2013 WTCC Race of Sonoma 2013 WTCC Race of Sonoma 2013 WTCC Race of Sonoma

Yvan Muller’s hopes of wrapping up a fourth World Touring Car Championship title will be delayed until the next round in Japan, after Tom Chilton and Gabriele Tarquini secured victory in last weekend’s two races at Sonoma Raceway.

The Frenchman finished third and fourth in today’s respective races, falling just short of the 165-point margin he needed to have at the end of the weekend to claim another championship crown and take the coveted #1 signage to Citroen Racing next year.


Chilton led the field from pole position to claim his maiden WTCC win

Race 1: Chilton breaks his duck

Muller’s RML teammate Tom Chilton became the latest driver in the season to claim his first career WTCC victory, converting his Race 1 pole position into a lights-to-flag win in Sunday’s first 13-lap race around the tricky circuit.

Chilton led the pack into Turn 1 after the customary rolling start, with Tiago Monteiro jumping into second place ahead of Muller at the start.

The trio ran in that order for the remainder of the race, with Monteiro initially hassling Chilton for the lead until the Englishman was able to pull out a lead of two seconds over the Portuguese driver.

Muller, meanwhile, began to fall back into the clutches of the chasing Bamboo Engineering duo of Alex MacDowall and and James Nash, who mounted a brief – albeit fruitless – challenge for the Frenchman’s third place.

Ultimately Muller was able to pull away from the British pair to complete the podium, while MacDowall secured the Independent Trophy class win with fourth place overall. Sixth place went to Gabriele Tarquini, who made up three spots from his ninth-placed starting position

But it was the battle for seventh place which provided the best entertainment of the race. Defending champion Rob Huff was engaged in a titanic scrap with Tom Coronel, Marc Basseng, Stefano D’Aste, Pepe Oriola and Tom Boardman, who had rocketed up from twentieth place on the grid (a fact which was attributed to his jumping the start).

Huff and Coronel staged a terrific scrap for seventh placeThe battle ultimately came down to series veterans Huff and Coronel, who staged a thrilling scrap in the final laps that was ultimately resolved in the Dutchman’s favour when he slipped by Huff at Turn 7 on the tenth lap. The result ensured he was the best-placed BMW driver, atoning somewhat for his failure to make the Q2 cut in Saturday’s qualifying session.

For those of you who may have missed the race, you can watch the entire event right here:


2013 FIA WTCC Race of USA – Race 1 Final Classification (13 laps):

Driver Team Result YIT
1. Tom Chilton GBR RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 23:24.716  
2. Tiago Monteiro POR Castrol Honda Civic WTCC Honda + 2.161
3. Yvan Muller FRA RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 6.534  
4. Alex MacDowall GBR Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 10.659 Y
5. James Nash GBR Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 12.676 Y
6. Gabriele Tarquini ITA Castrol Honda Civic WTCC Honda + 14.897  
7. Tom Coronel NED ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 18.530
8. Robert Huff GBR Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 21.561  
9. Marc Basseng DEU Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 22.558  
10. Stefano D’Aste ITA PB Sport BMW 320TC BMW + 23.266 Y
11. Pepe Oriola ESP Tuenti Racing Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 26.219 Y
12. Michel Nykjær DEN NIKA Racing Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 35.488 Y
13. Hugo Valente FRA Campos Racing Team SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 37.826 Y
14. James Thompson GBR LADA Sport Granta LADA + 40.811  
15. Fredy Barth SUI Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC BMW + 41.619 Y
16. Charles Ka-Ki Ng HKG Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW + 41.971 Y
17. Franz Engstler DEU Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW + 42.242 Y
18. Mehdi Bennani MOR Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC BMW + 42.805 Y
19. Mikhail Kozlovskiy RUS LADA Sport Granta LADA + 43.997
20. Norbert Michelisz HUN Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC Honda + 48.934
21. Tom Boardman* GBR Special Tune Racing SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 56.653 Y
22. René Münnich DEU Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 1:08.023 Y
23. Fernando Monje* ESP Campos Racing Team SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 1:11.457 Y
  Not Classified Result  
DNF. Darryl O’Young HKG ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW 5 laps Y

* Denotes 30-second time penalty applied post-race for jumping the start
“Y” denotes Yokohama Independent Trophy competitor.


Tarquini made a terrific start to claim the lead in Race 2

Race 2: Tarquini leaps to second in the Drivers’ Championship with victory

Former series champion Gabriele Tarquini did enough to deny old teammate Yvan Muller another WTCC title this weekend, with the Italian claiming his second win of the season with an unchallenged drive to victory in the afternoon’s second race.

The 51-year-old Italian claimed his nineteenth WTCC race win from the front row of the partially-reversed grid, a result that moved him to fourth overall on the all-time winners’ list.

Starting alongside the Proteam BMW of Mehdi Bennani, many had expected that the Moroccan’s rear-wheel-drive 320TC would comfortably give him the edge off the grid, but it was the wily Tarquini who managed to claim the lead, bravely sweeping around Bennani around the outside of Turn 1 as the race got underway.

Without the pace to match Tarquini’s nimble Honda, Bennani had to spend the rest of his race fending off Norbert Michelisz in the second of the three Civic entries.

But Michelisz’s focus would have to switch from attack to defence later in the race, with Muller having steadily climbed through the field from his ninth-placed grid slot.

Muller’s path to a possible podium finish was made possible by his typically aggressive driving, with great diving passes on the likes of Tiago Monteiro, James Nash and Rob Huff. Huff ws particularly unfortunate to suffer a puncture, ruining his prospects of a good race result.

Muller therefore moved into fourth, rapidly closing on Michelisz, who had his mirrors full of the Frenchman’s Chevrolet. On the final lap, the pair was just inches apart, but the young Hungarian resisted the veteran to claim the final podium spot, while Monteiro remained hot on the heels of the pair to ensure three Hondas in the top-five, giving the Japanese carmaker the Manufacturers’ Championship title at its first full-scale attempt at the championship.

Tom Coronel again staged a charged up the order to finish sixth from his twelfth-placed grid slot, while Fredy Barth earned his first points finish of the weekend with seventh-place, picking off James Nash for the spot late in the race.

Race 1 winner Tom Chilton made a poor start from tenth on the grid, and couldn’t recover enough ground to finish in the top-ten. His poor race ensured Tarquini moved to second outright in the Drivers’ Championship standings, 144 points behind Muller.

With a maximum of 165 championship points up for grabs over the final six races of the season, Muller is a certainty to wrap up the championship next time out at Suzuka, although Tarquini and Michel Nykjaer – who failed to claim any points after starting from the back of the grid for both races – remain in mathematical contention.

The full race can be viewed here:


2013 FIA WTCC Race of USA – Race 2 Final Classification (13 laps):

Driver Team Result YIT
1. Gabriele Tarquini ITA Castrol Honda Civic WTCC Honda 23:40.401  
2. Mehdi Bennani MOR Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC BMW + 2.434 Y
3. Norbert Michelisz HUN Zengõ Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC Honda + 4.099
4. Yvan Muller FRA RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 4.606  
5. Tiago Monteiro POR Castrol Honda Civic WTCC Honda + 4.941
6. Tom Coronel NED ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 7.735
7. Fredy Barth SUI Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC BMW + 14.165 Y
8. James Nash GBR Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 17.865 Y
9. Marc Basseng DEU Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 18.746  
10. Stefano D’Aste ITA PB Sport BMW 320TC BMW + 19.234 Y
11. Tom Chilton GBR RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 20.858  
12. Darryl O’Young HKG ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 22.239 Y
13. Alex MacDowall GBR Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 24.265 Y
14. Hugo Valente FRA Campos Racing Team SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 24.436 Y
15. Fernando Monje ESP Campos Racing Team SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 31.098 Y
16. James Thompson GBR LADA Sport Granta LADA + 32.650  
17. Michel Nykjær DEN NIKA Racing Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 32.794 Y
18. Mikhail Kozlovskiy RUS LADA Sport Granta LADA + 47.352
19. René Münnich DEU Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 47.553 Y
20. Robert Huff GBR Münnich Motorsport SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 1 lap  
21. Pepe Oriola ESP Tuenti Racing Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 3 laps Y
22. Tom Boardman* GBR Special Tune Racing SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 4 laps Y
  Not Classified Result  
DNF. Charles Ka-Ki Ng HKG Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW 6 laps Y
DNF. Franz Engstler DEU Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW 2 laps Y

* Denotes 30-second time penalty applied post-race for jumping the start
“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.

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