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WTCC Hungary 2013: Muller takes race one victory
5 May 2013
Yvan Muller has extended his lead at the top of the table with victory in race one of the FIA World Touring Car Championship fourth round in Hungary, leading from start-to-finish in his RML Chevrolet Cruze.
Muller, who took a dominant pole position yesterday, was in similar form today and in the early stages he opened up a lead of one-and-a-half seconds.
He then managed to fend off a late desperate charge from local hero Norbert Michelisz, who wanted to give the Hungarian fans something to shout about.
While the two at the front ran away, a monumental battle ensued behind over third place with 2009 champion, Gabriele Tarquini eventually seeing off reigning champion - and top SEAT - Rob Huff with Mehdi Bennani fifth, and top independent, just ahead of ROAL Motorsport's Tom Coronel, who lost out to Bennani in the closing stages.
Tom Chilton, who at one point was challenging for third, had to settle for seventh ahead of Bamboo Engineering pairing Alex MacDowall and James Nash.
Michel Nykjaer rounded off the top ten in his NIKA Racing Chevrolet followed by Marc Basseng, who got the better of newcomer, Hugo Valente in his first meeting with the Campos SUNRED Racing team.
Three independent BMW's locked out P12-P15, Franz Engstler managing to beat Stefano D'Aste to the chequered flag and Charles Ng a little further behind. Fernando Monje, Mikhail Kozlovskiy and Rene Munnich were the only other classified finishers in positions 16 through to 18.
Of the retirements, six drivers' failed to finish. Tiago Monteiro got clipped by Coronel at turn two on the opening lap and was pitched into a spin. Having made it back round the circuit at racing speed, the former Jordan F1 driver then smashed into the barriers at turn one on lap two with a front left puncture and possible suspension/brake failure. Coronel is being investigated by the stewards for causing the incident.
Freddy Barth, James Thompson and Pepe Oriola were also caught up in the same corner mele but had a coming together of their own, all three retiring on the spot with damage to their cars.
Darryl O'Young retired on lap 3, while Tom Boardman, who has been jinxed with the worst possible luck in 2013 and who had to start from the back after his car failed the post-qualifying ride height check, retired a lap later.
by Dexter Fielding
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