09.09.13

Race 2 - Tarquini wins from Bennani

Gabriele Tarquini won Race 2 at the Sonoma Raceway and so gave Honda the WTCC Manufacturers’ title with three more race meetings remaining.

After starting from second place on the grid, it took only two corners for Tarquini to pass the driver on pole position, Mehdi Bennani in a BMW, and the Italian then led for the remainder of the thirteen-lap race to take a comfortable victory. Despite struggling throughout the race with damaged power-steering, Bennani managed to keep hold over second place and win the Yokohama Trophy.

Third, in another Honda Civic, was Norbert Michelisz; the Zengö Motorsport driver having to fend off a determined challenge from Yvan Muller throughout the closing laps.
 
Muller needed to out-score Tarquini and Michel Nykjaer to take the Drivers’ title, but the Honda driver’s victory means the battle remains alive at least until the next pair of races in Japan. 
 
At one stage, it looked as though the reigning World Champion Rob Huff was on course for a podium finish, but the SEAT limped into the pits with a puncture on only the second lap. Other non-finishers included Charles Ng, Franz Engstler and Pepe Oriola.
 
Key moments
Lap 1 – Tarquini passes Bennani for the lead in Turn 2; Muller passes Monteiro for 6th
Lap 2 – Huff drops down after running wide at T7, then pits with a puncture
Lap 3 – Coronel is up to 7th; Engstler retires 
Lap 4 – Muller passes Nash for 4th; Monteiro passes Nash for 5th
Lap 5 – Coronel passes Nash for 6th; Ng spins at T6; Barth passes Basseng for 8th
Lap 7 – D’Aste passes Basseng for 9th
Lap 9 – Barth passes Nash for 7th
Lap 10 – O’Young attacks Basseng
Lap 11 – Muller attacks Michelisz
Lap 12 – Chilton goes sideways through Turn 2
Lap 13 – Tarquini takes the win