This has been a very common happening in recent years, when they were both racing for the Chevrolet factory team and fighting for the world title. However, things has changed and if Muller with the RML Cruze is still the man to beat, Huff jumping back on the highest podium brings a new excitement to the current season.
The Briton fully deserved this success. The first for him in WTCC not at the wheel of a Chevrolet; and also the first for the German ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, on their first touring car season.
Looking at the Drivers’ Championship’s standings it is quite clear that Muller’s ability to deliver consistent results on top is helping him to open a gap. Despite this, race after race the 2013 WTCC is proving to be as balanced as ever.
Huff was the sixth different winner over eight races and four different manufacturers have already scored at least one victory.
For sure the many fans who came to the track in support of Norbert Michelisz were a bit disappointed that all their cheering did not help the local hero to repeat his 2012 win. However the young Hungarian did not upset them, delivering two brilliant performances and finishing runner up to Muller in Race 1.
More action was provided by the Yokohama Trophy competitors, who fought on equal level with more experienced drivers. Mehdi Bennani emerged as the trophy’s winner in both races and finished a close second overall in Race 2. His best result ever in WTCC. The bamboo-engineering duo of Alex MacDowall and James Nash scored a pocketful of points and even managed to keep the RML Chevrolet cars behind in Race 2. They have the potential to aim soon for overall victories.
The championship will resume in Austria, at the Salzburgring, on May 18 and 19 for rounds 9 and 10.
RACE 1 – MULLER BEATS MICHELISZ
Yvan Muller took the most out of his pole position and managed to keep Norbert Michelisz behind at the first braking, which gave him the opportunity to control his rival for all the 12 laps.
The Frenchman increased his pace between laps 3 and 6 to create a gap and then was able to resist in the final part of the race, when Michelisz’s pace was a bit faster.
Behind them Gabriele Tarquini claimed third place, benefiting from the battle over fourth place that involved Rob Huff, Mehdi Bennani, Tom Coronel and Tom Chilton.
Eventually Huff was classified fourth ahead of Bennani who scored his first victory in the Yokohama Trophy.
A pile up after the start eliminated some potential top players such as Tiago Monteiro, Pepe Oriola, Fredy Barth and James Thompson.
RACE 2 – HUFF IS BACK ON TOP
Reigning World Champion Rob Huff returned to the winner’s circle claiming his first WTCC victory in a SEAT car and also giving the first win to the ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport.
Huff performed a masterful manoeuvre at the end of the safety car period, overtaking Mehdi Bennani on the outside at Turn 1. It was a ‘now or never’ move, as the Briton knew that the BMW car would have been more consistent in the final laps. However, Bennani never gave up and shadowed Huff for the whole race trying to force him into a mistake. Although this did not happen, the Moroccan driver scored a brilliant second place and another victory in the Yokohama Trophy.
Alex MacDowall completed the podium, with his team-mate James Nash in fourth position; it was a great result for the bamboo-engineering that placed both their drivers in front of Yvan Muller.
Local hero Norbert Michelisz excited the crowd with some spectacular overtaking manoeuvres in his attempt to recover. However he eventually had to settle for eighth.
TARQUINI TO SPEND THE NIGHT IN HOSPITAL
Gabriele Tarquini and Franz Engstler were both sent to Budapest’s Military Hospital following the dramatic crash in which they were involved on the first lap of the second race.
The first checks at the circuit’s medical centre reported both drivers suffering from bruises and pains to chest and neck, so they underwent more thorough examinations at the hospital that ruled out cracked ribs and other consequences.
Engstler was soon discharged, while the doctors decided to keep Tarquini under observation for the night because he is still suffering from pains at the neck.