Tom Chilton scored his first victory of the 2014 World Touring Car Championship season from pole position in race one in Beijing.
On the championship’s maiden visit to the permanent Goldenport circuit in the Chinese capital, Chilton surprised the pack by taking top spot in the qualifying session ran early on Sunday.
The Surrey racer made a great start in his ROAL Motorsport Chevrolet Cruze and opened up a lead of over two seconds in the opening two laps, while Citroen‘s Yvan Muller passed his Honda counterpart Gabriele Tarquini for P2.
His advantage was then eliminated on lap three by the appearance of the safety car, triggered by a collision between the Cruzes of Dusan Borkovic and Rene Munnich.
It took until lap 11 for those cars to be recovered and the race to be restarted, after which, Chilton was again able to pull away from his 2013 team-mate Muller. He had a five-second margin by lap 18 before easing off over the final ten laps and winning by 2.5s.
Tarquini pitted out of third place with five laps left after picking up a puncture on debris, promoting championship leader Jose Maria Lopez to third.
Gianni Morbidelli finished fourth in his Chevrolet, after he and Norbert Michelisz worked their way past Sebastien Loeb at the safety car restart. Loeb would re-take fifth from Michelisz before the end.
Home hero Ma Qing Hua recovered from qualifying back in 14th to run as high as eighth – just behind Citroen team-mate Loeb – before going off track. Lada duo James Thompson and Rob Huff benefited to take what would become seventh and eighth respectively, with Mehdi Bennani and Franz Engstler completing the top ten.