Hungaroring WTCC: Morbidelli becomes first non-Citroen 2014 winner
|By Peter Mills||Sunday, May 4th 2014, 13:34 GMT|
Gianni Morbidelli became the first man to win a 2014 World Touring Car Championship round in anything other than a Citroen as he took Hungaroring victory in his Munnich Chevrolet.
Reigning Superstars champion Morbidelli had to soak up intense pressure from factory Honda driver Tiago Monteiro in the reversed-grid event.
He was tapped into a slide by his fellow former Formula 1 racer Monteiro at the Turn 6 chicane on the final lap.
The incident gave the lead duo a slow and scruffy exit to the chicane, and allowed polesitter Hugo Valente to close onto Monteiro's bumper at the following corner.
No further bold manoeuvres followed in the final half a lap and the first three crossed the finish separated by just 1.2 seconds.
From the outside of the front row, Morbidelli had escaped a squeeze from Valente away from the line to lead into Turn 1, and thereafter produced a faultless performance.
The victory is Chevrolet team Munnich Motorsport's second successive win in the Hungaroring reverse-grid race, following Rob Huff's triumph in the team's SEAT Leon last year.
Tom Coronel executed a strong defensive drive to hold race one winner Yvan Muller at bay for 14 laps.
The reigning WTCC champion did briefly steal the Dutchman's fourth place at Turn 1 on the second lap, only to make a slow exit that allowed Coronel to immediately recover the position.
Championship leader Jose Maria Lopez finished just 0.170s behind Muller, having been forced to lock his tyres on a number of occasions to avoid contact with his factory Citroen team-mate.
Proteam racer Mehdi Bennani non-started race two owing to a turbo failure on his Honda Civic at the conclusion of race one.
Results - 14 laps Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Gianni Morbidelli Munnich Chevrolet 26m15.851s 2. Tiago Monteiro Honda +0.350s 3. Hugo Valente Campos Chevrolet +1.206s 4. Tom Coronel ROAL Chevrolet +5.104s 5. Yvan Muller Citroen +5.435s 6. Jose Maria Lopez Citroen +5.605s 7. Tom Chilton ROAL Chevrolet +6.306s 8. Gabriele Tarquini Honda +7.828s 9. Sebastien Loeb Citroen +8.308s 10. Norbert Michelisz Zengo Honda +8.842s 11. Dusan Borkovic Campos Chevrolet +11.724s 12. Rob Huff Lada +21.487s 13. Rene Munnich Munnich Chevrolet +23.210s 14. James Thompson Lada +26.391s 15. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW +55.381s* 16. Pasquale di Sabatino Engstler BMW +59.926s* 17. John Filippi Campos SEAT +1m19.313s* 18. Yukinori Taniguchi Nika Honda +2 laps* Retirements/not classified Mikhail Kozlovskiy Lada 3 laps * TC2