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WTCC Austria 2013: Nash seals maiden victory

19 May 2013

James Nash has claimed his first race victory in the FIA World Touring Car Championship with a win in race two at the Salzburgring.

The Briton had to hold off Norbert Michelisz at the first corner, then fend off a late charge from championship leader, Yvan Muller on his way to the chequered flag.

The win is also the first win for Nash's team, Bamboo Engineering, which has already been dominating the Independents class through-out this season with drivers Nash leading the class and team mate Alex MacDowall lying third.

Nash, a former BTCC race winner, had a faultless race and didn't put a wheel wrong. He sustained pressure early from Michelisz and later in the race from Muller to clinch victory after twelve incident-free laps.

Muller had an impressive race: having started from 9th place, he made his fight up through the field look effortless and he capped it by snatching second from Michelisz with a lap and a half to spare. Muller tried hunting down the leader but by this point Nash was simply too far ahead. However, the Frenchman extends his championship lead over nearest rival Gabriele Tarquini to a massive 80 points.

Tiago Monteiro also had a relatively successful race in terms of point-scoring, racing to fourth in his Castrol JAS Honda ahead of race one victor Michel Nykjaer, who struggled after suffering light rear-end damage courtesy of Tom Chilton. Nykjaer kept going and finished in fifth place which keeps the Dane eight points off the Yokohama trophy lead, while Chilton was forced to venture onto pit lane and ended up classified in last place among the finishers.

While his team mate was dominating the race from the front, Alex MacDowall brought home the second Bamboo car in a solid sixth place which also kept him in firm contention for the Independents trophy. Top SEAT man this time round was Pepe Oriola who had an almost unseen drive to seventh, with Gabriele Tarquini behind him distracted by having to fend off the attentions of Rob Huff for the most part of race two. Tom Coronel in his ROAL BMW also got involved in that fight, but the 'Flying Dutchman' eventually had to settle for another tenth place.

Marc Basseng and James Thompson both missed out on the points and ended up finishing in 11th and 12th for SEAT and LADA respectively.

A pair of battling BMWs completed the race in 13th and 14th, Freddy Barth just piping Franz Engstler to the Salzburgring chequered flag with Mikhail Kozlovskiy hot on their heels in 15th in what was a considerably better weekend for the Russian LADA driver.

On the flip side, Mehdi Bennani's good form looked to have hit a dry patch in race two. He finished in 16th in his Proteam BMW after being kept at bay by the SEAT duo of Fernando Monje (who finished in 17th) and Rene Munnich (a somewhat familiar 18th position). Charles Ng managed to get his repaired car home in 19th, with Chilton ending up 20th after his stop for repairs following that turn one incident with Nykjaer.

All cars that started the race completed the 12-lap race distance, but there were three cars missing from the grid at the lights: after problems in race one, Stefano D'Aste, Darryl O'Young and Hugo Valente were all unable to participate in race two because of the previous damage sustained to their cars in race one an hour earlier.

Race two results | Race 1 results

by Dexter Fielding


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