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WTCC NEWS 

Stefano D'Aste takes first World Touring Car win amid puncture mayhem at the Salzburgring

Salzburgring WTCC podiumWiechers-Sport BMW racer Stefano D'Aste scored his maiden outright World Touring Car victory at the Salzburgring.

The 38-year-old, who has competed in the series since it was revived in 2005, negotiated a dramatic race in which many of the leading front wheel-drive runners were sidelined with front-left punctures.

All five Chevrolets, the three-car factory RML team and the two bamboo-engineering Cruzes, suffered front-left failures induced by the long, high-speed, Turn 9.

Alain Menu's works Chevrolet was sent into a heavy impact with the Turn 9 Armco on lap eight, and the Swiss racer's abandoned car was subsequently hit by British Touring Car graduate Alex MacDowall's similar bamboo machine.

Following the crash, the surviving factory Chevrolets of Yvan Muller and Rob Huff reduced their pace by a second a lap to start the final tour in first and second positions.

Neither Tom Coronel's third place ROAL Motorsport BMW, nor D'Aste tucked up in his slipstream, appeared destined to challenge the Chevrolet drivers.

But victory slipped from Muller's grasp when his tyre failed at Turn 10. The lead was handed to race one winner Huff, but the Englishman's own left-front failed on the approach to the final chicane.

Coronel chose to negotiate the stricken Cruze on the inside of the final corner but was blocked by Huff onto the pit straight. D'Aste stole past both drivers on the outside to take a memorable win, as Huff limped home ahead of Coronel by 0.117 seconds.

Spanish teenager Pepe Oriola finished a distant fourth, ahead of BMW Independent runners Norbert Michelisz (Zengo Motorsport) and Mehdi Bennani (Proteam).

Oriola's Tuenti Racing team-mate Tiago Monteiro retired following a trip through the Turn 9 gravel, caused by a flat front-left. Punctures also delayed the Lukoil Racing SEATs of Gabriele Tarquini and polesitter Aleksei Dudukalo.

Huff's Salzburgring pole position, race win and second position moves him to within eight points of Muller's 206 point championship lead. Menu remains third on 175, while Coronel's podium lifts the Dutchman ahead of Tarquini into fourth on 116.

Results - 12 laps:

Pos  Driver                Team/Car            Time/Gap
 1.  Stefano D'Aste        Wiechers BMW      17m58.529s
 2.  Rob Huff              Chevrolet           + 0.377s
 3.  Tom Coronel           ROAL BMW            + 0.494s
 4.  Pepe Oriola           Tuenti SEAT         + 4.103s
 5.  Norbert Michelisz     Zengo BMW           + 4.929s
 6.  Mehdi Bennani         Proteam BMW         + 5.432s
 7.  Alberto Cerqui        ROAL BMW            + 5.786s
 8.  Yvan Muller           Chevrolet           + 6.464s
 9.  Franz Engstler        Engstler BMW        + 6.474s
10.  James Nash            Arena Ford          + 9.056s
11.  Tom Chilton           Arena Ford         + 12.980s
12.  Gabor Weber           Zengo BMW          + 15.659s
13.  Charles Ng            Engstler BMW       + 37.399s
14.  Aleksei Dudukalo      Lukoil SEAT          + 1 lap
15.  Pasquale di Sabatino  bamboo Chevrolet     + 1 lap
16.  Gabriele Tarquini     Lukoil SEAT          + 1 lap

Retirements:

     Alain Menu            Chevrolet             7 laps
     Alex MacDowall        bamboo Chevrolet      7 laps
     Tiago Monteiro        Tuenti SEAT           7 laps
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