Muller counts cost of Shanghai carnage
Yvan Muller was left to count the cost of two wild WTCC races at Shanghai which massively hurt his title ambitions and dropped him to a season-low in the Rankings.
The Frenchman had entered the series’ penultimate weekend as joint-leader in the championship, but hit trouble in both races.
It started when he attempted to pass poleman and Chevrolet team-mate Alain Menu at the start of race one.
He was forced to cede ground and, after dropping back, was then tagged by the following pack at Turn 2, leading to a broken right wheel and an early retirement.
He then clashed again with Menu in the second contest, again while fighting for potential victory.
Muller managed to finish this time, coming home second.
Stewards however deemed he was guilty of causing an avoidable accident and penalised him 30s, dropping him to 12th.
That not only dropped him way back in the championship hunt, but caused him to slide to a season-low in the Rankings.
Having slipped out of the top 50 for the first time in 13 months in October, he dropped a further three places to 56th.
He remains the highest-ranked WTCC driver, ahead of new points leader Rob Huff (68) and Alain Menu (81).
While Huff’s return of second and first didn’t improve his position, the same results – in opposite order – led to big gains for Menu.
The Swizz driver bolted six places up the order and now sits 81st, the highest he has been in almost two months.
Behind the runaway Chevrolet trio, Gabriele Tarquini (119) and Tom Coronel (133) both made progress.
The real winner however was BMW privateer Stefano d’Aste.
Third in the opening contest, the Italian was then promoted into fourth in the second following Muller’s penalty.
That helped him vault a massive 42 spots to a new all-time high of 233rd, the first time he has ever been inside the top 250.