RML’s Yvan Muller beat local hero Norbert Michelisz to victory in the first World Touring Car Championship race in Hungary by just 0.617 seconds, with Gabriele Tarquini completing the podium.
On home soil many had expected Michelisz to flourish and he didn’t disappoint his home fans. However the Hungarian was never able to get close enough to Muller to make a move, despite reducing the gap to the Frenchman from over a second half-way through the race to less than half a second by the penultimate lap.
Muller held on to take his third win of the season, extending his championship lead over third-placed race finisher Tarquini to 36 points. Tarquini finished more than 12 seconds off the lead duo at the end, having spent most of the race driving defensively.
Indeed Tarquini headed a queue of cars that produced the most exciting battles of the race. Rob Huff finished in fourth, having had to drive a defensive race due to pressure from the BMWs behind him. At one point it had been Tom Coronel pushing Huff for fourth, but as the Dutchman attempted to pass on the outside at turn 12 on lap ten he allowed Mehdi Bennani through instead. The Moroccan went on to finish in fifth and as the top Yokohama Independent driver, ahead of Coronel in sixth.
Tom Chilton finished seventh, having caught the back of the battling group in front of him in the second half of the race. The Brit finished ahead of a trio of Chevrolet’s, with the bamboo cars of Alex MacDowall and James Nash eighth and ninth. Michel Nykjær in his Nika Racing Chevrolet completed the top ten.
Several driver’s races ended at turn two on the opening lap. The ROAL Motorsport BMW of Darryl O’Young made contact with the back of Fernando Monje’s SEAT, which pitched O’Young into the side of James Thompson’s LADA and Monje into Fredy Barth. Although Monje and O’Young were able to initially continue, O’Young would later retire on the fifth lap of the race.
Tiago Monteiro recorded this third retirement of the season when his car went straight on at turn one on the second lap, with the Honda having suffered from a front-left puncture.
Round 8 is scheduled for 14:50 CEST (13:50 BST).