Huff puts WTCC title back on track with first victory of 2012 at the Slovakia Ring

Rob Huff put his World Touring Car title challenge back on track by scoring his first victory of the season in a convincing drive in race two at the Slovakia Ring

Huff puts WTCC title back on track with first victory of 2012 at the Slovakia Ring

The Briton bounced back from a disappointing opening race, in which he posted his first retirement in two years, to hold off RML Chevrolet team-mate Yvan Muller by two seconds at the chequered flag.

An intense battle for second between Muller and Slovakia Ring race one victor Gabriele Tarquini's SEAT Leon WTCC provided a fitting climax to the championship's first visit to the venue.

Lukoil Racing's Tarquini made sharp contact with Muller at Turn 6 on the last lap, forcing the championship leader to call on his ice-racing honed car control to recover the Cruze from a half-spin. Tarquini, provisionally third, is under investigation for the incident.

Reversed-grid pole-sitter Stefano D'Aste lost the lead to Huff when his Wiechers-Sport BMW ran wide at the exit of Turn 2 on the opening lap. The Italian suffered a worse fate at the following corner when he received a swipe from Huff's sister Chevrolet Cruze of Alain Menu, dropping to 15th at the completion of the opening lap.

Menu lost pace after the incident, and the Swiss double 2012 race winner eventually retired with a front-left puncture three laps later.

Independent victory was claimed by impressive teenager Pepe Oriola. The Tuenti Racing Spaniard finished fifth, half a second behind ROAL Motorsport's Tom Coronel.

Race one pole-man Norbert Michelisz made an excellent start from ninth on the grid to challenge for third into Turn 1. But the Hungarian slipped down the order after being hung out on the outside, and finished an eventual sixth in his Zengo Motorsport BMW.

Special Tuning's Tom Boardman enjoyed his strongest meeting of the season. Practice problems relegated the Briton to last on the grid in both races, but Boardman fought up the order to take ninth and eleventh places in his antiquated TDi-engined Leon.

Muller leads the drivers' standings on 148 points. Huff's victory promotes the Briton into second on 122 points, one ahead of Menu. Tom Coronel is the highest placed non-RML Chevrolet driver in fourth. The consistent Dutchman has 93 points, six clear of Tarquini.

Results - 10 laps:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Rob Huff Chevrolet 22m38.101s 2. Yvan Muller Chevrolet + 2.029s 3. Gabriele Tarquini Lukoil SEAT + 2.555s 4. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW + 8.859s 5. Pepe Oriola Tuenti SEAT + 9.352s 6. Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW + 9.553s 7. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW + 11.675s 8. Alberto Cerqui ROAL BMW + 12.773s 9. Darryl O'Young Special Tuning SEAT + 14.161s 10. Tom Chilton Arena Ford + 20.847s 11. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT + 30.073s 12. Pasquale di Sabatino bamboo Chevrolet + 30.617s 13. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW + 30.964s 14. Stefano D'Aste Wiechers BMW + 32.757s 15. Aleksei Dudukalo Lukoil SEAT + 41.317s Retirements: Tiago Monteiro Tuenti SEAT 6 laps Alain Menu Chevrolet 3 laps Alex MacDowall bamboo Chevrolet 2 laps Gabor Weber Zengo BMW 1 lap
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Series WTCC
Author Peter Mills
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