We take an exclusive look at WTCC from Sonoma


We were at the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) at Sonoma over the weekend with Jeff Kapic behind the lens.  Following our interview with Tom Chilton, we take a photographic look at the race.


It was Honda and Chevy taking the wins at Sonoma


Alex McDowell took a strong 4th in race 1


Tom Coronell took a double top 10 with a 6th and 7th


Gabriele Tarquini, winner: “I am extremely happy for the weekend. The key to my victory was the start. It’s quite unbelievable and a masterpiece because to beat a rear-wheel drive car under acceleration is very, very nice. The speed was very different (from last year, when he tried and failed to pass Alain Menu at the same place). From a standing start, the speed is a lot lower; we touched, but I was in the right place because last year I was on the wrong line and I lost control of the car. I learned from last year, for sure! I don’t know how many kilos we will get after this weekend, but it’s a great comeback after not scoring in so many races. In Suzuka it will be very tough but the characteristics of the track are better than somewhere like Argentina, Monza or Marrakesh so we play a little bit better.”


Charles Ng finished 16th in race 1 but had a DNF in race 2


Coronel was the top BMW through the weekend


Rob Huff had a tough weekend, taking 8th in race 1 but was a lap down in race 2


The field was oddly spaced out over the weekend but there were clusters of good fights


Pepe Orilia took out 12th in race 1 but finished many laps down in race 2

The weekend in brief

The two WTCC races at the Sonoma Raceway produced a pair of winners for whom the victories meant far more than the chance to spray the champagne and savour their moment in the winner’s circle.

In Race 1, Tom Chilton, driving one of the RML Chevrolet Cruze cars, qualified on pole position for the first time in his WTCC career and then converted that pole position into his maiden WTCC victory, beating a determined Tiago Monteiro who put in his best performance in the season so far.
Then, in Race 2, Gabriele Tarquini made a return to the winner’s circle, nearly five months after his first victory at the wheel of the Honda Civic. His success earned Honda the Manufacturers’ title with three race meetings remaining.
Three other drivers shone during the California weekend: Alex MacDowall and Mehdi Bennani shared victories in the Yokohama Trophy and also claimed brilliant overall results: fourth in Race 1 for the Briton and second in Race 2 for the Moroccan. Norbert Michelisz claimed another podium result, the fifth for him so far this year and managed to keep a fighting Yvan Muller at bay for much of the race.
Muller moved another step forward towards his fourth WTCC Drivers’ Championship and only Tarquini’s victory denied him the mathematical certainty of the title. However the current margin of 143 points over the Italian means that is a long way from being threatened. Michel Nykyær also remains in contention, though only theoretically, as he lies 163 points behind Muller with 165 still to be awarded.
The fight for the Yokohama Trophy is closer than ever, with Nykyær and James Nash on equal points and MacDowall only 29 points behind the pair.
The championship will resume in two weeks for rounds 19 and 20 at Suzuka, Japan on September 22.


Photos by Jeff Kapic, September 2013

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