Moscow WTCC: Gabriele Tarquni gives Lada Vesta first win in one-two

Gabriele Tarquini scored a memorable first World Touring Car Championship win since his switch to Lada, leading team-mate Nicky Catsburg home in a one-two finish at Moscow Raceway

Moscow WTCC: Gabriele Tarquni gives Lada Vesta first win in one-two

Tarquini started ninth but sliced his way through the field after rain forced a delayed start and, having caught and passed early leader Yvan Muller at the end of lap five, raced clear over the final 10 laps to secure his 21st WTCC win and the first for Lada's Vesta model.

All 17 cars headed on to the formation lap with dry tyres, but a sharp shower before the field had made its way round to the grid forced the start to be delayed by 15 minutes.

Polesitter Tiago Monteiro initially held his lead when the race did finally start but, with the rain having intensified, he was soon swallowed up by the fast-starting Muller, Mehdi Bennani, Jose Maria Lopez and Tarquini.

Tarquini backed up Lada's qualifying pace by hounding Lopez and with far superior traction off the final corner, bumped into the rear of the Citroen driver before making the pass stick into Turn 1.

The Italian then repeated a similar move on Mehdi Bennani before hunting down Muller with a pair of fastest laps.

The pair were together by the start of lap five and Tarquini grabbed the lead on the following lap, before pulling away for his and Lada's first victory since 2014.

"I had a great start, I think it was the key of the win," said Tarquini, who joined Lada for 2016 after losing his Honda seat.

"I pushed for the initial part, I was much faster.

"I used all my effort to overtake and fortunately when I overtook Yvan I was then able to back off a bit."

Catsburg was unable to catch his team-mate, but did cap the one-two with a pair of fantastic overtakes on the Citroen factory drivers.

The Dutchman went around the outside of Lopez at Turn 3 on the third lap with a better exit off the previous corner, and then made second safe after a lap-long fight with Muller with a pass at the Turn 12 hairpin.

Muller completed the podium following his strong start, comfortably clear of the third Lada of Hugo Valente - who nevertheless secured his best finish since his switch to the team.

Lopez was fifth having survived a late scare from the resurgent Hondas, with Monteiro and team-mate Rob Huff coming back at the Argentinian as the track dried out.

James Thompson was the highest independent driver and finished eighth, right on the tail of the scrap in front, with Mehdi Bennani ninth and Norbert Michelisz 10th in the third Honda Civic having served a drive-through penalty for an out-of-position start.

RESULTS - 15 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Gabriele Tarquini LADA Sport Lada 29m39.384s
2 Nicky Catsburg LADA Sport Lada 4.782s
3 Yvan Muller Citroen Racing Citroen 16.062s
4 Hugo Valente LADA Sport Lada 23.683s
5 Jose Maria Lopez Citroen Racing Citroen 28.092s
6 Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 28.803s
7 Rob Huff Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 29.266s
8 James Thompson Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet 30.164s
9 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 35.037s
10 Norbert Michelisz Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 43.985s
11 John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet 47.000s
12 Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 51.753s
13 Fredrik Ekblom Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo 53.227s
14 Tom Chilton Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 59.620s
15 Ferenc Ficza Zengo Motorsport Honda 1m01.302s
16 Gregoire Demoustier Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 1m04.878s
- Thed Bjork Polestar Cyan Racing Volvo Retirement


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WTCC Moscow: Nicky Catsburg on pole as Lada dominates

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