Wiechers-Sport’s Stefano D’Aste took his first WTCC career victory at the Salzburgring, despite Chevrolet looking set for a repeat 1-2-3 performance, with punctures taking out all three drivers late in the race.
The Lukoil SEAT team had worked hard to get Aleksei Dudukalo’s SEAT León WTCC onto the grid for race two to take his pole position, but as expected it was the rear-wheel drive BMWs that stormed through on the standing start, with Tom Coronel taking the lead and Stefano D’Aste slotting in second.
The Chevrolets, which have been the class of the field even more than usual at this circuit were carving their way through the order, with Yvan Muller working his way up from ninth on the grid to the lead by only lap four.
Rob Huff soon joined him in second with Alain Menu moving up to third on lap seven, passing Coronel, who then fell back into the clutches of D’Aste.
Tiago Monteiro suffered a puncture on the same lap and went off through the gravel, he was able to rejoin the track and take his SR León 1.6 back into the pits.
Two laps later, Alain Menu crashed out of third place with an apparent puncture at the same corner, hitting the barrier very hard. Alex MacDowall’s Bamboo Chevrolet followed soon after nearly collecting Menu’s car. There were yellow flags waved throughout the remainder of the race, but subsequent punctures soon showed with both the Lukoil SEATs of Gabriele Tarquini and Aleksei Dudukalo pitting for new rubber.
Yvan Muller looked set for a certain victory, with Rob Huff following him but the Frenchman suffered a puncture on the final corner, with Rob Huff immediately showing signs of a similar puncture. Tom Coronel was slowed up briefly behind Huff which allowed D’Aste to drive around the right side and to take his first career win and the first win for Wiechers-Sport in the WTCC.
Huff still managed to cross the line in second with Muller eighth to rescue some points, which sees Muller’s lead reduced to eight points.
The next race is at Portimao in Portugal in two weeks.