Yvan Muller has claimed victory in the opening race at Porto

Yvan Muller has secured a lights-to-flag victory in the opening World Touring Car Championship race at Porto, leading home a Chevrolet 1-2-3-4 in an incident-filled race.

There was action from the get-go when the rolling start got underway. While Muller assumed the lead with RML teammate Tom Chilton dutifully slotting in behind him, with Michel Nykjær keeping a watching brief in third.

Behind the leading trio, Gabriele Tarquini jumped fellow Honda runner Norbert Michelisz to claim fourth place, with the Hungarian quickly losing fifth place to Pepe Oriola, who was having his first race outing in a Chevrolet this weekend.

The field hadn’t even completed the first lap of the race when series returnee Tom Boardman locked up at Turn 6, sliding into the side of an innocent Mehdi Bennani and tipping the Moroccan into a spin, which dropped him to last place.

On the second lap, disaster befell Michelisz. The Honda driver slid wide at Turn 13 and slapped the wall, leading to his retirement from the race.

And it quickly became a double-whammy for Honda, with Tarquini pulling off at the same corner six laps later with a turbo issue not too dissimilar to the same problem that struck his teammate Tiago Monteiro in practice on Saturday.

Two laps later came a moment of high farce. A recovery vehicle was circulating the track and a train of cars came upon it with next to no warning at Turn 12. Fredy Barth pitched his BMW into a spin to avoid it, but Franz Engstler – in an accident bizarrely reminiscent of his 2009 collision with the safety car at Pau – was totally blindsided, and slammed into the rear of the truck after a helpful tap from behind by Hugo Valente, causing heavy front-end damage to his car.

This incident brought out the safety car for two laps while the wreckage was cleared. When racing resumed for the final sprint to the line, the leading four Chevrolets skipped clear of the chasing Rob Huff and James Thompson, while late charges from Tom Coronel and Stefano D’Aste allowed them to force their way by Marc Basseng, who slipped to tenth place behind crowd favourite Tiago Monteiro, who gained eight places from his lowly grid position at the end of the race.

Race 2 gets underway at 17:05 WET/18:05 CET, where Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet driver James Nash will target claiming his second win of the season from pole position. He will start alongside Marc Basseng’s SEAT.


2013 FIA WTCC Race of Portugal – Race 1 Final Classification (12 laps):

Driver Team Result YIT
1. Yvan Muller FRA RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 27:38.637  
2. Tom Chilton GBR RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 0.343  
3. Michel Nykjær DEN NIKA Racing Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 0.665 Y
4. Pepe Oriola ESP Tuenti Racing Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 1.318 Y
5. Robert Huff GBR Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 2.493  
6. James Thompson GBR LADA Sport Granta LADA + 3.662  
7. Tom Coronel NED ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 6.333
8. Stefano D’Aste ITA PB Sport BMW 320TC BMW + 6.416 Y
9. Tiago Monteiro POR Castrol Honda Civic WTCC Honda + 6.977
10. Marc Basseng DEU Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 7.576  
11. James Nash GBR Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 10.632 Y
12. Darryl O’Young HKG ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 11.014 Y
13. Alex MacDowall GBR Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 11.953 Y
14. Charles Ka-Ki Ng HKG Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW + 12.291 Y
15. Fernando Monje ESP Campos Racing Team SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 12.842 Y
16. Nikolai Karamyshev RUS Campos Racing Team SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 13.234 Y
17. Fredy Barth SUI Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC BMW + 13.376 Y
18. Hugo Valente* FRA Campos Racing Team SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 41.485 Y
19. Mikhail Kozlowskiy* RUS LADA Sport Granta LADA + 1:03.630
20. Tom Boardman* GBR Special Tune Racing SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 1 lap Y
21. Franz Engstler DEU Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW + 3 laps Y
  Not Classified Result  
DNF. René Münnich DEU Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC SEAT 8 laps Y
DNF. Gabriele Tarquini ITA Castrol Honda Civic WTCC Honda 7 laps  
DNF. Mehdi Bennani MOR Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC BMW 3 laps Y
DNF. Norbert Michelisz HUN Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC Honda 1 lap

“Y” denotes Yokohama Independent Trophy competitor.
* Hugo Valente was issued with a thirty-second post-race time penalty and a ten-place grid penalty for the next round for ignoring yellow flags and causing an avoidable collision. Mikhail Kozlovskiy and René Münnich were punished for speeding at the rolling start. The Russian received a 30-second time penalty, the German (who was not classified) a 10-position grid penalty that remains suspended for three events. Tom Boardman was given a 30-second time penalty plus a 10-position grid penalty that remains suspended for three events for causing the incident with Mehdi Bennani.

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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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