– 2013 season kicks of triumphantly with double victory & first 1-2 of the year
– Muller leads the drivers’ championship with 55 points and Chilton second on 32
– RML eclipses BMW in the all-time records
MONZA (Italy) – Sunday 24th March: A double victory, a double points finish in both races and the team’s first 1-2 of the year has propelled RML to the top of the championship standings and given the team much to celebrate in the FIA World Touring Car Championship opener today in Monza.
Atrocious weather conditions at the iconic track caused the first race to start under the safety car, but despite poor visibility and relentless rainfall, it would be a celebration all round for the Wellingborough (UK) based outfit as Muller scored RML’s first win of the season and team-mate Chilton clinched his maiden WTCC podium having kept the Frenchman well within his sights and under pressure from lights to flag.
The reverse grid for race two placed Chilton 8th and Muller 9th and with others reporting zero visibility midpack, the team were hopeful yet cautious as the puddles on track deepened.
A great start from Muller off the line pushed him up into 6th position by the first corner, and the Frenchman’s mission for the podium was once again evident as he picked off the competition one by one – first Nash, then Nykjaer, Basseng and O’Young.
By lap four spectators watched with baited breath as Muller closed in on local hero and race leader, Gabriele Tarquini but with the latter unable to defend, Muller was through and well on his way to his second victory.
In the sister Cruze, Chilton was often the fastest driver on the track as he worked his way through the pack into 5th position and just metres from taking 3rd place on the line. It was the RML new boy’s second points-scoring finish in what has been a very promising debut with the Team.
Muller leads the championship standings by 55 points with Chilton second on 32.
Yvan Muller: “That was amazing – I couldn’t see the cars or even the lights in front so it was very, very tough out there. That’s one of the worst conditions I’ve raced in.
“From three weeks ago not knowing we’d be here to now, with maximum points – I have to say thank you to Lukoil, Aon and RML – they believed in the programme and now we are here, leading the championship.”
Tom Chilton: “It’s been an awesome weekend for me, slightly crazy with the weather, but so satisfying and exciting! Race one ran perfectly and I am really happy with that second place – it’s my first podium in the WTCC and I took fastest lap also – that’s a great feeling, a real boost. Race two was much trickier, visibility was pretty much zero so it was a guessing game into the first corner. But I worked my way through the field and was hoping to close in on 3rd over those final laps – I could see Basseng and Tarquini battling ahead and positioned myself so I was ready, just in case, but of course, I didn’t want to get tangled up in anything either. It’s a double points finish and I go to Marrakech in a really strong position.”
Ron Hartvelt, Project Supervisor: “The guys did a great job here today and we couldn’t have asked for a better start to the year with our first 1-2 and a double victory.
“It was incredibly tricky out there and in conditions like these, there is a real risk of big accidents. Race 1 went exactly to plan – calm and steady. It wasn’t easy and it felt like one of the longest races we’ve had, but congratulations to Yvan and Tom, superb job. Race two was a little tense running midpack, but again Yvan and Tom did us proud – a fantastic second win and both drivers in the points. We leave here leading the championship and we’ve eclipsed the BMW all-time record of fastest laps and laps led which is hugely rewarding.
“Now we must ensure we carry this momentum forward and stay on top in Marrakech.”
Race 1 Result
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Yvan Muller RML Chevrolet 30m02.783s
2. Tom Chilton RML Chevrolet + 0.923s
3. Alex MacDowall Bamboo Chevrolet + 5.101s
4. Gabriele Tarquini Honda + 8.053s
5. Tiago Monteiro Honda + 15.261s
6. Rob Huff Munnich SEAT + 17.349s
7. James Nash Bamboo Chevrolet + 19.964s
8. Norbert Michelisz Zengo Honda + 20.338s
9. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW + 28.837s
10. Fredy Barth Wiechers BMW + 37.740s
Race 2 Result
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Yvan Muller RML Chevrolet 23m27.254s
2. Michel Nykjaer NIKA Chevrolet + 2.482s
3. Gabriele Tarquini Honda + 4.994s
4. Marc Basseng Munnich SEAT + 5.081s
5. Tom Chilton RML Chevrolet + 5.612s
6. Pepe Oriola Tuenti SEAT + 6.755s
7. James Nash Bamboo Chevrolet + 14.445s
8. Tiago Monteiro Honda + 20.573s
9. Stefano d’Aste PB BMW + 23.722s
10. Rob Huff Munnich SEAT + 25.442s
Yvan Muller 55
Tom Chilton 32
Gabriele Tarquini 28
Michel Nykjaer 18
Alex MacDowall 18
Tiago Monteiro 14
Marc Basseng 12
James Nash 12