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WTCC NEWS 

Suzuka WTCC: Alain Menu leads a routine Chevrolet sweep

Alain Menu leads Suzuka WTCCAlain Menu converted pole position to his fourth World Touring Car Championship win of the season in round 19 on the truncated Suzuka East circuit.

The Swiss racer's score of 30 points towards his recovery in the drivers' standings was offset by team-mate and championship leader Yvan Muller finishing second ahead of the third RML Chevrolet of Rob Huff.

There was light contact in the fight for second at Turn 1 when Huff attempted to pass Muller. Thereafter the Chevrolets settled down to complete another relatively routine podium lock-out, the trio separated by 1.4 seconds at the finish.

Gabriele Tarquini overtook Alex MacDowall for fourth away from the line, and the 2009 WTCC champion struck a finely judged balance between pacing himself and conserving tyres to hold the Bamboo Engineering driver at bay until the chequered flag.

MacDowall was left with the satisfaction of Independent Trophy honours, his first since the Salzburgring in May. The Briton was comfortably ahead of Tarquini's Lukoil SEAT team-mate Aleksei Dudukalo.

Former Russian ice racing ace Dudukalo survived being knocked sideways at Turn 3 by Mehdi Bennani four laps from home. Like several other BMW runners, Bennani displayed strong pace in the closing laps, but his late move would result in retirement.

Honda's decision to enter the last three rounds of 2012 with its new Civic was rewarded with a 10th-place finish for Tiago Monteiro. The Portuguese driver stayed clear of trouble and appeared happy to sit towards the tail of a queue of cars behind Dudukalo.

ROAL Motorsport's Alberto Cerqui was the sole retirement. After an audacious move around the outside of James Nash at Turn 1 on lap 14, the former Italian Superstars champion lost control at the same corner on the next lap.

Results - 25 laps:

Pos  Driver             Team/Car               Time/Gap
 1.  Alain Menu         Chevrolet            23m44.880s
 2.  Yvan Muller        Chevrolet              + 0.812s
 3.  Rob Huff           Chevrolet              + 1.419s
 4.  Gabriele Tarquini  Lukoil SEAT           + 13.828s
 5.  Alex MacDowall     Bamboo Chevrolet      + 14.273s
 6.  Aleksei Dudukalo   Lukoil SEAT           + 19.644s
 7.  Tom Coronel        ROAL BMW              + 19.870s
 8.  Pepe Oriola        Tuenti SEAT           + 20.415s
 9.  Stefano D'Aste     Wiechers BMW          + 20.677s
10.  Tiago Monteiro     Honda                 + 21.284s
11.  Franz Engstler     Engstler BMW          + 21.490s
12.  Darryl O'Young     Bamboo Chevrolet      + 23.724s
13.  Tom Boardman       Special Tuning SEAT   + 32.605s
14.  Norbert Michelisz  Zengo BMW             + 32.767s
15.  James Nash         Arena Ford            + 33.894s
16.  Fernando Monje     Tuenti SEAT           + 34.151s
17.  Tom Chilton        Arena Ford            + 34.615s
18.  Hiroki Yoshimoto   Tuenti SEAT           + 40.965s
19.  Rene Munnich       Special Tuning SEAT   + 48.733s
20.  Masaki Kano        Engstler BMW            + 1 lap
21.  Mehdi Bennani      Proteam BMW             + 1 lap
22.  Charles Ng         Engstler BMW           + 3 laps

Retirements:

     Alberto Cerqui     ROAL BMW                14 laps
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