Yvan Muller spins and wins in World Touring Car race two at Monza
|By Peter Mills||Sunday, March 11th 2012, 17:29 GMT|
Yvan Muller completed a perfect start to his World Touring Car Championship title defence with a second victory of the weekend in race two at Monza.
The Frenchman's achievement was remarkable given that he was tapped into a spectacular 360 degree spin by Chevrolet team-mate Rob Huff on lap two.
The three factory Cruzes of Muller, Alain Menu and Huff were running in close formation approaching the Rettifilio, in a dice for fifth, when the incident occurred. Muller received a gentle nudge from Huff and was sent pirouetting backwards across the grass. Huff took to the escape road in avoidance, while Gabriele Tarquini's chasing Lukoil SEAT Leon was the only retirement in the incident.
Menu and Huff recovered to chase Muller across the line. The Chevrolet trio was separated by just 0.6s at the chequered flag.
"I do spins like that all of the time for fun during the winter at Lapland, but I don't enjoy doing it in racing!" joked Muller afterwards.
ROAL Motorsport's Tom Coronel maintained the slipstream of the Chevrolet 'train,' to finish within a second of Muller in fourth.
There were wild celebrations from fifth placed Stefano D'Aste on the Italian's slow-down lap. The Weichers-Sport driver celebrated with fans at the Rettiflilo, after picking up the Independents' Trophy win at his home round. D'Aste had a slender 0.6s advantage over Franz Engstler's similar BMW 320 TC at the finish.
The SEAT challenge faded before a racing lap was completed. Lukoil Racing had insufficient time to repair the engine and throttle maladies that caused Aleksei Dudukalo to retire from race one so the Russian was unable to take up his front row grid position.
Race one Independents' class winner Pepe Oriola was also missing from the grid, but the Spaniard was later able to join the action in his Tuenti Racing Leon and finish 12th.
Zengo Motorsport's Nobert Michelisz was on pole for race two's standing start. The Hungarian did a superb job to keep the lead until lap seven, when the charging Muller demoted his BMW on the run down to the Parabolica.
Michelisz appeared to slow after hitting something on track, and ended the afternoon in eighth place behind impressive WTCC debutant Alex MacDowall's bamboo Cruze.
Darryl O'Young non-started both races after his Special Tuning Leon's engine caught fire during Sunday morning's warm-up.
Results - 10 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 20m07.643s 2. Alain Menu Chevrolet + 0.307s 3. Rob Huff Chevrolet + 0.613s 4. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW + 0.993s 5. Stefano D'Aste Wiechers BMW + 6.125s 6. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW + 6.705s 7. Alex MacDowall bamboo Chevrolet + 7.247s 8. Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW + 10.238s 9. Alberto Cerqui ROAL BMW + 12.663s 10. Rickard Rydell Chevrolet Sweden + 14.066s 11. Gabor Weber Zengo BMW + 14.202s 12. Pepe Oriola Tuenti SEAT + 14.575s 13. James Nash Arena Ford + 18.279s 14. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW + 18.775s 15. Andrea Barlesi SUNRED SEAT + 24.880s 16. Tom Chilton Arena Ford + 25.586s 17. Isaac Tutumlu Proteam BMW + 35.129s Retirements: Tiago Monteiro Tuenti SEAT 9 laps Pasquale di Sabatino bamboo Chevrolet 8 laps Gabriele Tarquini Lukoil SEAT 1 lap Charles Ng Engstler BMW 1 lap Aleksei Dudukalo Lukoil SEAT 0 laps