Gabriele Tarquini wins race two, Honda take manufacturers’ title
Gabriele Tarquini took the second race win of the season for Honda at Sonoma Raceway, with Honda also securing the manufucturers’ title, whilst Yvan Muller will have to wait a little longer to secure the drivers’ title.
The Italian had a great start from second on the grid alongside the rear-wheel drive BMW of Mehdi Bennani and took the lead into Turn 2, with the 51-year-old then maintaining a gap to the Moroccan for the remainder of the race to take his first win since the Slovakiaring in April.
Bennani had to hold off the Zengõ Motorsport Honda of Norbert Michelisz during the early stages of the race, eventually pulling away with the Hungarian then later threatened by Yvan Muller, who had charged forward from ninth on the grid to finish fourth, but with 144 points now separating him and Tarquini, who now moves up to second in the standings, the RML driver will have to wait at least another race before he can be confirmed as the drivers’ champion for 2013.
Rob Huff suffered with a puncture on his Münnich Motorsport SEAT León on lap three and was forced to pit, with the STR SEAT of Tom Boardman also suffering a puncture, whilst both the Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMWs of Charles Ng and Franz Engstler pitted to retire after spins on track.
James Nash eventually finished eighth, falling prey to Muller, the Honda of Tiago Monteiro, and the BMWs of Tom Coronel and Fredy Barth, but now takes the lead of the Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy by one point.
The results for the three Honda drivers this weekend helped secure Honda the manufacturers’ title with three rounds to go, with the Japanese marque now on 756 points to Lada’s 457.
The next round of the Championship takes place in Suzuka, Japan on September 23rd.