– Muller shows his class to score 2 podiums
– Chilton excels in Race 1 but luck runs out in Race 2
– RML overcomes grid penalties to score valuable points.
After the unfortunate and unprecedented events of qualifying which saw no fewer than 12 cars penalised, RML stars Yvan Muller and Tom Chilton defied the odds and the competition to finish 3rd and 7th from grids 13 and 15 respectively in race 1 and in the case of Muller, to score a stunning 2nd place in race 2.
In race 1 World Championship leader Muller made a good start to move up to 10th after lap 1 and on into P6 after just 3 laps, his young teammate fought in the hectic midfield to also progress, but at a steadier rate.
It didn’t take long though for Chilton to switch into overdrive as he sliced through the jostling pack at the high speed Alpine track. He was soon separated from his esteemed team mate by just 1 car as the red and white RML Cruzes looked ever more threatening.
Muller then out manoeuvred 2 more cars in a hectic half lap to move into 4th, only for this to become 3rd after catching and passing Benanni as the Frenchman showed his class to score more valuable points. Meanwhile the sister Aon car of Chilton got embroiled in a battle with Huff, fighting past the reigning World Champion and into a slightly frustrated albeit superb 7th at the end. From an RML perspective it was very satisfying to lock out the podium and see our customers do so well.
Ironically the RML drivers lined up on grid 9 and 10 courtesy of the front row lockout in yesterday’s qualifying, necessitating another nervy get away as both Tom and Yvan tried to balance aggression with caution.
It worked for Yvan as the Lukoil and Aon liveried Cruze slipped threateningly into P7 at the end of lap 1. Despite a very good getaway from the standing start Tom got squeezed into the first chicane, first being hit from behind by Tom Coronel and subsequently cannoning into cars ahead, damaging the front right suspension and steering. Although the impact was heavy the Briton managed to get back to the pits where the slick RML crew set about effecting repairs before sending Chilton back out in an attempt to set fastest lap. However the damage was too great and the disappointed Briton saw the last 6 laps out at a gentle pace.
At the front, the flying Muller had by now executed 2 great passes round the outside of the Honda’s of Monteiro and Michelisz into turn 9 as he stormed into 2nd place. The leading car of RML customer team Bamboo with Nash on board was just out of reach as the laps ran out.
Yvan Muller “At the end of the day I am pleased with this weekend, especially for the fantastic job of the Team. The key to the performance is the Team and the way they work. The ambience and the attention to detail is fantastic.”
Tom Chilton “Its been a tough time in Austria. Its nice that we were bang on the pace all weekend which is the good thing to take with me to Moscow. I really enjoyed the first race coming from 15th and the battles we had but am disappointed to have dropped back in the Championship.”
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Michel Nykjaer Nika Chevrolet 17m41.335s
2. James Nash Bamboo Chevrolet + 0.298s
3. Yvan Muller RML Chevrolet + 0.645s
4. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW + 1.586s
5. Alex MacDowall Bamboo Chevrolet + 4.374s
6. Fredy Barth Wiechers BMW + 5.121s
7. Tom Chilton RML Chevrolet + 7.114s
8. Rob Huff Munnich SEAT + 11.711s
9. James Thompson Lada + 15.758s
10. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW + 15.812s
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. James Nash Bamboo Chevrolet 17m36.853s
2. Yvan Muller RML Chevrolet + 1.438s
3. Norbert Michelisz Zengo Honda + 1.818s
4. Tiago Monteiro Honda + 3.483s
5. Michel Nykjaer Nika Chevrolet + 4.064s
6. Alex MacDowall Bamboo Chevrolet + 4.574s
7. Pepe Oriola Tuenti SEAT + 7.898s
8. Gabriele Tarquini Honda + 9.025s
9. Rob Huff Munnich SEAT + 9.483s
10. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW + 9.859s
Retirements: Tom Chilton RML Chevrolet 6 laps