José María López wins frenetic second race at the Salzburgring
José María López as extended his points lead to 41 over Citroën team-mate Yvan Muller after a dramatic win in the second race at the Salzburgring, driving from seventh to first while Muller was eliminated in a heavy first lap crash, which also claimed the two Ladas of team-mates Rob Huff and James Thompson.
At the start, Gabriele Tarquini led away from pole position in his Honda, with team-mate Tiago Monteiro launched between the two independently-run Honda Civics of Norbert Michelisz and Mehdi Bennani to grab second.
Further behind however there was drama, with Yvan Muller making a great start and diving across the outside of the track in his to try and get a run on his Argentinian team-mate into the first corner. López however cut him off, and as Muller moved back, he ran into the side of James Thompson’s Lada, who’d also made a great start, who in-turn crashed into the side of team-mate Huff’s car, with the two Grantas pirouetting off and into the barriers and out of the race.
Muller came into the pits at the end of the lap, and the race was red flagged, with further incidents taking place with Campos Racing’s Dusan Borkovic making contact with the rear of the ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet of Tom Chilton, with both out of the race with damage.
The race was stopped for 15 minutes as the cars were cleared from the track, with Tarquini restarting in the lead ahead of the three Hondas, with López now up to fifth.
López created himself a trademark move on the backstraight, drafting past the slower Hondas on each lap, passing Bennani on lap five, Michelisz on lap six and then Tiago Monteiro on lap eight and began to close on race leader Tarquini.
On lap 11 the safety car was called after René Münnich clambered across the first chicane, spilling gravel on the circuit. As the cars came past on the next lap, ROAL Chevrolet driver Tom Coronel slid off on it, and dropped behind Gianni Morbidelli’s Chevrolet. Coronel retook the position, which may have been while the safety car was out, which is currently under investigation.
When the race restarted, López launched into the lead on the first lap, around the outside again before Turn 9, and went on to win by 1.7 seconds ahead of Tarquini and Monteiro.
López now extends his lead to 41 points over Yvan Muller in the drivers’ standings, heading to the next round of the Championship at Moscow Raceway in two weeks’ time.