Muller takes fifth win of season in Porto

Muller takes fifth win of season in Porto

Photo by FIA WTCC Media

Photo by FIA WTCC MediaFrance’s Yvan Muller moved even further clear in the lead of the World Touring Car Championship by heading an RML 1-2 in Porto, beating Brit Tom Chilton to the win by 0.343 seconds.

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Muller’s lead in the championship now stands at 131 points over Dane Michel Nykjær, who took a solid third position. None of the three leading Chevrolet drivers looked likely to make a pass, with the order at the front remaining steady throughout the race.

Muller admitted that conditions had been tough, with it expected to be the hottest day of the year so far in Portugal.

“It was probably around 65-70 degree in the car,” said Muller after the race. “It’s warm, especially on a street circuit like this where there is no air [flow]. We have to be even more focused than on a normal circuit. It’s tough.”

Making his first race start at the wheel of a Chevrolet was Pepe Oriola who finished in fourth to make it a Cruze 1-2-3-4. The Spaniard passed Zengő Motorsport’s Norbert Michelisz on the opening lap of the race and the Hungarian crashed out of the race on the following lap, damaging the front and right-rear suspension on his Honda in the process.

Fifth went to Münnich Motorsport’s Rob Huff, who made progress with Michelisz’s crash and also with the retirement of Gabriele Tarquini. Honda’s Tarquini had been running in fourth when his car suffered a technical failure on the eighth lap. The Italian was forced to stop further around the lap with smoke puring out the back of his car.

Jmaes Thompson finished in sixth for LADA, having been passed by Huff on the opening lap of the race.

Seventh was the top BMW driver of Tom Coronel, who made up a position on the final lap of the race by passing German Marc Basseng, who also let Stefano D’Aste through to finish eighth at the same time. Local racer Tiago Monteiro also managed to pass further around the lap to finish in ninth, having started 17th. Basseng went on to finish in tenth – only his fourth points finish of the season.

Contact between former team-mates Darryl O’Young and Tom Boardman on the final lap of the race pushed Boardman into the barriers, dropping him out of 12th. O’Young took the position to finish fourth in the Yokohama Independents class.

Franz Engstler once again fell victim to a course car being on track at the wrong time at the wrong place. Having infamously crashed out of the lead at Pau in 2009 by going into the back of the safety car, Engstler once again crashed into a course car and retired from the race. The vehicle had been scrambled to attend to Tarquini’s stricken Honda, but joined the circuit as a pack of six cars came around leaving Engstler nowhere to go.

Mehdi Bennani also failed to finish the race, having been hit by Boardman at the first chicane on the opening lap after the Brit locked his brakes.

Round 14 takes place at 17:05 WEST (17:05 BST; 18:05 CEST).