Farfus win keeps title hopes alive
|By Steven English||Sunday, November 1st 2009, 07:50 GMT|
Augusto Farfus kept his slim World Touring Car title chances alive with his fifth win of the season in Sunday's second wet race at Okayama.
Farfus made a sound getaway from pole and had BMW team-mate Andy Priaulx riding shotgun for him - from eighth on the grid - by the exit of the first corner, thanks to carnage off the line.
Jorg Muller's fast starting BMW shot up to the front off the line and he tried to move inside Tiago Monteiro's SEAT for second place on the main straight. Monteiro squeezed Muller onto the wet grass, where the German lost control of his car and speared into the side of the SEAT. Muller was later given a drive-through penalty for his part in the incident.
Both cars spun off at the first corner, taking the SEATs of Jordi Gene and championship leader Gabriele Tarquini with them. Countless cars then flew off the road in all directions at the treacherous Turn 2, where aqua-planing was a problem all day.
That left a jumbled order at the end of the first lap, with Priaulx second, Tarquini's main title rival Yvan Muller surviving in third and Alain Menu - who had only missed out on the race two pole in the final corners of race one - up to fourth from eighth. Felix Porteiro was fifth, ahead of Jaap van Lagen, Stefano D'Aste, James Thompson, Tom Boardman, Nicola Larini and Kristian Poulsen.
The best of the charges back to the front came from Rickard Rydell, who peaked at seventh (from 13th) and Rob Huff, who made it up to sixth from 17th.
Farfus and Priaulx ran a controlled race up front - the only drama coming when Poulsen spun his car in front of the lead pack on the main straight.
Muller was grateful just to take a handful of points back from Tarquini in third, with Menu unable to make any impression on him from behind.
Jordi Gene had escaped the first corner in fifth, but carried damage with his rear bumper falling off during the race. The Spaniard once again played a team role and gave away four places - two to Chevrolets – in the last two laps to allow Tarquini through.
Rydell also moved over to give Tarquini two points for seventh, behind the Cruzes of Larini and Huff.
D'Aste claimed the independent class win in 10th after Tom Coronel was delayed by the spate of off-road excursions at Turn 2 on the first lap, and Porteiro went backwards from his early fifth to 11th. Coronel finished 13th, behind the BMW of Sergio Hernandez.
Lada had looked to be in for a good points haul with van Lagen sixth and Thompson eighth, but both pulled into the pits to retire within a lap of each other.
The charity of his team-mates means Tarquini is two points ahead of Muller heading to the season finale in Macau, with Farfus a further 11 back.
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Augusto Farfus BMW 26m55.015s 2. Andy Priaulx BMW 0.761s 3. Yvan Muller SEAT 3.298s 4. Alain Menu Chevrolet 5.878s 5. Nicola Larini Chevrolet 13.725s 6. Rob Huff Chevrolet 17.538s 7. Gabriele Tarquini SEAT 24.104s 8. Rickard Rydell SEAT 26.212s 9. Jordi Gene SEAT 27.272s 10. Stefano D'Aste BMW 35.619s 11. Felix Porteiro BMW 36.900s 12. Sergio Hernandez BMW 37.866s 13. Tom Coronel SEAT 41.110s 14. Joao Paulo de Oliveira SEAT 49.317s 15. Tom Boardman SEAT 58.394s 16. Franz Engstler BMW 1m03.206s 17. Jorg Muller BMW 1m07.306s 18. Alex Zanardi BMW 1m10.579s 19. Seiji Ara BMW 1m18.816s 20. Masaki Kano BMW 1m40.690s Retirements Jaap van Lagen Lada 9 laps James Thompson Lada 8 laps Henry Ho BMW 6 laps Kristian Poulsen BMW 6 laps Norbertu Taniguchi BMW 3 laps Tiago Monteiro SEAT 0 laps