Huff wins thrilling first Monza race
|By Mark Glendenning||Sunday, May 15th 2011, 11:34 GMT|
Rob Huff converted his pole position into a victory in the opening race of this weekend's World Touring Car Championship round at Monza, although the Chevrolet squad's hopes of a 1-2-3 were ruined when Alain Menu was tagged into the wall by Yvan Muller on the final lap.
Menu had taken advantage of a gap left by Muller at the Parabolica on the opening lap to claim second and spent much of the race in a robust battle with Huff for the lead. The pair made contact at least twice, leaving Huff shedding rear bodywork and enduring a narrow escape when he was knocked out of shape at the second chicane.
Over the last couple of laps Menu found himself back under pressure from Muller, who was looking for a way around his team-mate when he caught the right-rear of Menu's car and sent it straight into the inside wall at the second chicane, whereupon it spun back across the track and came close to collecting Muller's car as well.
Muller hung on for second, however the incident is one of three currently under investigation by stewards.
Tiago Monteiro (SUNRED SEAT) secured the final place on the podium by getting a good run on the independent BMW of Norbert Michelisz at the Parabolica on the final lap and then out-dragging the Hungarian on the run to the line. The final margin between the pair was just 0.03s, with ROAL BMW's Tom Coronel only 0.2s further in arrears.
Results - 9 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Rob Huff Chevrolet 18m07.398s 2. Yvan Muller Chevrolet + 1.291s 3. Tiago Monteiro SUNRED SEAT + 4.239s 4. Norbert Michelisz Zengo-Dension BMW + 4.269s 5. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW + 4.499s 6. Kristian Poulsen Engstler BMW + 5.509s 7. Darryl O'Young Bamboo Chevrolet + 10.506s 8. Javier Villa Proteam BMW + 10.798s 9. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW + 11.492s 10. Fredy Barth SUNRED SEAT + 15.366s 11. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW + 18.439s 12. Michel Nykjaer SUNRED SEAT + 18.873s 13. Yukinori Taniguchi Bamboo Chevrolet + 19.286s 14. Pepe Oriola SUNRED SEAT + 20.070s 15. Robert Dahlgren Polestar Volvo + 30.709s 16. Ibrahim Okyay Otomotiv BMW + 58.046s 17. Urs Sonderegger Wiechers BMW + 59.018s 18. Fabio Fabiani Proteam BMW + 1m25.422s 19. Alain Menu Chevrolet + 1 lap 20. Marchy Lee KK BMW + 1 lap Retirements: Gabriele Tarquini SUNRED SEAT 5 laps Aleksei Dudukalo SUNRED SEAT 2 laps