were also staging a climb through the field, and they were shortly on the tail of Coronel, who staged a terrific fight to hold the two Cruzes at arm’s length until the chequered flag. Menu collected third place, while Huff consolidated his 25-point championship lead with fourth place.
Nykjær took a steady fifth place, while Gabriele Tarquini finished sixth on his maiden outing in SUNRED’s new 1.6-litre turbo engined SEAT. The former WTCC title-holder had a typically tough race, battling with Englster BMW’s Kristian Poulsen in the latter stages of the race before the pair made contact. The Dane was sent skating into the gravel trap, and finished eighth.
Seventh place and the Independents’ Trophy race win went to Javier Villa in the Proteam BMW, who has now closed to within four points of Poulsen’s outright lead in the standings.
Robert Dahlgren made up one spot on his tenth-placed starting position to finish ninth in the Volvo, while Proteam driver Mehdi Bennani rounded out the points in tenth.
Hopes that Norbert Michelisz could stage another burn from the stern drive in Race 2 were dashed when he made contact while battling with Darryl O’Young’s Bamboo Chevrolet. The Hungarian was handed a 30-second time penalty by race stewards, who took a dim view of the fact that he had also caused a collision at the previous round at the Hungaroring.
The Hungarian was issued with a ten-place grid penalty, suspended for the next three events. Michelisz was earlier penalised and sent to the back of the grid when his car was found to be underweight after qualifying.
The time penalty saw Michelisz demoted from his eleventh-placed finishing result to fifteenth. This promoted Pepe Oriola (SUNRED), Tiago Monteiro (SUNRED), Aleksei Dudukalo (SUNRED) and Yukinori Taniguchi (Bamboo) ahead of him.
2011 FIA WTCC Race of Czech Republic Final Classification (Race 2 – 10 laps):
|1.||Yvan Muller||RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||22:08.247|
|2.||Tom Coronel||ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC||+ 4.183|
|3.||Alain Menu||RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 4.415|
|4.||Robert Huff||RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 5.033|
|5.||Michel Nykjær||SUNRED SR León 1.6T||+ 8.450|
|6.||Gabriele Tarquini||Lukoil-SUNRED SR León 1.6T||+ 9.118|
|7.||Javier Villa García||Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC||+ 9.381|
|8.||Kristian Poulsen||Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW 320TC||+ 11.383|
|9.||Robert Dahlgren||Polestar Volvo C30 1.6T ‘Drive’||+ 11.627|
|10.||Mehdi Bennani||Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC||+ 11.988|
|11.||Pepe Oriola||SUNRED SR León 1.6T||+ 19.966|
|12.||Tiago Monteiro||SUNRED SR León 1.6T||+ 21.209|
|13.||Aleksei Dudukalo||Lukoil-SUNRED SEAT León 2.0 TDI||+ 22.252|
|14.||Yukinori Taniguchi||Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 24.809|
|15.||Norbert Michelisz*||Zengõ-Dension Team BMW 320TC||+ 42.517|
|16.||Fredy Barth||Swiss Racing SR León 1.6T||3 laps behind|
|NF.||Darryl O’Young||Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||5 laps|
|NF.||Franz Engstler||Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW 320TC||1 lap|
|NF.||Urs Sonderegger||Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC||0 laps|
|Yvan Muller||RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||2:11.640|
* Denotes 30-second time penalty applied post-race for causing a collision
[Original images via FIA WTCC Media]