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Slovakia WTCC: Tarquini leads podium lockout for Honda

Tarquini leads Honda podium lockoutGabriele Tarquini delivered the first victory for Honda's new World Touring Car project in Slovakia.

Team-mate Tiago Monteiro followed him home in second, while Norbert Michelisz ensured a podium lockout for the Japanese marque as he held off Yvan Muller to finish third.

Tarquini converted pole position into an early lead and gradually eased away from the field, his cause helped by the fact Monteiro, Michelisz and Muller spent much of the race within one second of each other.

At the halfway mark Muller fired off the quickest first sector of the race, but a charge never materialised and he faded over the final laps.

Freed of Muller's attentions Michelisz closed in on Monteiro but never truly mounted a challenge to pass, the pair finishing just 0.4s apart over the line.

Tom Coronel finished best of the rest in fifth after passing James Nash's Bamboo Chevrolet two laps from the finish when the Briton ran deep into Turn 8.

The pair had been covered by less than half a second for much of the race until Coronel's late pass.

Nash, who ended up sixth, had jumped team-mate Alex MacDowall away from the start, and also gained ground when Tom Chilton and Freddy Barth made contact early on.

That dropped Chilton down to seventh, but he was to suffer worse as he lost went off into the Turn 6 gravel in a race-ending incident on only the second lap.

Seventh went to Michel Nykjaer's NIKA Chevrolet, with MacDowall a close eighth and Pepe Oriola a relatively lonely ninth.

Barth went on to claim 11th, beating fellow BMW driver Stefano D'Aste to the honour by just five thousandths of a second.

The pair had been part of a four-way scrap for the final points-paying positions, with Proteam BMW's Mehdi Bennani and Lada's James Thompson also involved.

Bennani prevailed by claiming 10th, while Thompson - who had swapped positions with Barth twice on the penultimate lap - 13th.

Results - 10 laps:

Pos Driver                Team/Car            Time/Gap
 1. Gabriele Tarquini     Honda             22m18.761s
 2. Tiago Monteiro        Honda               + 1.202s
 3. Norbert Michelisz     Zengo Honda         + 1.616s
 4. Yvan Muller           RML Chevrolet       + 5.091s
 5. Tom Coronel           ROAL BMW            + 5.975s
 6. James Nash            Bamboo Chevrolet    + 7.748s
 7. Michel Nykjaer        Nika Chevrolet      + 9.760s
 8. Alex MacDowall        Bamboo Chevrolet    + 10.078s
 9. Pepe Oriola           Tuenti SEAT         + 14.055s
10. Mehdi Bennani         Proteam BMW         + 19.374s
11. Fredy Barth           Wiechers BMW        + 21.474s
12. Stefano D'Aste        PB BMW              + 21.479s
13. James Thompson        Lada                + 21.837s
14. Darryl O'Young        ROAL BMW            + 24.891s
15. Fernando Monje        Campos SEAT         + 25.937s
16. Marc Basseng          Munnich SEAT        + 27.197s
17. Robert Huff           Munnich SEAT        + 27.507s
18. Charles Ng            Engstler BMW        + 36.500s
19. Franz Engstler        Engstler BMW        + 41.278s
20. M.Kozlovskiy          Lada                + 1 lap
21. Rene Munnich          Munnich SEAT        + 2 laps


    Tom Boardman         Special Tuning SEAT    6 laps
    Tom Chilton          RML Chevrolet          1 lap
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