Yvan Muller wins the final race of the 2015 WTCC in Qatar
Yvan Muller took his sixth win of the 2015 World Touring Car Championship season in Qatar, and in doing so grabbed back second in the overall standings from departing Citroën team-mate Sébastien Loeb by one point.
Before the race a spot was opened up on the front row, as an oil leak for Tom Coronel, who was due to start race two from second on the grid, forced him to start from the pit lane as his ROAL Motorsport team resolved the issue on his Chevrolet.
At the start of the race, Campos Racing’s John Filippi crept before the line from pole position, keeping the lead into Turn 1 ahead of the two Citroëns of Yvan Muller and Ma Qing Hua.
A spin for Lada’s Nicky Catsburg due to congestion in the first corner saw the Dutch driver retire with damage. Catsburg was also collected by Münnich Motorsport’s Stefano D’Aste, with both cars left on the side of the track as the safety car was called.
Eventually, with the officials unable to move the cars, the race was restarted on lap six with Yvan Muller swiftly moving into the lead ahead of Filippi, who turned in on him and spun himself around.
Filippi then was handed his drive-through penalty for the jump start, which meant the Corsican would end up finishing the race in a lowly 15th position.
José María López was recovering from a poor start and was working his way through the order, passing the Ladas of Rob Huff and Nicolas Lapierre as well as the Honda of Tiago Monteiro to eventually finish in eighth position.
The key battle was for third, with Zengo Motorsport’s Norbert Michelisz holding off the Citroën of Sébastien Loeb. Loeb needed to pass the Hungarian to ensure he could keep his second position in the drivers’ standings, while Michelisz needed to make sure he didn’t fall behind his independents’ rivals which were behind Loeb to win his second Yokohama Trophy.
After 14 laps, Muller crossed the line to claim his sixth win of the season and move up to second in the standings on 357 points, one ahead of Loeb, with Ma Qing Hua finishing behind him on the podium with Michelisz third and wrapping up the independent drivers’ title.