Salzburgring WTCC: Yvan Muller takes pole-to-flag win
|By Peter Mills||Sunday, May 25th 2014, 09:34 GMT|
Yvan Muller claimed a pole-to-flag victory at the Salzburgring to become the first three-time winner in the 2014 World Touring Car Championship.
The reigning WTCC champion's Citroen team-mate Sebastien Loeb, who joined Muller on the front row, was squeezed onto the kerbs exiting the first chicane on the opening lap by Tom Coronel.
Loeb dropped to fourth in the incident, behind Coronel and championship leader Jose Maria Lopez.
Former TC2000 champion Lopez had demoted ROAL Chevrolet racer Coronel to third by the end of the opening lap, but the Argentinean's pursuit of Muller faltered on lap eight.
Approaching the first chicane, Lopez lightly locked his brakes and overshot the corner into the escape road.
Rejoining behind Coronel, Lopez was unable to find a passing opportunity over the closing seven laps.
The Dutch WTCC veteran secured second by just 0.4 seconds, and had a small piece of flayed bumper on the left rear of his Cruze as a souvenir of Lopez's efforts to overtake.
A six-car train of cars headed by Tiago Monteiro disputed fifth place.
The former grand prix driver's factory Honda team-mate Gabriele Tarquini provided the only passing manoeuvre in the group, benefiting from Zengo Honda driver Mehdi Bennani running wide at the Nockstein-Kehre on lap five to take eighth.
The gaggle was separated by under four seconds at the chequered flag, with Coronel's ROAL team-mate Tom Chilton completing the top six.
After sustaining heavy damage to his Campos Chevrolet in a practice crash that sidelined him from qualifying, Hugo Valente defied his post-shunt prediction by starting from the rear of the grid.
Sadly, the Marrakech podium-finisher and team-mate Dusan Borkovic would both pit for attention on the second lap.
Results - 15 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Yvan Muller Citroen 20m56.737s 2. Tom Coronel ROAL Chevrolet +3.840s 3. Jose Maria Lopez Citroen +4.276s 4. Sebastien Loeb Citroen +5.427s 5. Tiago Monteiro Honda +12.403s 6. Tom Chilton ROAL Chevrolet +12.945s 7. Mehdi Bennani Proteam Honda +13.566s 8. Gabriele Tarquini Honda +14.868s 9. Norbert Michelisz Zengo Honda +15.672s 10. Gianni Morbidelli Munnich Chevrolet +16.184s 11. Rene Munnich Munnich Chevrolet +25.974s 12. Robert Huff Lada +27.778s 13. James Thompson Lada +31.278s 14. Mikhail Kozlovskiy Lada +41.924s 15. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW +1m20.251s 16. John Filippi Campos SEAT +1 lap 17. Pasquale Di Sabatino Engstler BMW +1 lap
Dusan Borkovic Campos Chevrolet 5 laps Hugo Valente Campos Chevrolet 4 laps