Photo: WTCC Media

Muller wins as the rain causes chaos in Hungary

Yvan Muller took his first win in 18 races at the Hungaroring as the heavens opened at the end of lap one to cause mayhem for the slick-shod field.

The standing start took place in perfectly dry conditions, but grey clouds were looming fast. An excellent start by Kristian Poulsen in the Liqui-Moly Team Engstler BMW saw the Dane take the overall lead passing front-row starters Mehdi Bennani and Alain Menu, but Norbert Michelisz was trying to head down the inside into turn 1 and locked up smashing into Poulsen and the two were straight out of the race.

Tom Coronel found himself in the lead with Menu behind, but then the rain began to fall as cars began sliding all over the track. Rain master Gabriele Tarquini picked off Alain Menu then Tom Coronel to take the lead on lap two, but with the thunderous conditions overhead the race was red flagged.

During the red flag stoppage, the field changed to wet tyres, and Zengö Motorsport got to work on trying to repair Michelisz’s car for the restart. The wrecked BMW had suffered serious front-end damage, but took the restart from the pits, bound together by duct tape, one lap down.

At the restart, Tarquini led from Coronel and the three Chevrolets. Further down the order, Volvo’s Robert Dahlgren was battling with SUNRED driver Tiago Monteiro for sixth. Spanish driver Pepe Oriola slipped ahead of the two, and soon after Dahlgren moved past Monteiro after the Portuguese driver lost grip on the wet surface and set after Oriola.

Meanwhile, at the front, Alain Menu went off from third after contact with Tom Coronel. The other two Chevrolets of Yvan Muller and Rob Huff proceeded to pass the Dutchman at the end of the lap.

Dahlgren passed Oriola for 5th, but the Volvo’s front-right made contact with the rear quarter of the SR León, spinning the 16-year-old into retirement. Dahlgren passed Tom Coronel for 4th one lap later, but was handed a drive-through penalty for the incident with Oriola which he served on lap 12 and dropped to ninth.

Also on lap six, Yvan Muller passed Gabriele Tarquini for the lead, with Rob Huff passing the Italian on lap 10 to secure a Chevrolet 1-2, with Tarquini third.

A late puncture for Michel Nykjaer in the SR León cost the Danish driver the independents victory which instead went to Franz Engstler for the first time in 2011.

With Rob Huff finishing fourth and second in today’s races, the Briton’s championship lead is reduced slightly to 31 points over Yvan Muller, with Menu in third.

Tarquini moves back up to fourth in the championship ahead of team-mate Tiago Monteiro, with the championship resuming in two weeks time at the Brno circuit in the Czech Republic.