Losail, Race 2: Muller beats Loeb to second with win
as Michelisz takes Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy
Yvan Muller has beaten Sébastien Loeb to the runner-up spot in the FIA World Touring Car Championship by a solitary point after winning the second FIA WTCC DHL Race of Qatar under the floodlights of the Losail International Circuit.
Meanwhile, Norbert Michelisz did enough to fend off Mehdi Bennani for the Yokohama Drivers’ Trrophy.
John Filippi gave his all to keep Yvan Muller behind on the charge to the first corner. Although Muller initially got ahead, Filippi fought back at Turn 1 to hold a lead that would last for five laps while the safety car circulated following a collision between Nicky Catsburg and Stefano D’Aste.
When racing resumed Muller seized his opportunity at T1 as contact with Filippi sent the youngster spinning to the side of the track, while Muller just did enough to keep Ma Qing Hua at bay as he battled to regain control of his Citroën. Even if Filippi had kept Muller behind, his tenure of top spot wouldn’t have lasted after officials deemed the 20-year-old had made a false start, which earned the privateer a drive-through penalty.
While Muller gradually increased his lead over Ma, Loeb was unable to pass Norbert Michelisz for third and the points he needed to secure the runner-up spot in the final table in what is likely to be his final appearance in the WTCC.
Mehdi Bennani took fifth with Hugo Valente sixth, Gabriele Tarquini seventh and José María López eighth after opening-lap contact sent him off track and down to P12. Tiago Monteiro and Nicolas Lapierre completed the top 10 for Honda and LADA respectively with Tom Coronel P12 behind Grégoire Demoustier after starting from the pit lane when an oil leak was discovered during the OSCARO.com Repair Time.
Coronel should have started alongside Filippi on the front row of the grid before his hopes went awry. Tom Chilton fought back from a trip through the gravel on lap one to finish P13 ahead of Nasser Al-Attiyah and Filippi. Rob Huff pitted his LADA with five laps remaining.
|1||Yvan Muller||Citroen Total WTCC||Citroen||14 laps|
|2||Ma Qing Hua||Citroen Total WTCC||Citroen||+5.264|
|3||Norbert Michelisz||Zengo Motorsport||Honda||+6.340|
|4||Sebastien Loeb||Citroen Total WTCC||Citroen||+7.243|
|5||Mehdi Bennani||Sebastien Loeb Racing||Citroen||+7.788|
|6||Hugo Valente||Campos Racing||Chevrolet||+10.145|
|7||Gabriele Tarquini||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda||+10.650|
|8||Jose Maria Lopez||Citroen Total WTCC||Citroen||+11.682|
|9||Tiago Monteiro||Honda Racing Team JAS||Honda||+15.098|
|10||Nicolas Lapierre||LADA Sport Rosneft||Lada||+16.975|
|11||Grégoire Demoustier||Craft-Bamboo Racing||Chevrolet||+19.243|
|12||Tom Coronel||ROAL Motorsport||Chevrolet||+20.580|
|13||Tom Chilton||ROAL Motorsport||Chevrolet||+21.655|
|14||Nasser Al-Attiyah||Campos Racing||Chevrolet||+26.965|
|15||John Filippi||Campos Racing||Chevrolet||+57.065|
|16||Robert Huff||LADA Sport Rosneft||Lada||DNF|
|17||Nicky Catsburg||LADA Sport Rosneft||Lada||DNS|
|18||Stefano D’Aste||Munnich Motorsport||Chevrolet||DNS|
More on WTCR