James Nash has secured his – and the Bamboo Engineering team’s – first ever World Touring Car Championship win in today’s second race at the Salzburgring, keeping points leader Yvan Muller at bay in another exciting twelve-lap race at the Austrian circuit.
Having narrowly missed out on a win in a race-long battle with Michel Nykjær in today’s opening race, Nash was a picture of determination in Race 2.
But is almost went pear-shaped as soon as the lights went out at the standing start, failing to convert his pole position into the lead when he was overtaken on the run into Turn 1 by Norbert Michelisz’s Zengõ Motorsport Honda.
He kept his cool, and used the Chevrolet’s superior top speed along the back straight to blast by the Hungarian and retake the lead, which he held on to for the rest of the race.
Behind him, Michelisz led the other Honda runners Tiago Monteiro and Gabriele Tarquini, but Tarquini wasn’t as well hooked up as his fellow Civic racers and fell down the order to finish eighth.
Defending WTCC title-holder Rob Huff made a terrific start, but he was one of several drivers to fall victim to the customary Chevrolet charge – led again by Nykjær and Yvan Muller – and was quickly overhauled by the rapid Chevrolet pair.
As he managed in Race 1, Muller once again tore through the field. He passed Nykjær for fifth place on the fourth lap and blasted by Pepe Oriola for fourth a lap later with another clinical move at the end of the back straight.
On the eighth lap, he eased ahead of Monteiro for the final spot on the podium, and then claimed second place from Michelisz on the penultimate lap.
For the first time in WTCC history, Independent Trophy drivers had claimed the top step of the podium in each race, underlining the improved competitiveness of the privateer runners in this year’s field.
For Muller, a double-podium and a low-scoring weekend for his main title rival Tarquini was reward enough: the Frenchman extended his championship lead to a hefty 80 points over the Italian, while Nash’s bumper points haul moved him into third place overall.
2013 FIA WTCC Race of Austria – Race 2 Final Classification (12 laps):
|1.||James Nash||Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||17:36.853||Y|
|2.||Yvan Muller||RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 1.438|
|3.||Norbert Michelisz||Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC||+ 1.818|
|4.||Tiago Monteiro||Castrol Honda Civic WTCC||+ 3.483|
|5.||Michel Nykjær||NIKA Racing Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 4.064||Y|
|6.||Alex MacDowall||Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 4.574||Y|
|7.||Pepe Oriola||Tuenti Racing Team SEAT León WTCC||+ 7.898||Y|
|8.||Gabriele Tarquini||Castrol Honda Civic WTCC||+ 9.025|
|9.||Robert Huff||Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC||+ 9.483|
|10.||Tom Coronel||ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC||+ 9.859|
|11.||Marc Basseng||Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC||+ 13.627|
|12.||James Thompson||LADA Sport Granta||+ 14.145|
|13.||Fredy Barth||Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC||+ 14.556||Y|
|14.||Franz Engstler||Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC||+ 14.857||Y|
|15.||Mikhail Kozlowskiy||LADA Sport Granta||+ 15.155|
|16.||Mehdi Bennani||Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC||+ 16.223||Y|
|17.||Fernando Monje||Campos Racing Team SEAT León WTCC||+ 27.497||Y|
|18.||René Münnich||Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC||+ 41.749||Y|
|19.||Charles Ka-Ki Ng||Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC||+ 46.282||Y|
|NC.||Tom Chilton||RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||6 laps|
|DNS.||Stefano D’Aste||PB Sport BMW 320TC||Y|
|DNS.||Darryl O’Young||ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC||Y|
|DNS.||Hugo Valente||Campos Racing Team SEAT León WTCC||Y|
“Y” denotes Yokohama Independent Trophy competitor.