Tiago Monteiro wins chaotic second race at the Moscow Raceway
Tiago Monteiro took his first win in almost two years at the Moscow Raceway for Honda in an action packed second race ahead of Lada’s Rob Huff, with championship leader José María López finishing outside of the points following a drive-through penalty.
Monteiro started on pole position courtesy of setting the tenth fastest time in qualifying yesterday in the reversed top ten second race. The Portuguese driver led into the first corner at the start, while the independent Honda of Zengő Motorsport driver Norbert Michelisz muscled his way past Lada’s Nicky Catsburg for second.
Ma Qing Hua had a good start from fifth in his Citroën and briefly moved ahead of Catsburg for third into the first corner as well, but as he was on the wrong side of the track for the next turn, the Chinese driver then lost two spots to both Catsburg and Hugo Valente’s Campos Chevrolet and fell back to fifth.
Citroën front runners José María López and Yvan Muller were battling for tenth for the first two laps, fighting alongside ROAL Chevrolet’s Tom Chilton. The two were running side-by-side during the first two corners of the second lap while caught in the battle with Chilton, with López emerging ahead of Muller, but the fight of the champions would be cut short by the stewards, who served the Argentinian with a drive-through penalty after he had clearly jumped the start.
The man on the move in the race though was Lada’s Rob Huff from seventh on the grid. On lap two, the 2012 champion moved ahead of Ma Qing Hua’s Citroën for fifth, then passed the struggling Campos Chevrolet of Hugo Valente for fourth on lap five and was unchallenged when he caught new team-mate Nicky Catsburg at the final corner on the same lap.
Huff then closed down on the leading pair of Hondas of Tiago Monteiro and Norbert Michelisz, forcing his was past Michelisz on lap 12 at Turn 14 with minor contact to claim second, but was unable to do anything about Monteiro who now had a three second lead and went on take his first win since Shanghai in October 2013.
On lap seven, WTCC newboy Nicky Catsburg was involved with contact with Honda’s Gabriele Tarquini as the two went side-by-side through Turn 13 fighting for fourth, with Tarquini coming off worse with damage to the rear-left suspension, and went off into the barriers into retirement.
Yvan Muller took a cautious approach following on from López’s penalty and was able to capitalise when Loeb challenged Valente’s Chevrolet with four laps to go. As Loeb tried to pass Valente, Muller was able to sneak past his French team-mate and then make his way past Valente at the final corner and through into Turn 1 to grab sixth, and reduce López’s points lead by a further eight points which now is down to 35 heading to the next race at the Slovakiaring in two weeks’ time.