Muller dominates opening race in Macau

Muller dominates opening race in Macau

Photo FIA WTCC Media

Photo FIA WTCC MediaYvan Muller scored his second-ever victory on the streets of Macau in the opening World Touring Car Championship race at the season finale, leading Honda’s Tiago Monteiro and Münnich Motorsport’s Rob Huff to victory.

Click here for the full Round 23 Results.

Before the race had started, drama unfolded as Gabriele Tarquini in the Castrol Honda had to miss the race due to an engine change – he therefore lines up 33rd and last for the final race of the season.

Having made a strong getaway in the last-ever rolling start, Muller pulled out a 1.7s advantage on the opening lap and pulled away. Although Huff pushed Monteiro all the way for second, he was unable to pass with the Portugese racer putting up a valiant defence.

Behind, Norbert Michelisz in the Zengő Motorsport Honda Civic couldn’t keep up with the top three and spent the opening laps defending from the bamboo-engineering drivers Alex MacDowall and James Nash, with Michelisz finishing in fourth ahead of the two Brits.

At the back end of the top ten Pepe Oriola, Stefano D’Aste and Marc Basseng were in close company throughout. The German nudged Oriola at Melco at one stage, but the Spanish driver held it. Basseng, however, found a way past at the end of the race to finish ahead of Oriola.

Spaniard Oriola had an incident-packed race, including making contact with Tom Chilton on lap three. Chilton was pitched into the wall by Oriola and into retirement – the incident is under investigation by the stewards. A handful of laps later Oriola made his own mistake, clattering the barriers at the Solitude Esses but escaping relatively unscathed to hold his position.

Two of the Campos Racing drivers, Hugo Valente and Konstantins Calko, had their own seperate incidents. Valente hit the tyres at Lisboa whilst running in 13th, whilst débutant Calko lost the #81 SEAT León at the fastest part of the circuit whilst running in 15th. The Latvian hit the wall and ended with punctures on the right and front left tyres, crawling round to the pits despite strewing débris on the circuit.

LADA’s James Thompson endured mechanical problems from the start, dropping down the order on the opening lap. The Brit had started the race in ninth but on the run down to Lisboa corner on the opening lap experienced problems with his Granta, necessitating his return to the pits to retire from the race.

The results have seen James Nash confirmed as the 2013 Yokohama Independents’ Drivers’ Champion while Yukinori Taniguchi in the NIKA Racing Chevrolet Cruze has been confirmed as the first-ever Eurosport Asia Trophy winner after the Japanese racer finished 17th overall and won his class.