Muller closes gap on Lopez with Moscow opener win

Yvan Muller took his third win of the 2015 WTCC season at Moscow Raceway, leading home Citroen teammate Jose Maria Lopez by three seconds.

At the start, Muller got the jump ahead of Lopez, and went on to win without much pressure from teammate Lopez, who had his own troubles with Gabriele Tarquini for the bulk of the race.

The championship leader was aided by the strong charge from Lada’s Rob Huff, who attacked the Italian’s Honda Civic at every turn for the final podium position.

Ma Qing Hua jumped to fifth at the start, where he would remain for the remainder ahead of Tom Chilton in the best of the Chevrolets and Norbert Michelisz's Honda.

Muller’s win sees him reduce the points gap to teammate Lopez to 43 points heading into the second race, where the four-time champion will start from 10th on the reversed grid, while Honda’s Tiago Monteiro will start from pole.

The Portuguese finished the first race in eighth with an early move on Sebastien Loeb, who struggled around the Russian circuit relative to his teammates en route to a lowly ninth.

The final point went to Jaap Van Lagen, who charged through the pack after a poor first lap, passing series returnee Rickard Rydell on lap four, getting ahead of Hugo Valente at the final corner on lap six, and repeating the same move on his Lada teammate Nick Catsburg three laps later to secure 10th.

There was drama for the Dutch veteran at the start, as compatriot Tom Coronel spun across the nose of Van Lagen, while Stefano D’Aste in the Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet ran into the back of Mehdi Bennani’s Citroen, with Bennani and Coronel both ending up chasing the pack as a result.

John Filippi was the first retirement of the race after a coming together with Gregoire Demoustier on the fourth lap and collecting gravel in the radiator grill of his Chevrolet, with Coronel becoming the second and last retirement after pitting on the final lap while in 17th and last position.

Race results:

Pos Driver Car Time/Gap
Yvan Muller Citroen 27'04.214
Jose Maria Lopez Citroen 2.933
Gabriele Tarquini Honda 4.392
Rob Huff Lada 4.684
Ma Qing Hua Citroen 7.082
Tom Chilton Chevrolet 8.724
Norbert Michelisz Honda 10.394
Tiago Monteiro Honda 12.809
Sebastien Loeb Citroen 13.463
10  Jaap van Lagen Lada 14.044
11  Nick Catsburg Lada 18.239
12  Hugo Valente Chevrolet 20.870
13  Rickard Rydell Honda 24.517
14  Mehdi Bennani Citroen 33.791
15  Stefano D'Aste Chevrolet 36.562
16  Gregoire Demoustier Chevrolet 41.523
17  Tom Coronel Chevrolet 1 Lap
Ret  John Filippi Chevrolet -

Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes

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About this article
Series WTCC
Event Moscow
Track Moscow Raceway
Drivers Yvan Muller , Rob Huff , Jose Maria Lopez , Gabriele Tarquini
Teams Citroën World Touring Car team
Article type Race report