Chevrolet driver Yvan Muller has hit out at the stewards after being given a drive-through penalty at Sonoma Raceway, which dropped him out of the lead and out of the points, which saw his championship lead reduced to nothing, now tied with team-mate Rob Huff.
Yvan Muller won the first race after passing team-mate Alain Menu’s damaged Chevrolet Cruze, and in race two Muller had made the best start from eighth on the grid, and was up to fifth by the first corner. On lap five he was up to second, chasing down Franz Engstler’s BMW, before Muller clipped the rear of Engstler’s BMW at Turn 6, spinning the German around and down to tenth.
The safety car was then brought out to recover Mehdi Bennani’s BMW, and when it was withdrawn two laps later, the officials handed the Frenchman a drive-through penalty – his second of the year after being similarly punished at the Slovakiaring in April after spinning Norbert Michelisz around.
“(This weekend was) good in that I was the fastest car on the track; bad as the result of the second race cost me a lot of points,” said Muller to TouringCarTimes. “But I should know since I drive in this championship that everything is done to avoid somebody leading with too many points. So as soon the leader does a small mistake, that costs him a lot. It’s not the first time and won’t be the last time,” added a sombre Muller.
Muller sarcastically accepted the blame himself, stating “I can show images of many incidents like this and there was not a drive through, but I should know in my position there is, so it’s my fault, I should know I should be more careful.”
“The first race at Monza somebody hit me and I spun at 200km/h, and there was no penalty. This race…D’Aste was spun off and why they didn’t give Benanni a drive-through? OK, (Bennani) went off, but he did four laps first. For me, next lap after the safety car, boom. The rules are different, they don’t care about Bennani, and I have too much of a points advantage.”
Yvan Muller’s next race after this weekend is his FIA World Rally Championship appearance for Prodrive in their MINI John Cooper Works car at Rally de France – Alsace.
“I hope to enjoy the rally, at least I’m not dangerous to anybody there, so hopefully the clerk of the course will leave me alone,” said Muller.
Looking at his options for 2013, following Chevrolet’s impending withdrawal from at the end of the season, Muller admits that rallying is one of the options he’s looking at for next season.
“If somebody proposed something, I’d be happy and pleased to do it, but I’m not on the same level in rallying as I am in touring cars, though I think I could be,” said Muller.
“After things like today, it doesn’t give me the motivation to come back (to touring cars), I don’t know yet, I’ll have to think about it.”