Yvan Muller has won an eventful second World Touring Car Championship race at Monza, making it two out of two wins and getting his title defence of to the perfect start.
Muller won the race from Chevrolet team-mates Alain Menu and Rob Huff – although it was far from the typical Chevrolet domination that has become commonplace in the WTCC. Indeed popular Hungarian Norbert Michelisz was the leader for the first seven laps.
Frenchman Muller started from ninth on the grid for the race and in the low sun at the Autodromo di Monza had to battle his way through the order. Contact from team-mate Rob Huff on the second lap pitched the Frenchman accross the first chicane, although he appeared to not lose much time. Muller thereafter passed Alex MacDowall and Stefano D’Aste on lap 4 and Coronel two laps later. Micehlisz tried to hold on to the lead but seemingly inevitably lost it just one lap later on lap 7.
Tom Coronel finished fourth – although the Dutchman had been in contention for the win for the first half of the race. Coronel applied significant pressure to Michelisz in front but couldn’t find a way past and soon fell behind the charging Chevrolet trio.
Stefano D’Aste was the top Yokohama driver and finished in fifth, having avoided getting involved too much in the battle for the lead. Franz Engstler finished in sixth after hanging on to the leading pack enough to benefit when those in front lost ground.
MacDowall took seventh, despite having at one stage been in contention for a podium finish. Leader for the first half of the race Michelisz dropped rapidly down the order once the door had been opened, losing four positions on the lap he lost the lead. He eventually finished in eighth.
Completing the top ten were Alberto Cerqui, taking his second points finish of the weekend, and Rickard Rydell.
Gabriele Tarquini retired from the race due to a suspension failure. Charles Kaki Ng, Pasquale Di Sabatino and Tiago Monteiro also failed to make it to the end.