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José María López wins as Muller retires in Salzburg

José María López has extended his World Touring Car Championship lead by winning the second race in Salzburg, ahead of Honda duo Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro, whilst Yvan Muller retired.

Poleman Tarquini had led away from the lights at the start, but behind him there was chaos which ultimately caused the race to be suspended.

An accident at the start between the two LADAs of Rob Huff, James Thompson and the Citroën of Yvan Muller initially brought out the safety car. However the red flags were later shown when Tom Chilton’s right-rear wheel detached at the chicane on the following lap, as a result of contact with Dušan Borković, who crashed into the barriers on the exit of the chicane.

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Replays later showed the start-line incident to have been caused by Muller, who went wide onto the grass and then rejoined the circuit, making slight contact with Huff. The LADA driver then bounced into team-mate Thompson, with the two cars crashing into the barriers on opposite sides of the start straight.

The incident with Chilton and Borković saw the Serb propelled into the barriers on the outside of the circuit and out of the race. Whilst Chilton continued for another lap, as he turned into the first chicane his rear wheel gave way and fell off, leaving his car stranded in the middle of the circuit. He did not take the restart.

When the race resumed, López became an unstoppable force in the field. The Argentine passed Mehdi Bennani for fourth on lap five, Norbert Michelisz for third on lap six and Monteiro for second on lap eight – almost all moves being made with the superior straightline speed of his Citroën.

The safety car came out briefly on lap 11 to allow marshals to clear gravel from the first chicane, which had been kicked up by René Münnich.

When the race resumed, it took López just one lap to pass Tarquini for the lead along the back straight, again thanks to the speed advantage of his car.

López now leads Muller by 41 points in the driver’s championship. The Frenchman retired from the race due to falling a lap behind for the race restart as a result of damage incurred in the incident at the start of the race.

Michelisz finished in fourth, ahead of the Chevrolet duo of Tom Coronel and Gianni Morbidelli, who had a fierce battle in the closing stages of the race.

Sébastien Loeb struggled to make the same progress as his Citroën team-mate López and could only finish in seventh, having passed Bennani, who finished in eighth, on lap nine.

Münnich and LADAs Mikhail Kozlovskiy completed the top ten, with the Russian being the only LADA driver to finish the race.

Hugo Valente had been running towards the tail of the top ten, but the Campos Racing driver retired after six laps with a continuation of the problems which ended his race one prematurely – a legacy of his crash in free practice.

Top ten result

1 37 TC1 José María LÓPEZ Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 17 17 LAPS 1:23.864 7
2 2 TC1 Gabriele TARQUINI Castrol Honda WTC Team Honda Civic WTCC 17 1.683 1:24.222 1
3 18 TC1 Tiago MONTEIRO Castrol Honda WTC Team Honda Civic WTCC 17 2.554 1:24.460 4
4 5 TC1 Norbert MICHELISZ Zengő Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC 17 3.651 1:24.565 2
5 4 TC1 Tom CORONEL ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 17 3.908 1:24.079 8
6 10 TC1 Gianni MORBIDELLI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 17 4.466 1:24.358 5
7 9 TC1 Sébastien LOEB Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 17 4.758 1:24.217 9
8 25 TC1 Mehdi BENNANI Proteam Racing Honda Civic WTCC 17 5.418 1:24.609 3
9 77 TC1 René MÜNNICH ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 17 10.074 1:23.940 11
10 14 TC1 Mikhail KOZLOVSKIY LADA Sport Lukoil LADA Granta 1.6T 17 15.288 1:25.777 15

Complete race results

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