After his double success at Donington Park, Yvan Muller has become the first driver in WTCC history to take two double wins after coming through from fifth on the grid to finish the European leg of the 2011 FIA World Touring Car Championship on top of the points.
The result also sees Chevrolet officially crowned as the 2011 Manufacturer’s Champions – an inevitable result given the dominance of the RML squad in 2011.
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Muller led home a Chevrolet 1, 2, 3 as Rob Huff finished second from seventh while Alain Menu came through from ninth on the grid to complete the RML lock out. As in race one, Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Kristian Poulsen secured the honours in the Independents’ Trophy.
At the start, Pole Position man Franz Engstler bogged down away from the line. Michel Nykjaer was the first driver to benefit – but his start was too quick and he was given a drive through penalty. This then gave the advantage to Tom Coronel, who started second on the grid, who immediately moved into the lead of the race.
Following Coronel through was Proteam Motorsport’s Javier Villa Garcia while rounding out the top three positions at the end of the opening lap was Norbert Michelisz – who had made a flying start from eighth on the grid.
The chasing pack, which was being led by Muller soon closed up on the leading BMW’s but was never able to close up enough to Michelisz to make a move on the Hungarian driver.
Once Muller’s team mates, Huff and Menu had moved into fifth and six, the order remained static until lap nine of thirteen – when the lead changed hands in controversial circumstances.
Heading into turn three, Villa tapped the rear of the ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC which forced the door open and Villa slipped through. Coronel battled back at the next corner which caused the Spanish driver to go off into the gravel, whilst Michelisz slowed due to the contact and through all of it emerged Muller to take the lead.
Michelisz kept the Frenchman honest for the rest of the race before losing it himself at the final corner, giving Chevrolet a 1, 2, 3 finish when just five laps previously, it had looked likely that BMW would record their best result of the season.
Behind the Chevrolet podium lock out, Coronel recovered to fourth with Lukoil-SUNRED’s Gabriele Tarquini fifth, winning Yokohama Independent runner Poulsen sixth, Michelisz seventh, Spaniard Pepe Oriola eighth, Robert Dahlgren in the Polestar Racing Volvo C30 Drive ninth and Oschersleben race winner Franz Engstler tenth.
So at the end of the European leg of the 2011 WTCC season, it is reining Champion Muller who leads with the way with 333 points compared to the 317 of Huff. Valencia has seen the Championship challenges of Tarquini, Coronel and Monteiro all end – so for the second season in succession, a Chevrolet driver will be crowned Champion.
The battle for honours in the Yokohama Independents Trophy has seen Poulsen move onto 99 Champion points, four points ahead of Michelisz while Engstler lies third with 82 points.
Fabio Fabiani secured the Jay-Ten trophy honours after finishing seventeenth overall in his Proteam Motorsport BMW 320si.
There are six races left for the 2011 FIA World Touring Car Championship title to be resolved and the teams face a seven week gap before the next round of the Championship, at Suzuka on the east circuit over the 22/23 October.