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Sonoma WTCC: Nykjaer, Valente, Monje sent to back of grid

Michel Nykjaer WTCC 2013

Yvan Muller's chances of clinching the 2013 World Touring Car Championship crown at Sonoma have been boosted after closest rival Michel Nykjaer had his times from qualifying disallowed.

Nykjaer, who had qualified ninth and was therefore due to start from the front row for race two, has now been sent to the back of the grid after the position of his seat was found to not comply with regulations.

Campos's Hugo Valente and Fernando Monje were also penalised for the same transgression, and have been similarly demoted.

Nykjaer's penalty could have a significant impact in the championship, improving Muller's chances of wrapping up a fourth WTCC crown three rounds before the season finale in Macau.

Nykjaer came into Sonoma 132 points behind Muller, and dropped a further four points to the Frenchman following Saturday's qualifying.

Gabriele Tarquini - who will start race two from pole - is a further 14 points down the road, meaning Muller could seal the title if he outscores both men by a significant enough margin.

Valente had qualified 16th, five spots ahead of team-mate Monje.

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