Moscow WTCC: Catsburg takes maiden win, completes Lada double

Lada's Nicky Catsburg took his first win in the World Touring Car Championship in the main race at Moscow Raceway, leading a second consecutive Lada 1-2 ahead of team-mate Gabriele Tarquini, and leaps to joint-second in the drivers’ championship.

Moscow WTCC: Catsburg takes maiden win, completes Lada double
Start action race 2
Tom Chilton, Sébastien Loeb Racing, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC; Tom Blomqvist (GBR) BMW Team RBM, BMW M4 DTM
James Thompson, All-Inkl Motorsport, Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1
Gabriele Tarquini, LADA Sport Rosneft, Lada Vesta
Hugo Valente, LADA Sport Rosneft, Lada Vesta; José María López, Citroën World Touring Car Team, Citroën C-Elysée WTCC
Race winner Nicky Catsburg, LADA Sport Rosneft, Lada Vesta
Podium: Race winner Nicky Catsburg, LADA Sport Rosneft, Lada Vesta; second place Gabriele Tarquini, LADA Sport Rosneft, Lada Vesta; third place place Norbert Michelisz, Honda Racing Team JAS, Honda Civic WTCC; James Thompson, All-Inkl Motorsport, Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1; Viktor Shapovalov, Team manager Lada Sport Rosneft

The Dutchman had a great start from pole position ahead of his two Lada team-mates, while the rain that had hit the first race had started to abate, but not enough for slick tyres at the start.

Catsburg began to build a lead over Tarquini, but hopes of Lada following up their 1-2 result in the opening race with a 1-2-3 in race two were soon crushed when the Honda of Norbert Michelisz passed the third-placed Lada of Hugo Valente, who seemed to be struggling with his set-up.

The Hondas which had struggled in the first race in the wet conditions were much stronger in the main race.

Citroen, meanwhile, went the other way, with Jose Maria Lopez and Yvan Muller fighting to hold off the cars behind them, with Lopez dropping down to eighth by the finish and Muller falling outside of the points to tenth, being passed by the privateer Zengo Honda of Ferenc Ficza with two laps to go.

Rob Huff worked his way up to fourth , with Tiago Monteiro finishing fifth after getting ahead of Valente at the final corner on lap 14.

The Frenchman would fall one further position behind the best-placed independent driver in the race, the Munnich Motorsport Chevrolet of James Thompson who finished the race in sixth.

With the conditions continuing to dry out, the question was whether the wet tyres would last, with Catsburg slower than a fast-closing Tarquini during the final stages, but the Dutchman was able to keep pace his Italian team-mate to score his first victory on his one-year anniversary in the championship, leading by one second at the finish.

“We’re absolutely over the moon,” said Catbsurg. “To have two 1-2s in front of our home crowd and sponsors, but the main race wasn’t easy, as Gabriele was so fast, so we had to keep pushing until the last lap.”

Although Lopez had a relatively forgettable weekend, the Argentinian still extends his lead in the drivers’ championship, though his closest rival is Sebastien Loeb Racing Citroen of Mehdi Bennani and now Catsburg, who took a massive 48 point leap up the order to move from eighth to second, both 105 points behind.

Main race results:

PosDriverCarTime/Gap
1 NetherlandsNicky Catsburg  Lada Vesta WTCC 33:00.149
2 ItalyGabriele Tarquini  Lada Vesta WTCC +1.011
3 HungaryNorbert Michelisz  Honda Civic WTCC +13.681
4 United KingdomRob Huff  Honda Civic WTCC +20.120
5 PortugalTiago Monteiro  Honda Civic WTCC +25.497
6 United KingdomJames Thompson  Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 +29.838
7 FranceHugo Valente  Lada Vesta WTCC +30.611
8 ArgentinaJose Maria Lopez  Citroen C-Elysée WTCC +36.168
9 HungaryFerenc Ficza  Honda Civic WTCC +37.289
10 MoroccoMehdi Bennani  Citroen C-Elysée WTCC +42.772
11 FranceYvan Muller  Citroen C-Elysée WTCC +45.498
12 SwedenFredrik Ekblom  Volvo S60 WTCC +54.460
13 FranceGrégoire Demoustier  Citroen C-Elysée WTCC +56.782
14 FranceJohn Filippi  Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1 +1:05.333
15 SwedenThed Björk  Volvo S60 WTCC +1:19.323
16 United KingdomTom Chilton  Citroen C-Elysée WTCC +1 lap
R Tom Coronel  Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1  

Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes

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Moscow WTCC: Tarquini wins, Lada takes 1-2-4 in wet Race 1
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