Muller, Huff Post Victories at WTCC Event in Sonoma
Teammates Yvan Muller and Rob Huff recorded victories on Sunday in the first-ever FIA World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) event at the raceway in Sonoma.
Muller posted the victory in the first 13-lap sprint race around the 12-turn, 2.50-mile road course, while teammate Huff took the checkers in the second race, which spanned 15 laps. This marked the first-ever race in North America for the WTCC, which races in other locales as Brazil, Italy, Japan, China, Portugal and Macau.
Muller and Huff are now tied for the championship with 315 points each as the series next visits Japan, Oct. 19-21. Just three races remain in the series’ 2012 season.
Muller posted his eighth victory of the season and the 29th of his WTCC career with the win in the first race. He overtook pole-sitter Alain Menu (Chevrolet) to post the win in the 13-lap feature. Huff (Chevrolet) was second and Hungary's Norbert Michelisz (BMW) third.
"I had a great start to the race and my car was fantastic," said Muller, who drives a Chevrolet. "My team gave me the opportunity to be at the lead, and I kept the lead until the end."
In the second race, Huff was able to take the lead on lap nine when Muller was issued a penalty for an incident with Franz Engstler on a restart. Huff held off a hard-charging Michelisz for the win, his fourth of the season and 22nd of his career. Michelisz had an outstanding weekend, taking second place, while Italy's Gabriele Tarquini (SEAT Leon) was third.
The thrilling day of racing has certainly set-up a showdown between Muller and Huff for the championship as the season concludes in China, Japan and Macau. Muller is looking for his third consecutive championship and Huff his first.
"I'm very happy; it was a good weekend for me," Huff said. "It did not start that great as I struggled with the setup of the car. But certainly in the warm up and the race I was very happy with the pace of the car. I'm pleased to win the second race and continue the battle with Yvan in Japan."
In other racing on Sunday, Sergey Sirotkin, from Russia, won the Auto GP Championship, while Renaud Kuppens (Belgium) won both Maserati features. Brandon Kraus posted his second win of the weekend in the United States Touring Car Championship main event.