Yvan Muller wins disrupted first race at Moscow Raceway

RML’s Yvan Muller has extended his lead of the World Touring Car Championship after victory in the first race for the Championship at the Moscow Raceway, in a race which was red flagged due to a broken down recovery vehicle.

Muller started from pole position ahead of the ROAL Motorsport BMW of Tom Coronel and held the the lead into the first corner, but the safety car was out at the end of the first lap after an incident at the first corner involving the three BMWs of Charles Ng, Fredy Barth and Stefano D’Aste.

Barth’s Wiechers-Sport BMW ran into the back of Charles Ng’s Engstler Motorsport BMW, with possible assistance from D’Aste’s BMW who was hot on his tail. Ng was spun around and then Barth ran into the Hong Kong driver’s BMW 320 TC, with both cars sustaining heavy damage.

ROAL’s Darryl O’Young and Campos Racing’s Nikolay Karamyshev were also both clipped by the spinning BMW of Ng and had to pit for repairs.

The safety car was out as the damaged cars of Ng and Barth were recovered, but on lap four the race was red flagged as the recovery vehicle sent to bring back Ng’s car broke down.

The race was restarted with the recovery vehicle left at Turn 1 with double waved yellow flags in operation at the corner preventing any overtaking.

When the race restarted, Yvan Muller was forced to defend against the rear-wheel drive BMW of Tom Coronel for the remainder of the race. Although Coronel was faster through the first and second sectors, the Dutchman could do nothing about the Chevrolet’s straight-line speed down the back straight and into Turn 1.

With the yellow flags at Turn 1, it was difficult for anyone to make progress at one of the track’s best overtaking points, though Honda’s Tiago Monteiro did make good progress with a good start a few opportunistic passes to move up to 13th place after starting 21st.

Zengõ Motorsport’s Norbert Michelisz was the top placed Honda in third after passing Münnich Motorsport’s Rob Huff at the start. Although Huff was able to keep with the Hungarian for the remainder of the race, he was unable to pass the Honda especially with the yellow flags at Turn 1.

James Thompson took Lada’s best result of the season with fifth ahead of Honda’s Gabriele Tarquini, whilst Michel Nykjaer took the Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy victory with seventh in his Nika Racing Chevrolet Cruze.

O’Young and Karamyshev’s cars were both repaired with the extra repair time afforded by the red flag, but Ng’s car are being hurriedly repaired to make the start of race two, where he is set to start from second place, with Fredy Barth’s car unable to be repaired for race two.