Motegi WTCC: Monteiro wins for Honda, Lopez and Muller both retire

Tiago Monteiro handed Honda a home race victory in the World Touring Car Championship finale at Motegi, while Citroen's title contenders Jose Maria Lopez and Yvan Muller both retired

Motegi WTCC: Monteiro wins for Honda, Lopez and Muller both retire

Campos Chevrolet driver Hugo Valente started on pole but lost out to the eventual race winner after Monteiro made a superior getaway, as a chaotic start unfolded behind.

Championship leader Lopez was among the victims, picking up wheel damage that forced him to retire.

Clear of the early scrapes, Monteiro and Valente were allowed to build a gap between themselves and their rivals.

The Portuguese ex-Formula 1 driver's ultimately commanding second win of 2015 was achieved despite an engine change penalty leaving him at the back of the race one grid. He had sacrificed qualifying for the opener to try to get as high up the race two reverse grid as possible.

While Monteiro's race was untroubled, Valente was eventually reeled in by Rob Huff's Lada after the Brit made up the places due to rivals' woes.

He made up two when contact with Gabriele Tarquini sent Ma Qing Hua into a spin, before Muller's retirement due to a loose bonnet also aided Huff's cause.

Huff wasn't the only beneficiary, with the rapidly advancing Sebastien Loeb on his rear throughout.

Valente's defending proved good enough to allow the recovering Tarquini to join the battle for third.

He opportunistically grabbed fourth from Loeb after a failed attempt to pass Huff backfired on the Citroen driver, though the World Rally Championship legend regained the place just before the chequered flag.

Tarquini's disappointment was compounded further with a post-race time penalty for the Ma incident dropping him to 12th.

Ma followed the Italian across the line for sixth - which later became fifth - ahead of the hastily repaired ROAL Motorsport Chevrolets of Tom Chilton and Tom Coronel.

Nicolas Lapierre ended his first WTCC weekend with his best result of eighth, after Tarquini's penalty.

Rounding off the top 10 on the road was Stefano D'Aste, who beat Mehdi Bennani in the final few laps.

Race one runner-up Norbert Michelisz stopped with engine problems, while front row starter Nicky Catsburg's Lada had power steering issues.

RESULTS - 13 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Tiago Monteiro Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 25m53.893s
2 Hugo Valente Campos Racing Chevrolet 9.222s
3 Rob Huff LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 10.938s
4 Sebastien Loeb Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 11.703s
5 Ma Qinghua Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 12.894s
6 Tom Chilton ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 17.474s
7 Tom Coronel ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet 21.284s
8 Nicolas Lapierre LADA Sport Rosneft Lada 28.053s
9 Stefano D'Aste All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet 32.744s
10 Mehdi Bennani Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen 35.253s
11 John Filippi Campos Racing Chevrolet 41.364s
12 Gabriele Tarquini Honda Racing Team JAS Honda 41.792s
13 Gregoire Demoustier Craft-Bamboo Racing Chevrolet 42.109s
14 Norbert Michelisz Zengo Motorsport Honda 2 Laps
15 Yvan Muller Citroen Total WTCC Citroen 3 Laps
- Nicky Catsburg LADA Sport Rosneft Lada Retirement
- Jose Maria Lopez Citroen Total WTCC Citroen Retirement

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

Pos Driver Points
1 Jose Maria Lopez 351
2 Yvan Muller 277
3 Sebastien Loeb 253
4 Ma Qinghua 169
5 Norbert Michelisz 164
6 Gabriele Tarquini 153
7 Tiago Monteiro 151
8 Hugo Valente 91
9 Tom Chilton 84
10 Rob Huff 77
11 Mehdi Bennani 60
12 Tom Coronel 39
13 Nicky Catsburg 23
14 Stefano D'Aste 18
15 Jaap van Lagen 16
16 James Thompson 6
17 John Filippi 5
18 Nestor Girolami 5
19 Nicolas Lapierre 4
20 Rickard Rydell 4
21 Gregoire Demoustier 2
22 Sabine Schmitz 1

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Motegi WTCC: Jose Maria Lopez wins for Citroen

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