Muller and Huff win in Curitiba

Muller and Huff win in Curitiba
By Eurosport

23/07/2012 at 04:49Updated 23/07/2012 at 18:51

Rob Huff claimed a second victory for Chevrolet at the WTCC meeting in Brazil after Yvan Muller's earlier win, but he had to fight hard to beat Gabriele Tarquini.

Tarquini had managed to jump in the lead, keeping the Chevrolet championship leaders at bay for a few laps.

Eventually Tarquini was forced to give up also the second place to Alain Menu, but he managed to salvage the last step of the podium ahead of Yvan Muller.

“It was really tough to beat Gabriele Tarquini," said Huff. "But I knew I had to try and overtake him if I wanted to keep my hopes alive in the championship fight.

"Gabriele was a fair player and did not make any hazardous manoeuvre when I made my move. And eventually he did me a favour by keeping Yvan behind.

"I’m very happy: I have recovered one point of my gap from Yvan and now we go to Sonoma, which is a new circuit for all of us."

Norbert Michelisz won the Yokohama Trophy race finishing in fifth overall, but in the first part of the race the young Hungarian driver was able to stay in the lead, resisting a huge pressure from Tarquini.

Just like in the first race, the drivers fighting for the midfield positions delivered exciting battles. Michel Nykjaer claimed a sixth in the second race, beating Coronel, Bennani, Monteiro, Dudukalo and MacDowall.

Key moments:

Start – Michelisz takes the lead from Coronel; O’Young starts from the pit lane

Lap 1 – Tarquini overtakes Coronel for second; Muller overtakes Menu for sixth

Lap 1 – Monteiro and Huff make contact while fighting for fourth

Lap 2 – Menu retakes sixth from Muller

Lap 2 – Coronel drops from third to seventh behind Monteiro, Huff, Menu and Muller

Lap 3 – Huff and Menu overtake Monteiro who drops to fifth

Lap 4 – Ng crashes at Turn 4; the safety car is deployed

Lap 6 – the race resumes

Lap 7 – Tarquini overtakes Michelisz for the lead

Lap 7 – Michelisz drops to fourth behind Huff, Menu and Muller

Lap 8 – Cerqui crashes into the pit wall after clashing with Dudukalo

Lap 11 – Huff overtakes Tarquini for the lead

Lap 13 – Menu overtakes Tarquini for second

Lap 14 – Nykjær and Coronel overtake Bennani moving up to sixth and seventh

Race one

The three Chevrolet Cruze cars of Yvan Muller, Alain Menu and Rob Huff cruised for the whole race to claim another 1-2-3 finish.

It was the seventh victory of the season for Muller, who further stretched his championship lead.

"I’m pleased, because winning the first race from pole position was one of my goals for today," he said. "It was an important victory.

"From the outside it seemed to be a quite comfortable one, but I had to drive hundred per cent as Rob and Alain were pushing hard behind."

The trio of Chevrolet factory drivers finished in the same order as they had started. Only Huff, third on the grid, had to face a difficult moment at the start, when he rejected Gabriele Tarquini’s attempt to spoil the Chevy party.

Afterwards, Muller, Menu and Huff paraded until the chequered flag, while Tarquini had to be contented with a fourth place ahead of two other Chevrolet cars, those run by bamboo-engineering.

Michel Nykjaer celebrated his WTCC comeback with a fifth place that was also worth victory in the Yokohama Trophy, ahead of his team-mate Alex MacDowall.

Most of the action happened between the midfielders, with fierce battles involving the likes of Michelisz, Oriola, Boardman, Engstler, D’Aste and Bennani.

At the end of the race weekend, Stefano D’Aste, Tom Chilton and Pepe Oriola were given 30-second time penalties in the opening race.

Chilton and Oriola were penalised for speeding during the rolling start. The young Spaniard loses four precious points in the Yokohama Trophy, dropping five points behind Michelisz.

D’Aste was punished for causing an incident with Franz Engstler while they were fighting for 15th position.

Key moments:

Start – Muller takes a better start, in vain Tarquini tries to squeeze among the Chevrolet cars

Lap 2 – Monteiro and Cerqui make contact at Turn 6 and retire

Lap 4 – Oriola overtakes Michelisz for ninth

Lap 5 – Oriola and Michelisz clash at Turn 1

Lap 6 – Boardman, Bennani, D’Aste and Engstler have a fierce fight for 13th position

Lap 9 – Michelisz overtakes Oriola for ninth

Lap 10 – Boardman and Bennani make contact

Lap 11 – Engstler overtakes D’Aste for 15th

Lap 12 – Boardman is given a drive through for the incident with Bennani

Lap 14 – D’Aste and Engstler make contact, D’Aste moves up to 15th

Withdrawals: T. Monteiro: race incident; A. Cerqui: race incident