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We take an exclusive look back at WTCC Argentina

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The WTCC visited Argentina on the weekend and Franco Carnero was there to cover the action for RacerViews. Here is his exclusive gallery

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Tom Chilton – 3rd in race 1

“This was a great result for the team; they’ve worked hard all weekend. In the race, I got hit quite hard from behind in Turn 1 and I was lucky not to go off on the exit. I had to use my tyres quite hard to get back up into second place – I’m sure it looked great on TV when I went around the outside of Michelisz at Turn 11! By the end of the race, my tyres weren’t in great shape and Pepe probably had a little bit left.”

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Darryl O’Young speaks on his Facebook page

Had a strong performance today in the WTCC Race of Argentina. Went from P20 up to P8 with 2 laps to go, but got hit from behind entering a 5th gear corner and had a massive spin. Life goes on…..

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Mikhail Kozlovskiy

Kozlovskiy didn’t have a great weekend in the Lada, being excluded from qualifying, retiring in race 1 but took 16th in race 2.

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James Nash

It was a double top 10 result for James in his Chevrolet Cruze.  He took out 9th in race 1 and 7th in race 2

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Pechito’ Lopez – winner of race 2 (and class winner in race1)
“I was happy but nervous to be starting from P1 – I knew it was going to be difficult. I knew I had to do my best but when I set the time in warm-up I knew that I also had a good car for a fight. In the first race, I saw I had a good pace so I said okay, maybe I could win race 2. The best thing about the BMW is the start and I opened up a gap over the first few laps with new tyres, but then I saw Muller coming and I thought now I am in big trouble! Then I didn’t see Muller anymore and so that’s when I thought it was possible. I am so happy; I really didn’t expect this because I am competing with some great drivers. This is a dream come true.”

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Franz Engstler

Engstler  was off the pace all weekend, finishing well down in both races

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Gabriele Tarquini – 2nd
“We had some electronic problems yesterday that we tried to solve this morning. The engine was good in both races and I had a good car. It’s always difficult to fight with the Chevrolet cars because they are so fast on the straight. Fortunately, I stayed out of trouble in the first race and then I made a great start in the second. After two laps, I tried to overtake Nykjaer on the outside, but I was a little too optimistic and lost two or three positions. I came back and after the incident between Tiago and Muller I ended up in second place.”

Race in brief

Race 1

After starting from pole position, Yvan Muller took another commanding lights-to-flag victory to further extend his lead in the WTCC Drivers’ Championship.

It was also yet another all-Chevrolet top three, but this time the runner-up to Muller was Pepe Oriola in the Tuenti Racing car and not Muller’s RML teammate Tom Chilton, who had to settle for third place.
Fourth-placed Gabriele Tarquini’s Honda Civic finished as the best non-Chevrolet, while ‘Pechito’ López finished in a sensational fifth position and winner of the Yokohama Trophy, delighting the local fans. This was the Argentine driver’s debut in the Wiechers-Sport BMW and, since he starts Race 2 from pole position, he must be hoping that a record-breaking rookie victory is more than possible.

Both Rob Huff and Tiago Monteiro started from the back of the grid after engine changes and both drivers carved their way through the field to record top-ten finishes. Huff’s SEAT León passed the Chevrolet of James Nash on the final lap to reward the World Champion with eighth place, while Monteiro in the Castrol Honda Civic couldn’t find a way past the bamboo-engineering car and so took the chequered flag in tenth position.

Race 2

History was made at Termas de Río Hondo when the BMW 320 TC of local hero José Maria ‘Pechito’ López crossed the finish line to record the first-ever victory by a driver on his first appearance with FIA touring cars.

López, driving for the Wiechers-Sport team, started from pole position and never looked threatened; his victory was a popular one as the Argentine driver also won in ever WTCC event
held in his home country.

Gabriele Tarquini finished second in the Castrol Honda team Civic, while Pepe Oriola finishing in third place in the Tuenati Racing Chevrolet meant there were three different manufacturers represented on the podium. Honda also had two other reasons to celebrate: Norbert Michelisz and Tiago Monteiro finished fourth and fifth respectively after a close fight between the pair right until the end of the race.

Any thoughts Yvan Muller had of a repeating his Race 1 victory evaporated on Lap 5 when there was contact between his Chevrolet and the Civic of Monteiro while the pair battled for second place. The resulting drive-through penalty saw Muller eventually finish the race in 13th place and out of the points. There was also contact between Hugo Valente’s SEAT León and the BMW of Darryl O’Young on Lap 9 that was referred to the Stewards for investigation.

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Photos copyright Franco Carnero  August 2013

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