Ma Qing Hua Claims Debut WTCC Win in Second Moscow Race

Ma Qing Hua - Photo Credit: FIA WTCC
Ma Qing Hua - Photo Credit: FIA WTCC

Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua claimed victory in race two on his debut weekend in the World Touring Car Championship at Moscow.

Driving a fourth factory Citroen, Ma started on the front row of the grid, but dropped behind the Honda of Norbert Michelisz and had to work his way past the Hungarian, finally succeeding after several attempts at the final corner.

That move gave Ma the lead, just as pole-sitter and erstwhile leader Hugo Valente peeled off to serve a drive-through penalty for not having his wheels fitted at the five-minute board on the grid.

Valente’s Campos Racing crew had faced a race against time to get Valente’s car ready to take up pole position, after he was taken out by team-mate Dusan Borkovic in race one, and the Frenchman emerged with just seconds left before the pits were closed.

Once in the lead, Ma was able to pull away but was reeled in in the very last laps by Yvan Muller. Muller lost ground at the start with a sideways moment at turn one but fought back, at one stage passing three in-fighting Hondas all at once. Second place allowed Muller to close the gap to championship leader and race one winner Jose Maria Lopez, who failed to get off the line due to a gearbox issue.

Though unable to keep the two Citroens behind him, Michelisz was able to put up a strong defence against the similar Hondas, and was helped by the two factory cars of Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro both retiring. A slide however allowed Mehdi Bennani and Tom Coronel to get past, and Sebastien Loeb and Tom Chilton both got by on the last lap, leaving Michelisz seventh at the flag.

Gianni Morbidelli was eighth, just holding off a recovering Valente and his own team owner Rene Munnich.