Menu wins Shanghai race 1 while Huff grabs points lead with race 2 victory

Huff claims a stake on the WTCC title

Rob Huff is only two races away from being sacred 2012 FIA World Touring Car Champion. The young Englishman walked away from Shanghai as the new point leader, fifteen days before the season’s finale.

Huff claimed one second place in today’s first race and then won the second one benefitting from the collision between his Chevrolet team-mates Alain Menu and Yvan Muller.

Alain Menu, Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T, Chevrolet
Alain Menu, Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T, Chevrolet

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An incident that almost terminated their hopes to keep on fighting until the last finish line. Winning the first race in China, Menu had managed to reduce his gap to 25 points and was set to further close it, as he was leading the second race. When Muller hit him in an attempt of overtaking, Menu slipped down to third, while the Frenchman was later punished by the Stewards with a time penalty that dropped him out of the points.

This gave Huff a solid margin, although both Menu and Muller are still kept in contention by the numbers, because they now lie 35 and 41 points behind, with 55 still to be awarded.

In the Yokohama Trophy, instead, the fight for the title is going to the wire at Macau. Stefano D’Aste put in two strong performanceS – third and fourth overall – to win both races, and has now gaps of only 15 and 3 points from Norbert Michelisz and Pepe Oriola who both experienced a black weekend.

The championship will resume for the final races – Rounds 23 and 24 – at Macau on November 18.

Race 1 – Menu-Huff 1 and 2, Muller is off

Yvan Muller, Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T, Chevrolet
Yvan Muller, Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T, Chevrolet

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The ultimate fight for the 2012 WTCC title has begun and Yvan Muller was the first victim. The reigning champion retired after an incident at the start, while his Chevrolet team-mates Alain Menu and Rob Huff finished first and second.

This gave Huff a 16-point lead in the championship ahead of Muller, while Menu is third only a further 12 points adrift.

Stefano D’Aste completed the podio and claimed a crucial win in the Yokohama Trophy, as he considerably closed the gap from Norbert Michelisz and Pepe Oriola who remained both scoreless.

The race provided plenty of excitement and a number of players were involved in different incidents.

Tom Coronel and Gabriele Tarquini fought for fourth place and finished in the order, while Tom Boardman achieved a brilliant sixth, followed by determined Tiago Monteiro and Colin Turkington who recovered after the collision at the start.

Albert Cerqui and Fredy Barth rounded off the top ten.

Race 2 – Huff leads a Chevrolet 1-2-3

Chevrolet claimed another clean sweep for the podium of the second race, with Rob Huff crossing the line first ahead of Yvan Muller and Alain Menu. This enabled the Englishman to stretch his championship lead by 7 further points.

The key moment of the race happened at the beginning of lap 8, when Muller tried to overtake Menu who was leading at the end of the pit straight. They made contact and Huff took the opportunity to jump ahead of them both. In the final part of the race Muller recovered the second position, but Huff had built a solid gap by then.

The trio of Chevrolet cars was followed by a trio of BMW cars, with Tom Coronel, Stefano D’Aste and Mehdi Bennani finishing in fourth, fifth and sixth; the Italian claimed his second victory of the day in the Yokohama Trophy.

Darryl O'Young, Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T, bamboo-engineering
Darryl O'Young, Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T, bamboo-engineering

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Gabriele Tarquini was classified seventh, ahead of Colin Turkington who managed to prevail after a race-long tough battle with Tom Boardman, Alberto Cerqui and Tiago Monteiro.

Flash News

Time penalty for Muller and other five

Yvan Muller has nearly lost his chances to grab a fourth WTCC title following a thirty second penalty he received from the Stewards for hitting Alain Menu in the second race.

This dropped him from second to 12th and out of the points.

Other five drivers were also given a 30-second penalty for taking an advantage during the pile up at the start of the first race.

They were: Tom Boardman (dropped from 6th to 12th), Tiago Monteiro (from 7th to 13th), Fredy Barth (from 10th to 14th), Hugo Valente (from 15th to 16th) and James Nash (who retired).

The word of the winnners

Alain Menu – Race 1 winner: “The first race was very smooth. I took a good start, my car was perfect. All I had to do was keeping Rob behind at a safe distance and not to be too tough with the front tyres. Unfortunately all the points I had managed to recover in Race 1 I lost them again in Race 2. I think that my hopes to become world champion have ended here today.”

Stefano D'Aste, BMW 320 TC, Wiechers-Sport
Stefano D'Aste, BMW 320 TC, Wiechers-Sport

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Rob Huff – Race 1 winner: “It was a fantastic weekend for me. Especially after the qualifying session I had yesterday. I was very disappointed with that. But today my car was great! Obviously I feel pretty happy to go to Macau as the championship leader. That circuit has also been very good to me in the last four years. Anything can happen there, but our car is very strong on street circuits. I’m very excited!”

Weather: sunny, with a strong wind and a dry track for today’s races.

World Touring Car Championship

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About this article
Series WTCC
Drivers Tom Coronel , Tiago Monteiro , Yvan Muller , Colin Turkington , Tom Boardman , Darryl O'Young , Rob Huff , Gabriele Tarquini , Stefano D'Aste , Mehdi Bennani , Norbert Michelisz , Fredy Barth , James Nash , Alain Menu , Alberto Cerqui , Pepe Oriola , Hugo Valente
Article type Race report
Tags chevrolet, china, d’aste, ford, honda, huff, menu, muller, seat, shanghai, wtcc