Sonoma WTCC: Tom Chilton claims first victory

Tom Chilton wrapped up his first World Touring Car Championship victory at Sonoma after withstanding race-long pressure from Honda's Tiago Monteiro

Sonoma WTCC: Tom Chilton claims first victory

The Briton took full advantage of his first series pole to lead from the start, while fellow front-row man and RML Chevrolet team-mate Yvan Muller lost out fighting for an inside line at Turn 2 and could not prevent Monteiro slipping by around the outside.

From there the duo began to ease away from the field, while Muller started to fall back into the clutches of the chasing Bamboo Chevrolets of Alex MacDowall and James Nash.

The top five ultimately stayed in that order for the remainder of the race, although Chilton had to withstand several attacks from Monteiro before he was finally able to stretch the gap past one second three laps from the end.

Muller was never in the hunt for victory, but was at least able to edge away from MacDowall and Nash to seal a lonely third.

Gabriele Tarquini had a similarly solitary drive to sixth, just under 15s down the road from Chilton.

It was far more frantic lower down the field, with defending champion Rob Huff bunching up a multi-car fight that grew to include Tom Coronel, Marc Basseng, Stefano D'Aste, Pepe Oriola and Tom Boardman, who had started from 20th position.

Coronel finally found a way past Huff's stubborn defence three laps from the end, and was able to pull a three-second gap by the flag.

Huff hung on to finish eighth ahead of Basseng, with D'Aste completing a trio covered by just 1.5s at the line.

Oriola beat Boardman to 11th by less than half a second.

Just behind them an eight-car battle raged for much of the race, with Lada's James Thompson able to defend 13th until the final laps, when Michel Nykjaer and Hugo Valente - both forced to start from the back of the grid - came through.

Results - 13 laps:

Pos  Driver              Team/Car               Time/Gap
 1.  Tom Chilton         RML Chevrolet        23m24.716s
 2.  Tiago Monteiro      Honda                   +2.161s
 3.  Yvan Muller         RML Chevrolet           +6.534s
 4.  Alex MacDowall      Bamboo Chevrolet       +10.659s
 5.  James Nash          Bamboo Chevrolet       +12.676s
 6.  Gabriele Tarquini   Honda                  +14.897s
 7.  Tom Coronel         ROAL BMW               +18.530s
 8.  Rob Huff            Munnich SEAT           +21.561s
 9.  Marc Basseng        Munnich SEAT           +22.558s
10.  Stefano D'Aste      PB BMW                 +23.266s
11.  Pepe Oriola         Tuenti Chevrolet       +26.219s
12.  Tom Boardman        Special Tuning SEAT    +26.653s
13.  Michel Nykjaer      Nika Chevrolet         +35.488s
14.  Hugo Valente        Campos SEAT            +37.826s
15.  James Thompson      Lada                   +40.811s
16.  Fernando Monje      Campos SEAT            +41.457s
17.  Fredy Barth         Wiechers BMW           +41.469s
18.  Charles Ng          Engstler BMW           +41.971s
19.  Franz Engstler      Engstler BMW           +42.242s
20.  Mehdi Bennani       Proteam BMW            +42.805s
21.  Mikhail Kozlovskiy  Lada                   +43.997s
22.  Norbert Michelisz   Zengo Honda            +48.934s
23.  Rene Munnich        Munnich SEAT         +1m08.203s

Retirements:

     Darryl O'Young      ROAL BMW                 5 laps
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Sonoma WTCC: Tom Chilton claims maiden pole by beating Yvan Muller
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