Yvan Muller clinched a double victory in the opening round of the 2013 FIA World Touring Car Championship in a second wet race at Monza, driving from ninth on the grid into the lead by the end of lap four.
Gabriele Tarquini made a traditionally rapid start in his new Honda, taking the lead from pole-sitter Darryl O’Young around the outside of the Curva Grande on the first lap.
Muller meanwhile worked his way up to fourth by the end of the first lap. He then got ahead of Michel Nykjaer for third on lap three when the Dane got loose at the first Lesmo, and took second from Marc Basseng less than a lap later.
Muller quickly caught Tarquini, capitalising on an error from the veteran at Ascari later on lap four to pull past on the run down to the Parabolica.
Nykjaer came out on top of a battle with Tarquini to end his first weekend in the Nika Racing Chevrolet in the WTCC with a second place outright as well as a Yokohama Trophy win.
Tarquini came under attack from World GT1 champion Basseng but managed to cross the line 0.083 seconds ahead of the All-Inkl.com Munnich Motorsport SEAT, taking a podium finish on his first weekend in the Honda Civic, at the home round for both himself and the JAS Motorsport team behind the Honda operation.
Tom Chilton was unable to make up quite as much ground as new RML teammate Muller but still got as far as fifth. He relegated former teammate and fellow Chevrolet driver James Nash to sixth, and the SEAT of Pepe Oriola to seventh.
Tiago Monteiro was eighth in the second Honda, while Stefano D’Aste and Rob Huff produced great drives from the back to claim the final points places. D’Aste started from the back after a heavy shunt in race one in his own PB Racing BMW, while Huff began the race from pitlane after Munnich made repairs to the brakes and driveshaft on his SEAT between the two races.
Muller took the maximum 55 points from the weekend, with Chilton his nearest rival on 32 and Tarquini sitting third on 28. The second meeting takes place on the streets of Marrakech for the Race of Morocco on 7 April.