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Muller leads Chevrolet podium sweep in WTCC Hungaroring opener

Yvan Muller, ChevroletYvan Muller led home an RML Chevrolet procession at the Hungaroring to extend his lead at the top of the World Touring Car Championship drivers' standings.

The Frenchman's factory Chevrolet team-mates Rob Huff and Alain Menu both survived incidents at a crowded first corner to complete the podium.

Fourth qualifier Gabriele Tarquini was an instigator of the drama. The Italian made another excellent getaway in the Lukoil SEAT Leon to challenge for the lead on the run down to Turn 1.

Briton Huff also judged the rolling start procedure adeptly, and was sandwiched between pole winner Muller on his inside and Tarquini at the apex of Turn 1. Sharp contact was made between Huff's #2 Chevrolet and Tarquini when the 2009 world champion attempted to turn into the corner.

Tarquini's inside wheels were launched into the air, and damage forced the 50-year-old to retire his Leon at the completion of the opening lap.

Immediately behind, Menu made contact with local star Norbert Michelisz's Zengo BMW, pushing Darryl O'Young's Special Tuning SEAT wide onto the asphalt run-off.

Hong Kong racer O'Young rejoined the road into the path of the unfortunate Franz Engstler, damaging both cars.

Menu exited Turn 1 in fifth place, having received a damaged wheel rim in the incident. The Swiss touring car veteran swiftly worked past Tiago Monteiro's Tuenti SEAT and the lone Proteam BMW of Mehdi Bennani in the next sequence of corners to recover his qualifying position of third.

Menu staged a brief challenge for second into Turn 1 and Turn 2 on lap six, but Huff covered his inside line to secure the position.

Bennani claimed his highest ever WTCC finish of fourth with a composed drive, but was 11 seconds adrift of Muller at the chequered flag.

Arena's James Nash was the key beneficiary of the opening lap chaos to move up five places to seventh. However, Nash's Focus S2000 TC struggled to match the race pace of his pursuers, aiding Michelisz's recovery.

The Hungarian clawed his way back to sixth entering the last lap, only to be muscled out of the position by Tom Coronel (ROAL BMW), sensationally up from 21st on the grid, at the fast Turn 10 right-hander.

Pos  Driver                Team/Car                   Time/Gap
 1.  Yvan Muller           Chevrolet                23m23.462s
 2.  Robert Huff           Chevrolet                  + 1.259s
 3.  Alain Menu            Chevrolet                  + 1.759s
 4.  Mehdi Bennani         Proteam BMW               + 10.983s
 5.  Tiago Monteiro        Tuenti SEAT               + 15.206s
 6.  Tom Coronel           ROAL BMW                  + 15.786s
 7.  Norbert Michelisz     Zengo BMW                 + 16.480s
 8.  Pepe Oriola           Tuenti SEAT               + 16.971s
 9.  Alex MacDowall        bamboo Chevrolet          + 18.106s
10.  Gabor Weber           Zengo BMW                 + 20.950s
11.  James Nash            Arena Ford                + 24.446s
12.  Pasquale di Sabatino  bamboo Chevrolet          + 26.296s
13.  Alberto Cerqui        ROAL BMW                  + 26.493s
14.  Aleksei Dudukalo      Lukoil SEAT               + 30.396s
15.  Tom Chilton           Arena Ford                + 31.116s
16.  Charles Ng            Engstler BMW              + 31.897s
17.  Stefano D'Aste        Wiechers BMW               + 3 laps


     James Thompson        Lada Granta Sport            7 laps
     Franz Engstler        Engstler BMW                 4 laps
     Darryl O'Young        Special Tuning SEAT          3 laps
     Gabriele Tarquini     Lukoil SEAT                  1 lap
     Tom Boardman          Special Tuning SEAT          0 laps

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