Last year’s World Touring Car Championship runner-up Robert Huff has opened his account of race victories, taking a convincing win in the second race at the Slovakia Ring.
After posting his first race retirement in two years in the day’s earlier race, Huff bounced back from that disappointment to lead Chevrolet team-mate Yvan Muller – who himself had a trying first race – across the line. Huff has now moved into a clear second in the championship race, 27 points behind defending champion Muller.
The thrills and spills continued into the second ten-lap race after an exciting opener, and the highlight in this bout was a great battle between Muller and Race 1 winner Gabriele Tarquini for second place.
The start of the race was again full of action. Pole-sitter Stefano D’Aste converted his front-row start into the lead, but his stint at the front lasted only two corners before he carried too much speed into Turn 2 and ran wide. This left him vulnerable to attack at the Turn 3 hairpin, and he found himself hit from behind by Alain Menu.
The flamboyant Italian fell to 15th at the end of the opening lap, while Menu would suffer a slow puncture and retire after three laps.
D’Aste’s dramas gifted Pepe Oriola a clear run to claim another Independent Trophy victory. The impressive teenager crossed the line fifth overall in his SEAT, getting past fellow independent runner Norbert Michelisz – who had rocketed to third at the first corner from ninth on the grid, but progressively lost pace thereafter.
On the final lap, Tarquini tried a move on Muller at Turn 6, tipping the Frenchman into a half-spin that he incredibly recovered. Rather than face a certain penalty from the stewards, Tarquini lifted off and allowed Muller to keep second place.
With Tom Coronel finishing fourth (courtesy of a now-customary lightning start) and Oriola fifth, the top ten was completed by independent runners Michelisz, Mehdi Bennani, Alberto Cerqui, and Darryl O’Young, with Tom Chilton staging an impressive recovery after his first race dramas to cross the line in tenth place.
The series now crosses the border and makes the short trip to Budapest, where the competitors will again race next weekend at the Hungaroring.
2012 FIA WTCC Race of Slovakia – Race 2 Final Classification (10 laps):
You can watch the entire race here: