Yvan Muller wins incident packed second race in Marrakech
Yvan Muller won the second race of the day in Morocco from the reversed grid pole position for Citroën, while having to fight off team-mate Sébastien Loeb for the whole race for the lead, in a race that saw much contact, though without the need for the safety car.
Tom Coronel’s ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet had been hastily repaired following damage sustained in race one in an incident with team-mate Tom Chilton on the first lap. The Italian team managed to get the car out of the pit lane with little over a minute to spare so the Dutchman could take his second place grid spot at the start.
Unfortunately his race would last just one corner. At the start he was passed by the Citroën of Sébastien Loeb and the Honda of Tiago Monteiro, but was then squeezed into the first corner with Zengő Motorsport’s Norbert Michelisz which spun him around, collecting Monteiro’s car as he hit the wall, with both Coronel and Monteiro out of the race and Michelisz dropping down the order.
At the end of the lap, Lada’s Mikhail Kozlovskiy locked up at the final corner as he tried to pass Gabriele Tarquini’s Honda and overshot the Honda, slamming into the back of team-mate Rob Huff’s Lada Vesta, with both out of the race on the spot.
All the cars were recovered rapidly without the need for the safety car, as Muller and Loeb began to pull away from the chasing Chevrolets of Tom Chilton and Hugo Valente, who were now being hounded by the two Citroëns of José María López and Ma Qing Hua.
Valente managed to hold off López until the end of lap four, when he ran wide allowing López to get past on the inside, with Ma soon following through.
At the end of the following lap, López would make the same pass only on the other side of the final corner on Chilton to grab third, where he’d go on to finish.
Ma overtook Chilton one lap later for fourth, but would make a mistake one lap later and hit the tyre barrriers, dropping to the back of the pack.
Shortly behind at the same corner, Mehdi Bennani made a move on Hugo Valente for sixth, but Valente would nudge the Moroccan into a spin and he’d drop some way behind the Campos driver.
Bennani would close all the way back up on Valente for what was now fifth, but the two again made contact as Valente closed the door on Bennani into Turn 4. Bennani fell back again, but now with damage, wasn’t able to hold off Zengő’s Norbert Michelisz on the back straight, with also Münnich Motorsport’s Stefano D’Aste and Honda’s Gabriele Tarquini passing before the final corner, with Bennani dropping down to ninth.
Tarquini also made a move on D’Aste at the final corner to grab eighth at the line as the Italian outbraked himself.
The final points position was taken in the attrition heavy race which saw only 11 cars take the flag by James Thompson, who scored the first points for Lada Sport Rosneft of the season, and the first for the new Vesta.
The next round of the WTCC is in two weeks’ time at the Hungaroring.