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Giovanardi Wins Imola Race 1

Fabrizio Giovanardi dominated the first World Touring Car Championship race at Imola, giving Alfa Romeo their third victory of the season

It was the Italian's maiden WTCC victory, finishing a comfortable three seconds ahead of Antonio Garcia in second.

Garcia had taken the lead at the start thanks to the rear-wheel drive of the BMW giving the Spaniard extra traction off the grid. However by the second lap Giovanardi was through and pulled away to victory.

Last year's Champion Andy Priaulx moved into second place in the Championship with third place, holding off Championship leader Dirk Muller for third.

At one stage it looked as if the race would have to be stopped the Ford Focus of Sascha Ploderl rolled his car at the final chicane. The Austrian was unhurt in the incident, and marshals managed to move the car without even a safety car.

Alfa Romeo had more to smile about with fifth for Augusto Farfus Jr and seventh for James Thompson. The Honda Accord of Roberto Colciago finished sixth.

Alex Zanardi will start on pole for race two, after finishing eighth.

CLASSIFIED:

Pos  Driver               Make               Time
 1.  Fabrizio Giovanardi  Alfa Romeo 156     22:12.202
 2.  Antonio Garcia       BMW 320i           +   3.146
 3.  Andy Priaulx         BMW 320i           +   8.131
 4.  Dirk Muller          BMW 320i           +   9.126
 5.  Augusto Farfus Jr.   Alfa Romeo 156     +  12.299
 6.  Roberto Colciago     Honda Accord Euro  +  15.175
 7.  James Thompson       Alfa Romeo 156     +  16.995
 8.  Alessandro Zanardi   BMW 320i           +  17.476
 9.  Rickard Rydell       SEAT Toledo Cupra  +  17.974
10.  Peter Terting        SEAT Toledo Cupra  +  18.341
11.  Jason Plato          SEAT Toledo Cupra  +  23.788
12.  Alessandro Balzan    SEAT Toledo Cupra  +  25.680
13.  Nicola Larini        Chevrolet Lacetti  +  34.619
14.  Alain Menu           Chevrolet Lacetti  +  35.495
15.  Gabriele Tarquini    Alfa Romeo 156     +  41.034
16.  Carl Rosenblad       BMW 320i           +  41.816
17.  Thomas Klenke        Ford Focus         +  43.746
18.  Tom Coronel          Seat Toledo Cupra  +  47.156
19.  Salvatore Tavano     Alfa Romeo 156     +  51.960
20.  Robert Huff          Chevrolet Lacetti  +  52.569
21.  Gianluca De Lorenzi  BMW 320i           +  55.599
22.  Stefano D'aste       BMW 320i           +  57.302
23.  Andrea Larini        Alfa Romeo 156     +1:07.317
24.  Stefano Valli        BMW 320i           +1:07.922
25.  Carlos Mastretta     Seat Toledo Cupra  +1:08.253
26.  Thomas Jager         Ford Focus         +2:13.774
27.  Jorg Muller          BMW 320i           +   1 Lap

NOT CLASSIFIED/RETIREMENTS:

     Driver               Make               On Lap
     Sascha Ploderl       Ford Focus ST170     5
     Giuseppe Ciro        BMW 320i             5
     Adriano De Micheli   Honda Accord Euro    2
     Marc Hennerici       BMW 320i             2
     Jordi Gene           SEAT Toledo Cupra    1

Fastest lap: Giovanardi, 2:00.208, on lap 4

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