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Tom Chilton scores first win of season in Beijing

ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Chilton scored his first World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) win of the season in the opening race in Beijing, comfortably finishing ahead of Citroën’s Yvan Muller and José María López.

Chilton got off to a strong start away from the line, whilst behind him Muller got past front row start Gabriele Tarquini for second.

The race was neutralised after three laps, however, when the safety car came out as a result of a collision between Campos Racing’s Dušan Borković and Münnich Motorsport’s René Münnich, with both Chevrolets having sustained damage in the wall. Borković later explained that their coming together was a result of Münnich in front having picked up a puncture.

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The race eventually resumed on lap 11 and Chilton pulled away from the chasing pack untroubled, leaving Muller to defend from Tarquini. However the Italian pulled into the pits and out of the race on lap 23 having suffered from a late race puncture, picked up on débris from earlier incidents.

Tarquini’s demise promoted López to third, reducing the gain of Muller into the Argentine’s championship lead.

Gianni Morbidelli finished the race in fourth for Münnich Motorsport after a quiet race, ahead of the third Citroën of Sébastien Loeb in fifth.

Zengő Motorsport’s Norbert Michelisz was sixth, despite having passed Loeb for fifth on lap 12, with the Frenchman getting back past the Hungarian in the final laps of the race.

LADA duo James Thompson and Rob Huff finished the race in seventh and eighth, with the former taking his best result of the season, ahead of Proteam Racing’s Mehdi Bennani in ninth. Bennani had earlier had a close race with Honda’s Tiago Monteiro, but the Moroccan hit the back of Monteiro’s car and caused damage that would force the Portuguese driver out of the race.

Franz Englster won the TC2 class once again, with the race’s high attrition rate allowing him to finish inside the top ten for only the second time this season.

Campos Racing’s Hugo Valente had been running in tenth but picked up a puncture on the final lap and thus finished in 12th position.

Local driver Ma Qing Hua made progress from his starting position of 14th and was running in eighth ahead of Thompson before the Chinese driver went off the circuit on lap 22. He would retire from the race just two laps later with a puncture.

Also failing to finish was ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel, who will start race two from the front row of the grid alongside pole sitter Rob Huff.

Top ten result

1 3 TC1 Tom CHILTON ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 28 28 laps 1:05.382 1
2 1 TC1 Yvan MULLER Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 28 2.493 1:05.742 3
3 37 TC1 José María LÓPEZ Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 28 5.132 1:05.793 4
4 10 TC1 Gianni MORBIDELLI ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 28 10.473 1:05.864 5
5 9 TC1 Sébastien LOEB Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC 28 14.455 1:06.192 7
6 5 TC1 Norbert MICHELISZ Zengő Motorsport Honda Civic WTCC 28 17.238 1:06.121 6
7 11 TC1 James THOMPSON LADA Sport LADA Granta 1.6T 28 18.338 1:06.421 8
8 12 TC1 Rob HUFF LADA Sport LADA Granta 1.6T 28 19.104 1:06.410 10
9 25 TC1 Mehdi BENNANI Proteam Racing Honda Civic WTCC 28 37.966 1:05.889 13
10 6 TC2T Franz ENGSTLER Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW 320 TC 28 54.871 1:08.020 18

Complete race results

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