Rob Huff has claimed his maiden FIA World Touring Car Championship title by finishing in second place in an incident-filled final race of the season at Macau.
His team-mate Alain Menu claimed victory, with outgoing champion Yvan Muller claiming third to perfectly cap off Chevrolet’s final works-supported season in the championship series.
After failing to wrap up the championship in today’s earlier race, Huff lined up for the final race from ninth place on the partially-reversed grid order, having gained a place after Mehdi Bennani was sent to the back of the grid for having his BMW repaired outside of the declared parc ferme conditions.
The race lead immediately went to Independent Trophy frontrunner Norbert Michelisz, who got off the grid perfectly in his BMW to vault ahead of front-row starters Alex MacDowall and Pepe Oriola, while Menu rocketed up to fourth place with his own lightning quick getaway.
MacDowall quickly slipstreamed by Michelisz for the lead, and Menu was up to second place after easing by the Hungarian and Oriola in the opening two laps. He got by MacDowall on the third lap of the race, who himself dropped behind the duelling Michelisz and Oriola, who were waging their own private battle for Independent Trophy title honours.
MacDowall’s race came to a sudden end on the fourth lap after fifth-placed Muller nudged his fellow Chevrolet runner into a spin as they exited Mandarin.
The hapless MacDowall was sent straight into the barriers and immediate retirement, while Muller – who was overtaken by Huff in the melee – somehow managed to escape a thoroughly-deserved penalty from the FIA Stewards, who inexplicably felt no need to send the Frenchman on a tour of the pit lane.
MacDowall’s stricken car triggered the Safety Car, and the field was contained for four laps while the Brit’s car was moved out of harm’s way. Mehdi Bennani’s BMW had also retired at the same time, albeit in a different part of the circuit.
The racing resumed on the ninth lap of the race, but green flag conditions would only last a few seconds before a full-course caution was called again, this time when Michelisz and Oriola brought the Independent Trophy campaign to a close by colliding at Lisboa.
The race was unable to be restarted before the end of the allotted eleven laps, leaving Menu to lead a Chevrolet 1-2-3, while an ecstatic Huff took a long-awaited and very popular title by just 12 points over Menu.
2012 FIA WTCC Guia Race of Macau – Race 2 Final Classification (11 laps):
|1.||Alain Menu||RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||35:36.096|
|2.||Robert Huff||RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 0.320|
|3.||Yvan Muller||RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 0.889|
|4.||Tiago Monteiro||JAS Honda Civic S2000 TC||+ 9.015|
|5.||Darryl O’Young||Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 9.786||Y|
|6.||Franz Engstler||Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC||+ 10.127||Y|
|7.||Aleksei Dudukalo||Lukoil Racing SEAT León WTCC||+ 11.024||Y|
|8.||Fredy Barth||Swiss Racing SEAT León WTCC||+ 11.399||Y|
|9.||Tom Boardman||Special Tune Racing SEAT León WTCC||+ 11.582||Y|
|10.||Fernando Monje||SUNRED Engineering SEAT León WTCC||+ 11.900||Y|
|11.||André Couto||Tuenti Racing SR León 1.6T||+ 12.412||Y|
|12.||James Nash||Team Aon Ford Focus S2000 TC||+ 20.496|
|13.||Joseph Merszei||Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320si||+ 20.883||Y|
|14.||Filipe de Souza||China Dragon Chevrolet Lacetti||+ 21.920||Y|
|15.||Célio Alves Dias||China Dragon Chevrolet Lacetti||+ 22.760||Y|
|16.||Mak Ka Lok||RPM Racing BMW 320si||+ 24.471||Y|
|17.||Kin Veng Ng||China Dragon Chevrolet Cruze LT||+ 25.589||Y|
|18.||Eurico de Jesus||Five Auto Racing Honda Accord R||+ 26.243||Y|
|19.||Kei Cozzolino||ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC||+ 2 laps||Y|
|20.||Gabriele Tarquini||Lukoil Racing SEAT León WTCC||+ 2 laps|
|21.||Norbert Michelisz||Zengõ Motorsport BMW 320TC||+ 3 laps||Y|
|22.||Pepe Oriola||Tuenti Racing Team SEAT León WTCC||+ 3 laps||Y|
|23.||Stefano D’Aste||Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC||+ 3 laps||Y|
|NF.||Tom Coronel||ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC||4 laps|
|NF.||Alex MacDowell||Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||3 laps||Y|
|NF.||Tom Chilton||Team Aon Ford Focus S2000 TC||3 laps|
|NF.||Mehdi Bennani||Proteam Racing BMW 320TC||3 laps||Y|
|NF.||Henry Ho Wai Kun||Five Auto Racing Team BMW 320si||1 lap||Y|
|NS.||Charles Ka-Ki Ng||Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC||Y|
‘Y’ denotes Yokohama Independent Trophy competitor
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