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.
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:
|1||Nicky Catsburg||Lada Vesta WTCC||33:00.149|
|2||Gabriele Tarquini||Lada Vesta WTCC||+1.011|
|3||Norbert Michelisz||Honda Civic WTCC||+13.681|
|4||Rob Huff||Honda Civic WTCC||+20.120|
|5||Tiago Monteiro||Honda Civic WTCC||+25.497|
|6||James Thompson||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||+29.838|
|7||Hugo Valente||Lada Vesta WTCC||+30.611|
|8||Jose Maria Lopez||Citroen C-Elysée WTCC||+36.168|
|9||Ferenc Ficza||Honda Civic WTCC||+37.289|
|10||Mehdi Bennani||Citroen C-Elysée WTCC||+42.772|
|11||Yvan Muller||Citroen C-Elysée WTCC||+45.498|
|12||Fredrik Ekblom||Volvo S60 WTCC||+54.460|
|13||Grégoire Demoustier||Citroen C-Elysée WTCC||+56.782|
|14||John Filippi||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1||+1:05.333|
|15||Thed Björk||Volvo S60 WTCC||+1:19.323|
|16||Tom Chilton||Citroen C-Elysée WTCC||+1 lap|
|R||Tom Coronel||Chevrolet RML Cruze TC1|
Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes
Moscow WTCC: Tarquini wins, Lada takes 1-2-4 in wet Race 1
Yvan Muller picks up podium place in rainy Russia