Rob Huff has become the first WTCC driver to claim a clean sweep of wins at Macau in a single weekend, but this wasn’t enough to deprive Chevrolet team-mate Yvan Muller from claiming a third championship crown; the Frenchman finished third to take the title by three points.
With Race 2 beginning with a standing start, the front row of Franz Engstler (Engstler BMW) and Michel Nykjær were slow to get away, allowing the grid’s customary fast starter Tom Coronel (ROAL BMW) to leap into an early lead from the second row of the grid.
Huff slotted into third behind Nykjær on the long run into the Lisboa right-hander, while Muller (who started from seventh) picked up fifth place from the faltering Engstler.
If Muller remained fifth, Huff needed to win at all costs to claim the championship, and further around the lap, he forced his Chevrolet into the car’s width-sized gap that Nykjær left open on the approach to the Paiol left-hander to claim second place.
Now set with the obstacle of Coronel up ahead, he quickly closed down the gap and swept by the Dutchman to claim the lead on Lap 3, just seconds before another safety car interruption, when Gary Kwok cemented his unimpressive WTCC debut by heavily crashing his Wiechers BMW at Mandarin.
The racing would get underway once again on Lap 7, but with Muller having climbed past Mehdi Bennani (Proteam BMW) to claim fourth, Huff’s only hopes rested on a disaster of some sort for Muller. If the race finished this way, the pair would tie on 430 points and on nine wins apiece – Muller would claim the crown by dint of having two more second-placed finishes than Huff.
Muller then put the matter beyond doubt when he passed Nykjær for third on the ninth lap.
The top-three positions ran in that order until the chequered flag, with Huff driving a pair of races in vain.
Gabriele Tarquini snatched fourth from fellow SUNRED runner Nykjær on the final lap, leaving the Dane to finish fifth, ahead of Bennani, Engstler, Tiago Monteiro, Norbert Michelisz and Javier Villa.
2011 FIA WTCC Race of Macau Final Classification (Race 2 – 11 laps):
|1.||Robert Huff||RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||33:23.773|
|2.||Tom Coronel||ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC||+ 4.680|
|3.||Yvan Muller||RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 8.695|
|4.||Gabriele Tarquini||Lukoil-SUNRED SR León 1.6T||+ 9.047|
|5.||Michel Nykjær||SUNRED SR León 1.6T||+ 10.718|
|6.||Mehdi Bennani||Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC||+ 11.066|
|7.||Franz Engstler||Team Engstler BMW 320TC||+ 12.241|
|8.||Tiago Monteiro||SUNRED SR León 1.6T||+ 15.126|
|9.||Norbert Michelisz||Zengõ-Dension Team BMW 320TC||+ 16.686|
|10.||Javier Villa García||Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC||+ 16.950|
|11.||Pepe Oriola||SUNRED SR León 1.6T||+ 19.640|
|12.||Darryl O’Young||Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 20.088|
|13.||Kristian Poulsen||Team Engstler BMW 320TC||+ 22.457|
|14.||Charles Ka-Ki Ng||DeTeam KK BMW 320TC||+ 39.267|
|15.||Jo Merszei||Team Engstler BMW 320si||+ 1:02.249|
|16.||Philip Ma||Scuderia Proteam BMW 320si||3 laps behind|
|DNF.||Mak Ka Lok||RPM Racing Team BMW 320si||7 laps|
|DNF.||Filipe de Souza||Corsa Motorsport Chevrolet Lacetti||6 laps|
|DNF.||Gary Kwok||Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC||2 laps|
|DNF.||André Couto||Lukoil-SUNRED SR León 1.6T||1 lap|
|DNS.||Aleksei Dudukalo||Lukoil-SUNRED SR León 1.6T||did not start|
|DNS.||Alain Menu||RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||did not start|
|DNS.||Kuok Io Keong||Corsa Motorsport Chevrolet Lacetti||did not start|
|DNS.||Robert Dahlgren||Polestar Volvo C30 ‘Drive’||Injured|
|DNS.||Fredy Barth||Swiss SR León 1.6T||Injured|
[Images via FIA WTCC Media]