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Argentina: Magnificent Muller charges to race one victory

Champion-elect Yvan Muller stamps his authority on the rest of the field with an easy, dominant victory at the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina
Yvan Muller has shown that he has no intention of slowing down on his way to what must now be a certain fourth WTCC drivers' title.

The Frenchman led from start-to-finish at the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina as he and RML took out another dominant race one victory.

At one point, the Frenchman had over a ten second lead. He eventually crossed the line a mere but comfortable four seconds ahead of fellow Chevrolet drivers, Pepe Oriola and team-mate Tom Chilton.

It makes it another RML 1-2-3 - Oriola's car is on lease from RML - since the title deciding race in Macau last year.

Oriola crossed the line second in his third race with the almighty Cruze. A decent P5 qualifying result on the grid saw him able to get the upper hand over the Honda's, who simply couldn't keep up with the pace of the Chevy's. The Spaniard pipped Chilton during the last few laps with the RML driver having to make do with the last step on the rostrum - his second third so far in 2013.

A resurgent Gabriele Tarquini had a better drive to fourth and top Honda in his JAS Castrol Civic car. The Italian was fighting for the podium towards the end of the race but, couldn't pass Chilton and he also had to keep the attentions of WTCC debutant, Jose Maria Lopez at bay too.

Lopez quickly got the hang of his (for this weekend) Weichers Sport 2.0 litre turbo engine, rear wheel drive BMW and scored heavy points in fifth to claim the top Independent honours. The last time an Independent driver finished top dog in the class on his debut was Mehdi Bennani at Marrakech in 2009 in a SEAT, today however, the ProTeam BMW driver finished last, after recovering from an off earlier in the race.

A solid sixth for Independent title leader Michel Nykjaer saw him extend his advantage and he got the better of a struggling Norbert Michelisz, who started on the second row, but who fell back to seventh after aerodynamic damage to the splitter from a first corner tap on lap one.

Top SEAT driver mantle fell to Rob Huff, after having suffered a grid penalty in qualifying which saw him start on second-to-last row of the grid due to an engine change. He eventually finished in eighth place after a few retirements and good driving saw him keep his top three championship ambitions alive.

Bamboo Engineering's James Nash won't be too pleased with P9, having been caught up in a turn one incident with Michelisz mid-way through the race, which saw him run wide and lose a few places.

Tiago Monteiro rounded out the top ten, meaning all three Honda's score points for the first time since race two in Austria.

Alex MacDowall and Marc Basseng couldn't quite sneak into the points paying positions and were classified in eleventh and twelfth.

20 runners were classified at the finish, with LADA's James Thompson and Mikhail Kozlovskiy and ROAL Motorsport's Tom Coronel the three retirees.


by Dexter Fielding



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Yvan Muller - RML Chevrolet Cruze [Pic credit: FIA WTCC]
Yvan Muller - RML Chevrolet Cruze [Pic credit: FIA WTCC]
Yvan Muller - RML Chevrolet Cruze [Pic credit: FIA WTCC]

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