Gabriele Tarquini dominated the first of today's (Sunday's) ETCC races at Estoril, leading home team-mates Roberto Colciago and Nicola Larini as Alfa Romeo dominated
The Italian had some assistance in his victory however, as Colciago, who jumped into first from second on the grid, allowed his championship contending team-mate through for the lead at the start of the second lap. From then on Tarquini encountered little drama as he cruised to victory.
Colciago extended the same courtesy to Larini at the start of the third lap, only to find himself rammed from behind by Dirk Muller's BMW. The German, who was pushing hard to keep up with the Alfa's, was awarded a drive-through penalty for the clash, dropping him out of the points and all but ending his title hopes.
Despite losing several places in the incident, Colciago was soon back in contention, passing the lead BMW of Jorg Muller for fifth on lap four, before Alfa ringer James Thompson allowed him to reclaim third.
Thompson, laden with a 40kg ballast penalty for his guest appearance, adopted the role of Alfa's tail-gunner, and held Muller at bay for much of the race. The championship leader eventually snapped, nudging Thommo wide and knocking the BTCC start down to eighth.
Briton Andy Priaulx struggled early in the race, burdened with his success ballast from Oschersleben, but battled through to finish seventh, scoring two championship points. BTCC champion Yvan Muller struggled in his SEAT, eventually finishing 17th.
Gabriele Tarquini Alfa Romeo 156 Gta 22m02.361s Nicola Larini Alfa Romeo 156 Gta +0.477s Roberto Colciago Alfa Romeo 156 Gta +6.435s Jorg Muller BMW 320i +11.349s Duncan Huisman BMW 320i +11.852s Paolo Ruberti Alfa Romeo 156 Gta +12.875s Andy Priaulx BMW 320i +13.141s James Thompson Alfa Romeo 156 Gta +18.896s
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