Monza WTCC: Yvan Muller leads all-Chevrolet race one podium

Yvan Muller claimed a lights to flag victory in an eventful and safety car-interrupted World Touring Car Championship opener at Monza

Monza WTCC: Yvan Muller leads all-Chevrolet race one podium

RML team-mate Tom Chilton earned a maiden WTCC podium in second, while Alex MacDowall also took his first top-three finish as he completed Chevrolet's lockout of the podium places.

Gabriele Tarquini was fourth for Honda. Defending champion Rob Huff came from the back of the grid to finish sixth, just behind Tarquini's team-mate Tiago Monteiro.

Two safety cars disrupted the race, the first leading out the opening lap due to the adverse conditions and the second prompted after Stefano d'Aste spun heavily into the barriers at Ascari after four laps.

Muller and Chilton had been easing away from the field at that point, while Huff had already charged from 22nd to 11th.

After one lap behind the safety car the pattern resumed, with Muller again shadowed closely by Chilton as the pair edged away.

MacDowall was a safe third, but behind him a multitude of squabbles broke out as Tarquini, Monteiro and Huff made their way through the field.

Tarquini picked off Marc Basseng, James Nash and then Pepe Oriola in quick succession to snatch fourth, while Monteiro's progress was made slightly easier when Basseng ran wide at Lesmo and then Oriola stopped on lap nine.

Huff also benefited to follow the duo home. A stout defence earned James Nash seventh, fractions ahead of the Zengo-run Honda Civic of Norbert Michelisz.

Nash was under intense pressure from Tom Boardman on the penultimate lap, but as Boardman looked to the outside at Lesmo contact resulted in a broken steering arm and sent him out.

Michelisz took up the chase but had to settle for eighth, ahead of the BMWs of Tom Coronel and Freddy Barth.

Results - 12 laps:

Pos  Driver                 Team/Car                Time/Gap
 1.  Yvan Muller            RML Chevrolet         30m02.783s
 2.  Tom Chilton            RML Chevrolet           + 0.923s
 3.  Alex MacDowall         Bamboo Chevrolet        + 5.101s
 4.  Gabriele Tarquini      Honda                   + 8.053s
 5.  Tiago Monteiro         Honda                  + 15.261s
 6.  Rob Huff               Munnich SEAT           + 17.349s
 7.  James Nash             Bamboo Chevrolet       + 19.964s
 8.  Norbert Michelisz      Zengo Honda            + 20.338s
 9.  Tom Coronel            ROAL BMW               + 28.837s
10.  Fredy Barth            Wiechers BMW           + 37.740s
11.  Jean-Philippe Dayraut  Anome BMW              + 39.226s
12.  Fernando Monje         Campos SEAT            + 41.656s
13.  Darryl O'Young         ROAL BMW               + 48.116s
14.  Marc Basseng           Munnich SEAT           + 50.920s
15.  Charles Ng             Engstler BMW           + 54.412s
16.  Rene Munnich           Munnich SEAT           + 58.733s
17.  Mehdi Bennani          Proteam BMW          + 2m05.913s


     Tom Boardman           Special Tuning SEAT      10 laps
     Franz Engstler         Engstler BMW              9 laps
     Michel Nykjaer         NIKA Chevrolet            9 laps
     Pepe Oriola            Tuenti SEAT               8 laps
     Stefano d'Aste         PB BMW                    3 laps
     Aleksei Dudukalo       Lada                         DNS
     James Thompson         Lada                         DNS

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