Engstler takes first WTCC victory
Date published : 31 Jul 2011 - 14:11:02
Franz Engstler claimed his first ever World Touring Car victory with a lights-to-flag performance at Oschersleben which brought Chevrolet's run of 11 consecutive wins to an end.Starting from pole under WTCC's reverse-grid rules, Engstler was initially demoted to second behind the fast-starting Zengo BMW of Norbert Michelisz, but retook the lead when Michelisz spun exiting the penultimate corner on lap eight.From there he never looked under serious pressure even as Chevrolet's Alain Menu closed in the final laps, holding the Swiss driver at bay to take his first win by just under one second.Engslter, who celebrated his 50th birthday six days ago, said: "What a fantastic day! Beautiful! Thank you so much to my team and BMW, they did a great job after my accident in the first race, and I was able to repay them with this."Menu was followed home by SUNRED SEAT's Gabriele Tarquini, who held off a charging Tom Coronel in a photo finish - just 0.031s separating the pair at the flag.Behind them, the battle between Chevrolet team-mates and championship leaders Rob Huff and Yvan Muller provided plenty of entertainment.Huff led Muller away from the start, but on lap six the Briton was held up trying to pass SUNRED SEAT's Tiago Monteiro on the outside of Turn 1 ? Muller slipping down the inside of both to jump from eighth to sixth.The Frenchman repeated the trick several laps later as he picked off Coronel while the ROAL BMW man fought with Michelisz, but Coronel was able to repass Muller in the final laps to leave him directly ahead of Huff on the road.Huff however was not able to mount a serious challenge and eventually had to settle for sixth, with Muller reducing his championship deficit to just six points at the head of the standings.Robert Dahlgren shadowed Huff for almost the duration of the race but could never mount a serious challenge and came home seventh in the Volvo, ahead of Monteiro, Wiechers BMW's Stefano D'Aste and Proteam BMW's Javier Villa.