Macau WTCC: Yvan Muller dominates opening race

Yvan Muller ensured a victorious end to his RML career with a dominant display in the World Touring Car Championship's Macau opener

Macau WTCC: Yvan Muller dominates opening race

The Citroen-bound Frenchman, who has won three of his four world crowns with the crack outfit, protected his lead away from the rolling start, won the race down to Lisboa and then simply disappeared.

Honda's Tiago Monteiro held off race-long pressure from five-time Macau winner Rob Huff to clinch second, finishing just three tenths ahead of the Briton.

Watch Macau video clips on the AUTOSPORT WTCC page

Contact between Pepe Oriola and Tom Chilton meanwhile sent the Briton into the wall on lap two, all but ending his hopes of finishing runner-up in the championship.

Gabriele Tarquini, who remains second, did not compete after being forced to change his Honda's engine following the morning warm-up.

The Italian's absence played a part in Muller's victory: without Tarquini to contend with, he had only to hold off Monteiro on the run down to Lisboa to essentially seal the win.

A mighty second sector helped him establish a 1.7-second lead after the opening lap, and he was able to extend that at will before backing off in the closing stages.

AUTOSPORT's Macau blog

Norbert Michelisz moved into fourth away from the line, and held off early pressure from Bamboo duo Alex MacDowall and James Nash to keep the position to the finish.

Nash had jumped Chilton at the start, and has likewise moved ahead of him in the championship - the former team-mates currently separated by just one point heading into the final race. They are both due to start from the second row.

After hitting Chilton - the incident is currently under investigation - Oriola had a massive moment in the Solitude Esses and dropped back into the clutches of Marc Basseng and Stefano D'Aste.

Basseng's pressure eventually told when he snuck through and into seventh one lap from the finish, with Oriola resisting D'Aste, Tom Boardman and Tom Coronel at the line. Just 1.5 seconds covered the quartet at the flag.

Campos pair Hugo Valente and Konstantins Calko crashed of their own accord, while race two front-row man James Thompson suffered turbo issues and twice pitted.

Results - 9 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Yvan Muller RML Chevrolet 22m54.522s 2. Tiago Monteiro Honda +1.265s 3. Rob Huff Munnich SEAT +1.592s 4. Norbert Michelisz Zengo Honda +5.147s 5. Alex MacDowall Bamboo Chevrolet +7.096s 6. James Nash Bamboo Chevrolet +7.632s 7. Marc Basseng Munnich SEAT +18.148s 8. Pepe Oriola Tuenti Chevrolet +20.345s 9. Stefano D'Aste PB BMW +20.644s 10. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT +21.213s 11. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW +21.806s 12. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW +22.806s 13. Darryl O'Young ROAL BMW +30.471s 14. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW +32.905s 15. Mikhail Kozlovskiy Lada +40.394s 16. Rene Munnich Munnich SEAT +58.083s 17. Yukinori Taniguchi Nika Chevrolet +1m12.888s 18. Michael Soong Campos SEAT +1m13.961s 19. Henry Ho Engstler BMW +1m16.085s 20. Filipe de Souza China Dragon Chevrolet +1m18.107s 21. Joseph Rosa-Merszei Engstler BMW +1m36.668s 22. Ng Kin Veng China Dragon Chevrolet +1m44.616s 23. Celio Alves Dias China Dragon Chevrolet +1m45.773s 24. Eurico de Jesus PAS Honda +1m46.315s 25. Jeronimo Badaraco Son Veng Chevrolet +1m55.988s 26. Lam Kam San China Dragon Chevrolet +2m23.146s 27. Mak Ka Lok RPM BMW +2m25.450s Retirements: Charles Ng Engstler BMW 8 laps Konstantins Calko Campos SEAT 8 laps Hugo Valente Campos SEAT 5 laps Tom Chilton RML Chevrolet 2 laps James Thompson Lada 2 laps Gabriele Tarquini Honda 
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Series WTCC
Drivers Sven Muller
Author Sam Tremayne
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