Photo: Citroën Racing

Yvan Muller leads José María López to a Citroën 1-2 in Russia

Yvan Muller took his third win of the 2015 WTCC season at the Moscow Raceway, leading home Citroën team-mate José María López by three seconds, who was chased throughout the race by Honda’s Gabriele Tarquini and the Lada Vesta of Rob Huff.

At the start, Muller got the jump ahead of López, while the only drivers to lose out in the top ten were the two Chevrolets of Tom Chilton and Hugo Valente, who both fell back from their starting positions of fifth and seventh, with Ma Qing Hua moving up to fifth in his Citroën.

On the first lap, all of the relatively low intensity incidents look place, with ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel spinning across the nose of fellow Dutchman Jaap van Lagen’s Lada, and with Stefano D’Aste in the Münnich Motorsport Chevrolet running into the back of Mehdi Bennani’s Citroën C-Elysée, with Bennani and Coronel both ending up chasing the pack as a result.

On lap three, Tiago Monteiro in the second factory Honda put a move on Sébastien Loeb’s Citroën who’d made a good start from eighth but seemed to be struggling around the Russian circuit, losing eighth place to the Portuguese driver and would go on to finish ninth.

Van Lagen charged through the pack after a poor first lap, passing Rydell’s Nika Honda on lap four, getting ahead of Hugo Valente’s Chevrolet at the final corner for 11th on lap six, and repeated the same move on his Lada team-mate Nicky Catsburg three laps later to secure the final points-paying position.

John Filippi was the first retirement of the race in his Campos Racing Chevrolet after a coming together with Craft-Bamboo Racing’s Grégoire Demoustier on the fourth lap and collecting gravel in the radiator grill of his Cruze TC1, with Tom Coronel becoming the second and last retirement after pitting on the final lap while in 17th and last position following his earlier spin.

Muller went on to win without much pressure from team-mate López, who had his own troubles wit Tarquini’s Honda in his rear-view mirror throughout the bulk of the race. The championship leader was aided by the strong charge from Lada’s Rob Huff however, who was attacking the Italian’s Honda Civic at every turn for the final podium position.

Muller’s win sees him reduce the points gap to team-mate López to 43 points heading to the second race where the four-time champion will start from tenth on the reversed grid, while Honda’s Tiago Monteiro will start from pole position ahead of Lada’s Nicky Catsburg.