Front-row starter Yvan Muller would claim victory in the opening WTCC race at Monza

Yvan Muller kicked off his championship defence in appropriate style by winning the opening race of the 2012 World Touring Car Championship season, staging a hard-charging drive to claim the lead and win an incident-filled race at Monza.

Monteiro was eliminated in the first-corner meleePole-sitter Gabriele Tarquini lead the field away at the race’s rolling start, and held his nerve as the pack funnelled through the tight first chicane.

Not everyone was so lucky, and a tap from Norbert Michelisz was enough to see the luckless Tiago Monteiro eliminated from the race.

Further around the lap, the Chevrolets of Robert Huff and Alain Menu made contact at Lesmo 1 while disputing third place. This pitched Menu well into the kitty litter and down the order, while Huff was able to scramble back onto the track a little more quickly, only losing a couple of spots.

The main beneficiary was Rickard Rydell – making his return to the WTCC with a one-off drive with Chevrolet Motorsports Sweden – who jumped into third, while Tom Coronel claimed fourth ahead of Huff.

The first lap still had to be completed, and it was Muller who claimed the lead from Tarquini under braking for the Parabolica. His lead lasted just a few hundred metres before he out-braked himself at the start of the second lap, ceding his position back to the Italian after shortcutting the chicane.

Two laps later, Tarquini momentarily ran wide at Lesmo 2 on Isaac Tutumlu’s oil, and that was all the invitation Muller needed to snatch back the lead.

Muller won the opening raceTarquini would struggle for the remainder of the race with fading brakes and engine, and he let Huff – who had now managed to pass Coronel and Muller – through into second place.

Tarquini would hold off Rydell for third place, while Coronel was the best-placed BMW driver in fifth, ahead of the best-placed Independent Trophy driver, Pepe Oriola in the SEAT.

 


2012 FIA WTCC Race of Italy – Race 1 Final Classification (12 laps):

Driver Team Result YIT
1. Yvan Muller FRA RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 26:01.705  
2. Robert Huff GBR RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 0.446  
3. Gabriele Tarquini ITA Lukoil Racing SEAT León 1.6T SEAT + 2.305  
4. Rickard Rydell SWE Chevrolet Sweden Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 2.745  
5. Tom Coronel NED ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 3.796  
6. Pepe Oriola ESP Tuenti Racing Team SEAT León 1.6T SEAT + 6.111 Y
7. Alain Menu SUI RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 6.326  
8. Alex MacDowell GBR Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 8.287 Y
9. Norbert Michelisz HUN Zengõ Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 8.431 Y
10. Alberto Cerqui ITA ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 9.257 Y
11. Stefano D’Aste ITA Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC BMW + 9.465 Y
12. Franz Engstler DEU Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW + 12.082 Y
13. Tom Chilton GBR Team Aon Ford Focus S2000 TC Ford + 12.668  
14. Pasquale di Sabatino ITA Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 15.886 Y
15. Charles Ka-Ki Ng HKG Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW + 48.135 Y
16. James Nash GBR Team Aon Ford Focus S2000 TC Ford + 56.503 Y
17. Gábor Wéber HUN Zengõ Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 1 lap Y
18. Aleksei Dudukalo RUS Lukoil Racing SEAT León 1.6T SEAT + 2 laps Y
  NOT CLASSIFIED    
DNF. Isaac Tutumlu ESP Proteam Racing BMW 320TC BMW 2 laps Y
DNF. Andrea Barlesi BEL SUNRED Engineering SEAT León TDi SEAT 1 lap Y
DNF. Mehdi Bennani MOR Proteam Racing BMW 320TC BMW 1 lap Y
DNF. Tiago Monteiro POR Tuenti Racing SEAT León TDi SEAT 0 laps  
DNS. Darryl O’Young HKG Special Tune Racing SEAT León 1.6T SEAT   Y
  FASTEST RACE LAPS    
  Rickard Rydell SWE Chevrolet Sweden Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 1:59.116  
  Pepe Oriola ESP Tuenti Racing Team SEAT León 1.6T SEAT 1:59.873 Y

 


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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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