Shanghai WTCC: Tom Chilton beats Yvan Muller to race one win
|By Sam Tremayne||Sunday, November 3rd 2013, 08:14 GMT|
Tom Chilton won a sprint to the line to defeat RML Chevrolet team-mate Yvan Muller and triumph in the World Touring Car Championship's Shanghai opener.
Just one hundredth of a second separated the pair at the chequered flag, with Chilton just prevailing after they went side-by-side through the final three turns.
James Nash meanwhile furthered his bid for Independents glory by beating Bamboo team-mate and main rival Alex MacDowall to third following a race-long scrap.
While a heavy pre-race shower meant the first two laps were conducted behind the safety car, they also helped enliven a race notable for multi-car fights throughout.
Pepe Oriola kicked off the action by passing Chilton and Muller in quick succession to take an early lead, although he faded as the race wore on and was eventually picked off by both RML cars and their Bamboo equivalents, leaving him fifth.
Rickard Rydell also managed to climb through the field and into fourth, only to likewise fade rapidly into the clutches of a six-car train led by Nash and MacDowall.
Rob Huff, who announced he had signed a two-year deal with Lada prior to the race, was also involved along with Gabriele Tarquini and Norbert Michelisz.
Huff initially dropped to the back of that pack, but a superb move on Michelisz around the outside of Turn 1 - which also included a great save by the Hungarian - provided the platform for a renewed attack in the latter stages of the race.
He was able to reel in Tarquini and pass him for sixth on the final lap, falling just short of picking off Oriola to claim a top five spot.
Tarquini therefore finished seventh, just ahead of Lada's James Thompson and Special Tuning's Tom Boardman, both of whom had superb drives to come through to eighth and ninth respectively.
Michelisz meanwhile beat Tiago Monteiro to 10th, their fight only settled on the final lap.
The battle out front similarly went down to the wire, with Chilton hounding Muller and launching an attack at Turn 14.
The pair stayed locked together through the next two turns, with Muller - who held the inside line at the final turn - giving his team-mate a very generous amount of space, which allowed the Briton to slip through and claim a second WTCC win by the narrowest of margins.
Results - 10 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Tom Chilton RML Chevrolet 26m28.234s 2. Yvan Muller RML Chevrolet +0.010s 3. James Nash Bamboo Chevrolet +14.737s 4. Alex MacDowall Bamboo Chevrolet +15.455s 5. Pepe Oriola Tuenti Chevrolet +16.441s 6. Rob Huff Munnich SEAT +16.585s 7. Gabriele Tarquini Honda +16.799s 8. James Thompson Lada +16.825s 9. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT +16.931s 10. Norbert Michelisz Zengo Honda +17.683s 11. Tiago Monteiro Honda +18.017s 12. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW +18.079s 13. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW +22.899s 14. Rickard Rydell Nika Chevrolet +27.546s 15. Marc Basseng Munnich SEAT +29.496s 16. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW +42.004s 17. Mikhail Kozlovskiy Lada +45.122s 18. Rene Munnich Munnich SEAT +47.010s 19. Fredy Barth Wiechers BMW +48.590s 20. Darryl O'Young ROAL BMW +1m02.102s 21. Yukinori Taniguchi Campos SEAT +1m03.596s 22. Filipe de Souza China Dragon Chevrolet +1m03.800s 23. Henry Ho Engstler BMW +1m13.464s 24. Jeronimo Badaraco Son Veng Chevrolet +1m29.654s 25. Ka Lok Mak RPM BMW +2m03.392s 26. Kin Veng Ng China Dragon Chevrolet +1 lap 27. Charles Ng Engstler BMW +1 lap 28. Stefano D'Aste PB BMW +1 lap 29. Fernando Monje Campos SEAT +1 lap Retirements: Hugo Valente Campos SEAT 7 laps Thed Bjork Polestar Volvo 0 laps