Gabriele Tarquini put an end to Chevrolet's unbeaten run of victories in the 2012 World Touring Car Championship by leading Lukoil Racing team-mate Aleksei Dudukalo in a SEAT Leon WTCC one-two in the series' first race at the Slovakia Ring.
The result is Tarquini's first win since April last year, when he took the top step of the podium at Zolder.
Polesitter Norbert Michelisz led the early laps before being bumped wide by Tarquini at the downhill braking for Turn 2 on lap three. Once ahead, Tarquini completed an unflustered drive to take a 2.4-second margin of victory.
Michelisz had appeared set for a fightback after dropping to third in the incident, but the Zengo Motorsport driver's challenge ended when he was tapped into a spin by championship leader Yvan Muller on the following tour.
Muller was slapped with a drive-through penalty for causing avoidable contact and finished outside the top 10. Team-mate Alain Menu salvaged some honour for the factory Chevrolets by taking the final place on the podium. In a disappointing Slovakian weekend for the dominant RML team, Rob Huff posted his first retirement in two years in the third factory Cruze.
Local star Michelisz kept the packed crowds entertained by making a recovery to sixth, setting fastest lap on the way. Michelisz's progress was aided by Tuenti Racing's Pepe Oriola losing second place through a late race front-left puncture. Oriola's misfortune was a reprieve for Dudukalo, who had given the position away by drifting wide into the gravel at the final corner midway through the race.
Reigning Italian Superstars champion Alberto Cerqui scored his best WTCC to date in fourth. The ROAL Motorsport BMW racer finished ahead of the similar Wiechers-Sport machine of Stefano D'Aste.
From 10th on the grid, D'Aste negotiated an incident-packed first corner to run fourth at the completion of the opening lap. Arena's Tom Chilton was a Turn 1 retirement, when he speared into the gravel. The sister Ford of James Nash was also in the wars and will not start race two. Nash retired in an incident that also involved fourth qualifier Tiago Monteiro's Tuenti SEAT Leon and Huff.
Results - 15 laps:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Gabriele Tarquini Lukoil SEAT 22m42.275s
2. Aleksei Dudukalo Lukoil SEAT + 2.484s
3. Alain Menu Chevrolet + 4.194s
4. Alberto Cerqui ROAL BMW + 6.992s
5. Stefano D'Aste Wiechers BMW + 7.978s
6. Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW + 9.943s
7. Darryl O'Young Special Tuning SEAT + 11.164s
8. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW + 11.395s
9. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT + 20.643s
10. Gabor Weber Zengo BMW + 20.961s
11. Yvan Muller Chevrolet + 21.174s
12. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW + 21.787s
13. Alex MacDowall bamboo Chevrolet + 22.676s
14. Pasquale di Sabatino bamboo Chevrolet + 31.153s
15. Charles Ng Engstler BMW + 1m42.494s
Pepe Oriola Tuenti SEAT 7 laps
Rob Huff Chevrolet 7 laps
Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 5 laps
Tiago Monteiro Tuenti SEAT 1 lap
James Nash Arena Ford 0 laps
Tom Chilton Arena Ford 0 laps