Yvan Muller secured his fourth podium finish of the 2013 World Touring Car Championship as he saw his Championship lead eaten into at the Slovakia Ring.
Team-mate Tom Chilton had a tougher weekend in Slovakia as he secured a solitary 7th place finish in the second race having spun out of the opening race, his second visit to the gravel in the day after his off in morning warm up.
Muller secured a fourth place finish in the opening round having challenged the Hondas of Tiago Monteiro and Norbert Michelisz for a podium finish for the majority of the race, Muller had the upper hand in speed but couldn’t find the opportunity to make his move.
The second race of the weekend saw the Frenchman line up 7th on the grid with the trio of Honda’s behind him and off the line, he was up to 5th and he then spent the next few laps fighting with former Chevrolet team-mate Rob Huff and former SEAT team-mate Tarquini for the final step on the podium.
Muller secured third after a three abreast move with Tarquini and Oriola and once into third, he set about taking second from Huff, and this was secured with two laps to go as the Briton ran wide.
Muller secured third and extended his Championship advantage slightly after seeing it eaten into after race one, his advantage 24 points over Tarquini.
Speaking after the race, Muller said: “Not a bad weekend, even if there is no victory. It’s not easy to race with the extra 40kg ballast on this track, but Honda is fast and we need to continue to work hard to maintain our current position.”
After his race one retirement, Chilton secured seventh in the second race after a race long battle with Michelisz in the Zengo Motorsport Honda and in the closing laps, Oriola in the Tuenti Racing SEAT Leon.
His result means that he held onto fourth in the Championship but closed in on Michel Nykjaer in third, 2 points separate the Chevrolet drivers heading to Hungary this coming weekend.
“We had a tough start to the day,” said Chilton. “I was trying a new setup for the first time but couldn’t get to grips with it. I made a mistake in both warm up and race 1, which cost me my pride and the team some hard work to put straight, but I’m happy we had a great last race with more points. And Yvan got a podium. The final fight between myself and Oriola was fantastic – side by side racing over two laps – that was good fun.”