Yvan Muller took his sixth win of the 2015 WTCC season in the final race in Qatar, and in doing so beat departing Citroen teammate Sebastien Loeb to runner-up in the standings by one point.
Before the race got underway, a spot had opened up on the front row, as an oil leak for Tom Coronel, who was due to start Race 2 from second on the grid, forced him to start from the pit lane.
At the start of the race, Campos Racing’s John Filippi crept before the line from pole position, subsequently keeping the lead into Turn 1 ahead of the two Citroens of Muller and Ma Qing Hua.
A spin for Lada’s Nicky Catsburg due to congestion in the first corner saw the Dutch driver retire with damage. Catsburg was also collected by Munnich Motorsport’s Stefano D’Aste, with both cars left on the side of the track as the safety car was called.
Eventually, the race was restarted on lap six with Muller swiftly alongside Filippi, who turned in on the fellow Frenchman and spun himself around.
Filippi then was handed his drive-through penalty for the jump start, which meant the Corsican would end up finishing the race in a lowly 15th position.
Champion Jose Maria Lopez was recovering from a poor start and was working his way through the order, passing the Ladas of Rob Huff and Nicolas Lapierre as well as the Honda of Tiago Monteiro to eventually finish in eighth position.
The key battle was for third, with Zengo Motorsport’s Norbert Michelisz holding off the Citroen of Loeb. Loeb needed to pass the Hungarian to ensure he could keep his second position in the drivers’ standings, while Michelisz needed to make sure he didn’t fall behind his independents’ rivals to win his second Yokohama Trophy.
After 14 laps, Muller crossed the line to claim his sixth win of the season and move up to second in the standings on 357 points, one ahead of Loeb, with Ma finishing behind second and Michelisz third, wrapping up the independent drivers’ title.
|2||Ma Qing Hua||Citroen||5.264|
|8||Jose Maria Lopez||Citroen||11.682|
|16||Rob Huff||Lada||5 Laps|
Neil Hudson / TouringCarTimes