Yvan Muller has capped of a perfect opening weekend of racing in the FIA World Touring Car Championship, claiming maximum points at the end of the weekend with victory in the second race at Monza.
In soaking conditions, the Frenchman charged through from tenth on the grid to the lead by the fifth lap of the race, and from that point he was never challenged, winning by 2.4 seconds from fellow Chevrolet runner Michel Nykjær finished second and also claimed the Independent Trophy class win on his full-time return to the championship.
Muller’s charge was impressive. As conditions closed in on the high-speed circuit and in rapidly fading light, Muller rocketed off the line and was fourth by the end of the opening lap.
By the end of the fourth lap, he’d climbed into second place, and quickly set about overhauling early race leader Gabriele Tarquini. The Honda driver made a small mistake exiting the Ascari chicane a lap later, and that was all the invitation Muller needed to take the lead and cruise to victory.
Tarquini, Nykjær and WTCC debutant Marc Basseng staged an entertaining battle for second place over the remaining laps, with the trio running nose-to-tail in a classic slipstreaming duel.
Nykjær managed to slip into second and break free of the remaining pair in the final laps, leaving Tarquini and Basseng to scrap for the final podium spot. Ultimately Tarquini prevailed, crossing the line a scant 0.087 seconds ahead of the very impressive Basseng, with a fast-closing Tom Chilton right behind them in fifth place.
Chilton had climbed up from ninth place on the grid, losing out on the chance of a podium after spending several laps stuck behind fellow Chevrolet runner and former teammate James Nash.
Behind Chilton came Pepe Oriola, Nash, Tiago Monteiro, Stefano D’Aste (who started from the back of the grid) and Rob Huff, who started from the pit lane.
The series will now decamp and cross the Mediterranean into Morocco, which will play host to the second round of the championship on the tough Marrakech street circuit in a fortnight’s time.
2013 FIA WTCC Race of Italy – Race 2 Final Classification (10 laps):
|1.||Yvan Muller||RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||23:27.254|
|2.||Michel Nykjær||NIKA Racing Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 2.482||Y|
|3.||Gabriele Tarquini||Castrol Honda Civic WTCC||+ 4.994|
|4.||Marc Basseng||Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC||+ 5.081|
|5.||Tom Chilton||RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 5.612|
|6.||Pepe Oriola||Tuenti Racing Team SEAT León WTCC||+ 6.755||Y|
|7.||James Nash||Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 14.445||Y|
|8.||Tiago Monteiro||Castrol Honda Civic WTCC||+ 20.573|
|9.||Stefano D’Aste||PB Sport BMW 320TC||+ 23.722||Y|
|10.||Robert Huff||Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC||+ 25.442|
|11.||Tom Coronel||ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC||+ 37.126|
|12.||Darryl O’Young||ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC||+ 41.394||Y|
|13.||Franz Engstler||Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC||+ 43.904||Y|
|14.||Fredy Barth||Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC||+ 45.921||Y|
|15.||Fernando Monje||Campos Racing Team SEAT León WTCC||+ 50.678||Y|
|16.||Tom Boardman||Special Tune Racing SEAT León WTCC||+ 53.591||Y|
|17.||Charles Ka-Ki Ng||Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC||+ 59.157||Y|
|18.||Jean-Philippe Dayraut||ANOME BMW 320TC||+ 1:06.537||Y|
|19.||Mehdi Bennani||Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC||+ 1:26.721||Y|
|20.||Alex MacDowall||Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 1 lap||Y|
|21.||René Münnich||Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC||+ 1 lap||Y|
|22.||Norbert Michelisz||Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC||+ 1 lap|
|NS.||James Thompson||LADA Sport Granta||DNS|
|NS.||Aleksei Dudukalo||LADA Sport Granta||DNS|
“Y” denotes Yokohama Independent Trophy competitor.