It was 2011 redux as the World Touring Car Championship began its 2011 season at Monza; the Chevrolet Cruze team finished first and second in race one and swept the podium in race two, with SEAT and BMW giving chase.
Tom Coronel of Roberto Ravaglia’s ROAL Motorsport team was the best BMW finisher, just as he was most of the time in 2011. He qualified his 320 TC sixth, finished fifth in race one, and finished fourth in race two.
WTCC has once again changed its qualifying rules; the top ten qualifiers in the second qualifying session, which sets the grid for race one, are inverted for the start of race two. SEAT’s Gabriele Tarquini was on the pole for race one, while BMW’s Norbert Michelisz, who was tenth fastest in Q2, sat on the pole for race two.
Chevrolet’s Yvan Muller, the reigning WTCC champion, passed Tarquini three laps into race one. Muller’s teammate Robert Huff got by on lap eight, dropping Tarquini to third, where he would finish. Coronel finished fifth, one spot up from his qualifying position. Michelisz, who finished ninth, was next up among the BMW runners.
Michelisz led race two until Muller got by on lap seven after winning a battle for second with Coronel. Chevrolet’s Alain Menu, BMW’s Coronel, and Chevrolet’s Huff also got by Michelisz on lap seven. He would eventually fall back to eighth. Huff passed Coronel for third on lap nine, giving the Cruze runners a podium sweep. Coronel, finishing fourth, led BMW racers Stefano D’Aste and Franz Engstler across the line.
D’Aste’s fifth in race two coupled with his eleventh in race one left him leading among the privateer racers eligible for the Yokohama Trophy.
The series runs again at Valencia on April 1.—Brian S. Morgan, motorsports editor, bmwcca.orgBack to News