Schnitzer Motorsport's Augusto Farfus claimed his and BMW's first World Touring Car Championship victory of the season with a dominant performance on the streets of Pau
Starting from pole position after pipping SEAT's Yvan Muller in the dying moments of Saturday's qualifying session, Farfus held off the Frenchman's turbo diesel Leon at the start.
Despite the race being red-flagged on the first lap, after Alex Zanardi caused a track blockage by tagging Chevrolet's Alain Menu into a spin, Farfus didn't have to face a full restart as the race resumed under the safety car, based on positions at the first sector of the red-flagged lap.
When the race got underway again, Farfus qucikly established a cushion over Muller to win by more than 17 seconds in what was a processional race.
"I pushed hard in the first third of the race to build a gap," said Farfus, who was carrying just 3kg of ballast. "I think Yvan was saving the tyres because they didn't know what their tyre wear was like but we knew from last year."
Muller was followed by SEAT stablemate Jordi Gene, with Chevrolet's Rob Huff continuing his strong run of form by taking fourth from the heavily-ballasted Gabriele Tarquini on the last lap..
Rickard Rydell claimed sixth place in the fourth SEAT turbodiesel, one place ahead of Chevy's Nicola Larini.
Three-time champion Andy Priaulx will start this afternoon's second race from pole position after claiming the final point for eighth, one place ahead of the second Schnitzer car of Jorg Muller.
A surprise victory in the Independents' Trophy went to WTCC debutant Laurent Cazenave. The Wiechers-Sport BMW 320si driver, a Pau resident, took the lead at the first start and held off Proteam Motorsport duo Sergio Hernandez and Stefano d'Aste throughout the race.
Pos Driver Car Time 1. Augusto Farfus BMW 52:20.842 2. Yvan Muller SEAT +17.851 3. Jordi Gene SEAT +18.111 4. Robert Huff Chevrolet +19.139 5. Gabriele Tarquini SEAT +20.608 6. Rickard Rydell SEAT +21.265 7. Nicola Larini Chevrolet +22.110 8. Andy Priaulx BMW +22.478 9. Jorg Muller BMW +23.126 10. Alain Menu Chevrolet +23.543 11. James Thompson Honda +24.144 12. Alex Zanardi BMW +25.012 13. Tiago Monteiro SEAT +25.417 14. Tom Coronel SEAT +26.573 15. Felix Porteiro BMW +36.631 16. Laurent Cazenave BMW +37.412 17. Sergio Hernandez BMW +37.783 18. Stefano d'Aste BMW +38.254 19. Franz Engstler BMW +38.834 20. Andrey Romanov BMW +1:03.206 21. Jaap van Lagen Lada +1:03.847 Retirements: Driver Car Laps Ibrahim Okyay BMW 13 laps Oscar Nogues SEAT 0 laps Pierre-Yves Corthals SEAT 0 laps Fastest lap, Farfus 1:22.682 on lap 6
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