WTCC » 22 March 2009
Muller resists Priaulx to win in Puebla
Yvan Muller battled to a hard fought victory in the second World Touring Car race of the weekend in Puebla after soaking up intense pressure from Andy Priaulx for SEAT's fourth consecutive win of the season.
Mirroring team-mate Rickard Rydell's triumph in the first race, Muller worked his way to the front of the field from fifth position on the grid before staunchly defending his position from Priaulx in the final few laps.
In a race of seemingly no obvious performance advantage for either SEAT or BMW, SEAT got the jump on their rivals at the start when both Jordi Gene and Gabriele Tarquini moved in front at the expense of Nicola Larini, who made a poor getaway from pole in the Chevrolet to get shuffled down to fifth in the opening corners.
Nonetheless, Jorg Muller had made up good ground too, passing Tarquini for second before the first lap had finished, while his namesake Yvan was up to fourth from Larini, Priaulx, Rydell and Sergio Hernandez.
With Gene steadfast in the lead and upholding his reputation as being difficult to overtake, it wasn't long before Jorg, Tarquini and Yvan – the pair having swapped positions twice following failed moves on Jorg - were getting bottled up behind the Spaniard.
Jorg himself briefly took the lead on lap four with a bold dive down the inside of the SEAT at turn five, only for Gene to switch back and out-drag him around the oval to reclaim the position.
However, just as Jorg looked as though he was lining up for another move on Gene, he was clipped from behind by Tarquini around the oval on the run up to turn six, putting the BMW out of shape and allowing the Italian up the inside for the left-hander. However, with an insufficient overlap to complete the move, Tarquini rather forcefully made contact with his rival to send him spinning off the track and out of contention
Allowing Yvan up into second position, Tarquini held onto third place for only one more lap before he ran wide at turn two and tumbled down to seventh position.
With Muller and Priaulx bunching up again behind Gene, who was lapping almost a second slower than his rivals, the Frenchman wasted no time in making his move, slipping past into the lead on lap eight, surprising Gene enough to allow Priaulx to follow him straight through too.
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