Muller claimed back-to-back wins

Yvan Muller has had all his Christmases come at once, claiming back-to-back wins at Valencia after the BMW drivers conspired to throw away victory after Tom Coronel and hometown favourite Javier Villa collided while disputing the lead.

Muller led home another Chevrolet podium lockout from team-mates Robert Huff and Alain Menu, with the Frenchman extending his championship lead over Huff to 16 points.

Race 2 had looked certain to be a rare BMW win (for 2011, at least), although the bolts were quickly becoming undone when pole-sitter Franz Engstler almost stalled from pole position, being lucky not to get collected by Michel Nykjær, who was himself issued with Coronel skipped away into an early lead, until...a drive-through penalty for jumping the start.

Engstler’s misfortune was Coronel’s gain, with the Dutchman sprinting into an early lead from fellow BMW runners Javier Villa and Norbert Michelisz.

The German marque’s best result looked to be in hand until the trio decided to hand victory on a plate to the chasing Chevrolets.

On Lap 9, Villa sparked the melee by nudging Coronel at Turn 2 as the pair braked for the corner. To the delight of his home fans, the Spanish rookie nipped through to take the lead, but his joy would be short-lived as Coronel immediately launched a counter-attack at Turn 3.

As they raced side-by-side through Turn 3, Coronel’s car drilled Villa’s left wheel-arch, and he finished him off by punting the hapless Villa into a spin at Turn 4.

Behind them, Michelisz hesitated, sensing the opportunity to profit at low cost, but his too-cautious approach was all the invitation that Muller needed to nip through into an unlikely lead, which would go on to become one of the Frenchman’s most opportunistic wins.

But as if BMW hadn’t yet taken the hint that it wasn’t to be their day, Michelisz tried one attack on Muller on the final lap when the Frenchman’s tyres were showing their wear.

Coronel, Villa and Michelisz would each throw away a chance at winning

With Michelisz boxed in by Muller, Huff took the opportunity to steal second place from the Hungarian at the final corner with a lunge up the inside. Michelisz tried to switch back to reclaim the place, but applied too much power and lost the rear end of his car, lurching into a clumsy spin to hand a podium ‘bluewash’ to the Chevrolets when a grateful Menu took third place.

The result meant that Chevrolet clinched back-to-back Manufacturers’ Championship crowns, having won all but two of the eighteen races held in a truly dominant championship year.

Coronel would finish fourth on the road, but would quickly be demoted to seventh when hit with a ten-second time penalty for his shenanigans with Villa, from which each blamed the other for triggering the fracas.

This promoted Gabriele Tarquini to fourth, while Kristian Poulsen claimed his second Independent Trophy win of the day with fifth place, extending his lead over Michelisz in that title race.

 

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2011 FIA WTCC Race of Spain Final Classification (Race 2 – 13 laps):

Driver Team Result
1. Yvan Muller FRA RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 23:14.296
2. Robert Huff GBR RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 0.434
3. Alain Menu SUI RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 1.143
4. Gabriele Tarquini ITA Lukoil-SUNRED SR León 1.6T Sunred + 2.966
5. Kristian Poulsen DEN Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW 320TC BMW + 5.560
6. Norbert Michelisz HUN Zengõ-Dension Team BMW 320TC BMW + 9.201
7. Tom Coronel* NED ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 12.184
8. Pepe Oriola ESP SUNRED SR León 1.6T Sunred + 15.651
9. Robert Dahlgren SWE Polestar Volvo C30 1.6T ‘Drive’ Volvo + 17.952
10. Franz Engstler DEU Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW 320TC BMW + 19.055
11. Stefano D’Aste ITA Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC BMW + 22.493
12. Mehdi Bennani MOR Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC BMW + 24.806
13. David Sigacev RUS DeTeam KK Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 29.091
14. Darryl O’Young HKG Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 30.030
15. Michel Nykjær DEN SUNRED SR León 1.6T Sunred + 30.488
16. Yukinori Taniguchi JPN Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 40.370
17. Fabio Fabiani ITA Scuderia Proteam BMW 320si BMW + 1:41.824
18. Fredy Barth SUI Swiss Racing SR León 1.6T Sunred 2 laps behind
19. Javier Villa García ESP Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC BMW 4 laps behind
           
  NOT CLASSIFIED        
DNF. Aleksei Dudukalo RUS Lukoil-SUNRED SR León 1.6T Sunred 4 laps
DNF. Tiago Monteiro POR SUNRED SR León 1.6T Sunred 1 lap
           
FASTEST LAP
  Yvan Muller FRA RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 1:44.683

* Denotes a 10-second time penalty applied post-race for causing a collision with Javier Villa.

[Original images via FIA WTCC Media]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.

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