MONZA (Italy) – 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.
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 have fastest lap also - that’s a great feeling, a real boost.
Race two was much trickier, visibility was pretty much zero so it’s 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 closing 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 censure we carry this momentum forward and stay on top in Marrakech.”