WTCC 2011 - Suzuka, Race Report

ROAL Motorsport’s Tom Coronel earned his first win of the 2011 World Touring Car Championship season after Alain Menu earlier sealed victory in the opening race at Suzuka, Japan, on 23-24 October 2011.

It was Menu who set the fastest lap in qualifying, his time of 53.443 beating his Chevrolet team-mate Yvan Muller by 0.049 seconds, while Volvo racer Robert Dahlgren secured third.

Two separate incidents at the start of race one handed the lead to Yvan Muller, with Menu dropping to second ahead of Huff, who profited from a retirement for Dahlgren to move up to thirs place.

The drivers went under safety car conditions for seven laps, and one lap after the restart Menu regained his lead, overtaking Drivers’ Championship leader Muller.

A mistake by Muller on lap ten pushed the Chevrolet driver down to fourth, with Huff moving up to second and Denmark’s Michel Nykjær taking third. Despite Muller’s best efforts to move back into the podium spots, Nykjær held on for third behind winner Menu and Huff.

In race two, Coronel produced a world class defensive display to fight off competition from the Drivers’ Championship frontrunners.

Second on the grid, Coronel moved up to first on the opening straight, with pole-sitter Darryl O’Young spinning out of contention after clashing with Tarquini.

In the aftermath, Muller and Huff emerged second and third respectively, and both began to apply the pressure to Coronel. The Dutchman wasn’t to be denied his second ever WTCC victory however, keeping hold of the lead for the duration of the 23-lap race.

Muller and Huff held on for second and third, leaving the former 13 points ahead of the latter in the Drivers’ Championship with just four races left in the 2011 season.