Yvan Muller has held out Norbert Michelisz to claim victory in the opening WTCC race in Hungary

Yvan Muller has maintained his run as the only multiple race-winner in the 2013 FIA World Touring Car Championship season with victory in today’s opening race at the Hungaroring.

The RML Chevrolet driver took his third win of the year, finishing 0.6 seconds ahead of local favourite Norbert Michelisz at the end of the twelve-lap race.

With the race getting underway with a traditional rolling start, the entire field made it through the opening corner, but all hell broke loose at Turn 2 when Tom Coronel ran into the back of Tiago Monteiro.

The contact tipped the Portuguese driver’s Honda into a spin, triggering a multi-car accident further back that caught out James Thompson, Pepe Oriola, Fredy Barth and Darryl O’Young. Thompson, Oriola and Barth were unable to continue any further, while O’Young was able to pit and rejoin proceedings after repairs to his ROAL BMW.

The contact possibly caused further problems for Monteiro, who speared into the barriers on the second lap as he braked for Turn 1. Despite all the carnage, the race was able to continue without a safety car interruption.

Monteiro retired on the second lap

Up at the front, Muller led from Michelisz, putting the hammer down in the early laps to build himself enough of a buffer over the Hungarian before his Honda’s tyres came up to temperature. Michelisz was able to close on the Frenchman in the closing laps, although despite the enormous crowd support he was unable to find a way past the three-time champion.

Gabriele Tarquini had a rather anonymous race to finish in third place, while behind him there was a thrilling scrap for fourth place between Rob Huff – who made a great start from eighth on the grid – and Coronel, who had recovered from his opening-lap bingle with Monteiro with neat overtaking moves on Mehdi Bennani and Coronel.

Coronel tried a late pass on Huff on the tenth lap, but the Englishman resisted and the BMW ran wide at Turn 4, which allowed the chasing Bennani up to fifth position.

The top-five finished in that order, which gave Bennani the Independent Trophy honours and plenty of motivation to challenge for a maiden outright podium – and possibly the win – when he starts from the front row of the grid in Race 2.

Coronel survived a post-race visit with the FIA Stewards to keep sixth place, finishing ahead of Chilton and the Bamboo Chevrolets of James Nash and Alex MacDowall.

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

Driver Team Result YIT
1. Yvan Muller FRA RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 23:17.125  
2. Norbert Michelisz HUN Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC Honda + 0.617
3. Gabriele Tarquini ITA Castrol Honda Civic WTCC Honda + 12.670  
4. Robert Huff GBR Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 13.573  
5. Mehdi Bennani MOR Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC BMW + 13.861 Y
6. Tom Coronel NED ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 14.133
7. Tom Chilton GBR RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 15.021  
8. Alex MacDowall GBR Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 17.343 Y
9. James Nash GBR Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 18.073 Y
10. Michel Nykjær DEN NIKA Racing Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 18.465 Y
11. Marc Basseng DEU Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 23.782  
12. Hugo Valente FRA Campos Racing Team SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 28.395 Y
13. Franz Engstler DEU Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW + 29.116 Y
14. Stefano D’Aste ITA PB Sport BMW 320TC BMW + 30.474 Y
15. Charles Ka-Ki Ng HKG Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW + 34.221 Y
16. Fernando Monje ESP Campos Racing Team SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 35.498 Y
17. Mikhail Kozlowskiy RUS LADA Sport Granta LADA + 39.708
18. René Münnich DEU Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 44.193 Y
  Not Classified Result  
NC. Darryl O’Young HKG ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW 5 laps Y
DNF. Tom Boardman GBR Special Tune Racing SEAT León WTCC SEAT 3 laps Y
DNF. Tiago Monteiro POR Castrol Honda Civic WTCC Honda 1 lap
DNF. Fredy Barth SUI Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC BMW 1 lap Y
DNF. Pepe Oriola ESP Tuenti Racing Team SEAT León WTCC SEAT 0 laps Y
DNF. James Thompson GBR LADA Sport Granta LADA 0 laps  

“Y” denotes Yokohama Independent Trophy competitor.

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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.