Rob Huff led from start to finish to spearhead a Chevrolet 1-2-3 in the opening World Touring Car Championship race at Zolder today
Huff capitalised on his pole position to cross the line ahead of team-mate Alain Menu, who had started alongside him on the front row, while reigning world champion Yvan Muller produced a neat overtaking move at the hairpin to deny Gabriele Tarquini a place on the podium a few laps before the end.
The race was punctuated by a four-lap stint behind the safety car, which was triggered by two almost simultaneous accidents on lap three. The first was caused by Bamboo-Engineering's Yukinori Taniguchi being knocked out of kilter at Turn 2 and then being collected by the Proteam BMW of Mehdi Bennani while he tried to gather himself back together. The Japanese driver was able to continue, but the damage to Bennani's car brought the Moroccan's race to an end.
Moments later, Tom Coronel lost control while trying to avoid the spinning SEAT of Fredy Barth at the exit of Turn 4 and was clouted by Franz Engstler, ripping the front-right wheel off Coronel's ROAL BMW. All three drivers were forced to retire.
Tiago Monteiro had a relatively straightforward run to fifth behind Tarquini, while Kristian Poulsen managed to pass Norbert Michelisz at the hairpin for sixth; the Hungarian struggling badly after being hit from behind by Coronel at the start.
Also worthy of note was former GP2 racer Javier Villa, who recovered to ninth after starting from the back of the grid due to a turbo problem in qualifying.
Results - 15 laps:Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Rob Huff Chevrolet 29m18.807s 2. Alain Menu Chevrolet + 1.244s 3. Yvan Muller Chevrolet + 1.740s 4. Gabriele Tarquini SUNRED SEAT + 3.790s 5. Tiago Monteiro SUNRED SEAT + 5.102s 6. Kristian Poulsen Engstler BMW + 8.987s 7. Norbert Michelisz Zengo-Dension BMW + 10.878s 8. Michel Nykjaer SUNRED SEAT + 12.032s 9. Javier Villa Proteam BMW + 12.845s 10. Darryl O'Young Bamboo Chevrolet + 12.901s 11. Pepe Oriola SUNRED SEAT + 14.656s 12. Aleksei Dudukalo SUNRED SEAT + 17.538s 13. Robert Dahlgren Polestar Volvo + 18.687s 14. Yukinori Taniguchi Bamboo Chevrolet + 25.864s 15. Urs Sonderegger Wiechers BMW + 42.236s 16. Fabio Fabiani Proteam BMW + 1m07.741s Retirements: Fredy Barth SUNRED SEAT 2 laps Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 2 laps Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 2 laps Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 2 laps Marchy Lee KK BMW 2 laps
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