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Sébastien Loeb wins rain-shortened first race

Citroën’s Sébastien Loeb scored his second World Touring Car Championship win in a very wet first race in Slovakia, which was red-flagged after nine laps due to the conditions.

The rain started just before the lights went out at the start and got worse as the race progressed, with several drivers struggling to keep their cars in a straight line.

In the end it was Loeb who held on to take an important second WTCC win, having got ahead of poleman José María López and fellow team-mate Yvan Muller at the start. Indeed Muller dropped to fourth at the start as a result of a jump-start in which the reigning champion stopped and then started again, allowing Norbert Michelisz into third.

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Fourth went the way of Tom Coronel, after battling hard with ROAL Motorsport team-mate Tom Chilton. The Dutchman found a way past on lap four and then had enough ground to stay in front until the safety car came out on lap seven. Chilton finished fifth, continuing a consistent run of top ten finishes.

Münnich Motorsport’s Gianni Morbidelli was sixth, despite struggling to hold his car on the circuit in the conditions, ahead of the works’ Honda duo of Tiago Monteiro and Gabriele Tarquini in seventh and eighth.

Rob Huff finished the race in ninth for LADA, and was pressuring Tarquini for eighth before the safety car came out. Nevertheless Huff called on the race to be stopped in what he called “horrific” conditions.

Citroën’s Muller took the final point for tenth after his penalty, passing Campos Racing’s Hugo Valente and Dušan Borković just before the race was neutralised. Even the experienced touring car and ice racing champion struggled in the conditions, surviving a half-spin on the slippery circuit.

Czech racer scored the first non-Team Engstler victory in the TC2T class, winning in his Campos Racing SEAT in 16th ahead of Franz Engstler and Pasquale di Sabatino.

There were further turbo woes for LADA’s Mikhail Kozlovskiy, who failed to start the race after more white smoke emerged from under the bonnet of his car.

Round 8 takes place at 17:45 CEST (16:45 BST).

Top ten result

1 9 TC1 Sébastien LOEB Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 9 9 LAPS 2:18.193 2
2 37 TC1 José María LÓPEZ Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 9 1.057 2:18.242 1
3 5 TC1 Norbert MICHELISZ Zengő Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC 9 2.194 2:20.002 4
4 4 TC1 Tom CORONEL ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 9 2.946 2:21.159 7
5 3 TC1 Tom CHILTON ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 9 3.813 2:20.986 6
6 10 TC1 Gianni MORBIDELLI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 9 4.758 2:20.427 5
7 18 TC1 Tiago MONTEIRO Castrol Honda WTC Team Honda Civic WTCC 9 6.233 2:21.755 10
8 2 TC1 Gabriele TARQUINI Castrol Honda WTC Team Honda Civic WTCC 9 6.936 2:21.293 8
9 12 TC1 Rob HUFF LADA Sport Lukoil LADA Granta 1.6T 9 8.329 2:21.472 12
10 1 TC1 Yvan MULLER Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 9 9.181 2:21.077 3

Complete race results

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