Yvan Muller gave the RML team the perfect start to the 2013 WTCC season when he took his second victory of the afternoon.
Sun 24.03.13, 7:07PM
A thrilling ten-lap race saw the lead change hands three times, with pole-sitter Darryl O’Young being overtaken by Gabriele Tarquini on the opening lap and Muller then passing the Italian driver’s Honda on Lap 4. The battle for the remaining podium places was no less exciting, with the Chevrolet of Michel Nykjær finishing second – and so claiming maximum Yokohama Trophy points – and third place only decided on the final lap; Tarquini holding off a determined charge from the SEAT of Marc Basseng and the pair crossing the finish line virtually together.
The standing start then saw Basseng almost stall the car leaving the line, allowing Targuini to nip through into second place behind O’Young as the field headed down to the first chicane. Driving around the outside of the BMW at Turn 3, Tarquini took the lead, with O’Young then being passed by Basseng, Nykjær and Muller in quick succession. Tarquini’s lead lasted until Lap 4, when Muller first passed Basseng for second place and then the Chevrolet driver snatched the lead from the Castrol Honda team Civic before Muller held on to take his second win of the day.
Behind Muller, Nykjær, Tarquini and Basseng, Muller’s teammate Tom Chilton finished fifth, ahead of Pepe Oriola, James Nash, Tiago Monteiro and Stefano D’Aste. Rob Huff once again carved his way through the field after starting from the back of the grid to score a point by finishing in tenth place.
Start – Basseng almost stalled the car and Tarquini passed him.
Lap 1 – Tarquini passed O’Young to take the lead. Basseng, Nykjær and Muller all then passed O’Young for 2nd, 3rd and 4th places respectively. Münnich went into the pits.
Lap 2 – Barth spun. MacDowall went into the gravel at the Parabolica. Nash and Oriola passed O’Young.
Lap 3 – Muller passed Nykjær for 3rd place. Dayraut, Bennani, Monje and MacDowall all used the escape road at Turn 1.
Lap 4 – Basseng made a mistake on the exit to T1, allowing Muller to take 2nd place. Muller passed Tarquini to take the lead. By now, Huff was up to 14th place and Boardman (also started from the back of the grid) was 19th. Bennani was given a drive-through penalty.
Lap 5 – Monteiro and D’Aste passed O’Young for 8th and 9th places.
Lap 6 – Basseng went straight on at Turn 1 and dropped to 4th. Coronel and Huff passed O’Young for 10th and 11th.
Lap 7 – Chilton passed Oriola for 6th after Oriola took to the escape road at T1. Nykjær passed Tarquini for 2nd.
Lap 8 – Chilton passed Nash for 5th. Tarquini re-took 2nd, but Nykjær promptly re-took the place at Ascari. Boardman spun.
Lap 9 – Huff was now in 10th place. Basseng was threatening Tarquini.
Lap 10 – Tarquini held off Basseng to take third place by 0.087 second.