YVAN MULLER TOURING CAR WORLDCHAMPION
FORMULA 3 WIN FOR KEISUKE KUNIMOTO
Yvan Muller from the Elsace in France driving a SEAT Toledo Diesel is the 2008 Touring Car World Champion to be the successor of BMW`s Andy Priaulx, who had won all the titles before during the last years since the introduction of the FIA`s WTCC. Muller, 39 years of age and successful in many championships including the BTCC and the Trophè Andros, finished third in the first race of the 2008 Macau Grand Prix being sufficient enough to secure the title win ahead of his only remaining rival Gabriele Tarquini from Italy; the former Italian Formula One driver (AGS; Tyrrell) also is competing in a SEAT Leon. The first race on the 6.2 kilometres long Guia circuit through the narrow streets of former Portuguese colony of Macau, that had been given back to China back in 1999 as well as Hongkong had been done the same time, was won by Swiss Alain Menu in the last works entry of the Chevrolet Lacetti. Menu had started from pole position and scored a fine flag to flag victory despite being under pressure from Andy Priaulx in a disciplined event without the typical Macau accidents.
James Thomson, finishing 8th position in race 1 with his privately entered N Technology Honda Accord, dominated the second race, while Nicola Larini, also a former Grand Prix driver (Osella, Ferrari, Sauber), had made a clear jump start to be sentenced a drive through penalty for. The chaos began in the last but one of the 9 lap race in the old part of the town. Thomson threw his triumph away when crashing into a concrete wall without being another competitor involved. The Briton bumped into the safety barriers several times after the first collision when bringing the seriously damaged Honda back to the start and finish line. Farfus (BMW) and Tarquini had collided, both the drivers had to retire. Race 1 winner Menu also stranded in a wall; only 10 cars received the chequered flag. So Rob Huff scored Chevrolet`s second victory the same day ahead of Muller and Priaulx, while BMW`s Alessandro Zanardi, started from the pit lane on last place, finished on an excellent 5th position. Best private driver in the Independent Trophy was Franz Engstler (BMW) from Bavaria in Germany.
Each years most important Formula 3 race was influenced by a lot of accidents being characteristic for street circuits with two Safety Car periods. Japanese Keisuke Kunimoto (Dallara Tom`s Toyota) was the fastest man to stay out of all the troubles to win ahead of Edoardo Mortara (Italy, Dallara Volkswagen) and Briton Brendon Hartley in a Dallara Mercedes.
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