Monza, Race 1: Chilton beats Huff in Monza thriller
"It was a serious battle"
Tom Chilton held off fellow Briton Rob Huff to win a thrilling Opening Race in the FIA World Touring Car Championship at Monza.
Sébastien Loeb Racing Citroën C-Elysée WTCC driver Chilton started from the second row, but inherited the lead when Mehdi Bennani and Norbert Michelisz collided ahead of him on the third lap.
Sebastien Loeb Racing driver Bennani had led from the start when DHL Pole Position man Tom Coronel stalled as the red lights went out. Castrol Honda World Touring Car’s Michelisz had passed Chilton for second and was soon challenging the Citroén for the lead. He made his move on the inside line as they entered Parabolica, but the pair made contact and were immediately out of contention.
ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport’s Huff, who started eighth in the reverse-grid race, clawed his way into second place and pulled himself up on to Chilton’s boot lid for the remainder of the nine-lap encounter, but just fell short of finding a way to pass.
“It was a serious battle,” said a delighted Chilton. “It always seems to be Rob behind me when I’m going for a win and it was not easy. He gave me a love tap! But we made it and I’m over the moon.”
Castrol Honda World Touring Car’s Tiago Monteiro rose from his ninth place on the grid to take the final podium spot, clear of the tight battle for fourth. Polestar Cyan Racing’s Thed Björk, who starts from the DHL Pole Position for the Main race later today, just grabbed the place on the run to the finish line, at the expense of Campos Racing Chevrolet RML Cruze driver Esteban Guerrieri.
Coronel recovered from his disastrous start to claim sixth. He told his team on the radio during the race the mistake had been entirely his fault. “Mamma mia,” he mumbled. “My bad.”
Along with Michelisz and Bennani, Polestar Cyan Racing’s Nestor Girolami was another frontrunner to fail to finish. The Argentine had just passed Chilton for third at the start of the second lap, when his Volvo slowed suddenly with damaged right-rear suspension.
The Main Race of the FIA WTCC OSCARO Race of Italy takes place at 14h15 local time.
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