Jorg Muller took victory for BMW in the second World Touring Car Championship race at Valencia in Spain on Sunday, but all eyes were on a thrilling battle for the runners-up spot between the main championship contenders
Alfa Romeo's Fabrizio Giovanardi and the BMW pair of Andy Priaulx and Dirk Muller were locked in an epic battle for second place that left the Spanish crowd on the edge of their seats.
As Jorg Muller roared away at the front for an untroubled victory, Giovanardi had held second in the early stages but knew he would be in for a tough time with his Alfa Romeo not as well suited to the Spanish track as the BMW.
He soon had Dirk Muller all over the back of the car and on lap eight the pair made light contact, which cost Muller a bit of time and allowed Priaulx to take over the battle for second.
Priaulx then lost that second place a lap later when he tried to take a wide-line to slingshot past Giovanardi and Muller seized the opportunity to dive down the inside himself.
A lap later and the BMW pair were rubbing doors again and they nearly went off the track. They both avoided disaster, though, although Muller briefly lost third place to Antonio Garcia.
The clash left Priaulx and his team furious afterwards - and his team boss was seen confronting Muller's own team chief after the race.
Priaulx said: "I had a clean fight with Fabrizio, but unfortunately we had a tough time with Dirk.
"It was a bit too tough for my liking. We need to concentrate on BMW winning the championship and we could have risked two BMWs going off today - which isn't on."
The battle between the BMW duo gave Giovanardi a tiny bit of breathing space and, despite a final push from the pursuing BMWs, he was able to hold onto second place at the chequered flag.
The result leaves the championship finely poised, with Dirk Muller just one point ahead of Priaulx and Giovanardi only a further four points behind.
CLASSIFIED: Pos Driver Car Time 1. Jorg Muller BMW 320i 23:00.510 2. Fabrizio Giovanardi Alfa Romeo 156 + 7.760 3. Andy Priaulx BMW 320i + 8.245 4. Dirk Muller BMW 320i + 8.480 5. Alessandro Zanardi BMW 320i + 9.166 6. Antonio Garcia BMW 320i + 9.364 7. Augusto Farfus Jr. Alfa Romeo 156 + 9.806 8. Marc Carol SEAT Toledo Cupra + 11.123 9. Tomas Engstrom Honda Accord Euro R + 14.798 10. Giuseppe Ciro BMW 320i + 15.023 11. Rickard Rydell SEAT Leon + 15.653 12. Peter Terting SEAT Leon + 17.125 13. Tom Coronel SEAT Toledo Cupra + 17.227 14. Jordi Gene SEAT Leon + 18.059 15. James Thompson Alfa Romeo 156 + 21.765 16. Carl Rosenblad BMW 320i + 24.145 17. Stefano d'Aste BMW 320i + 26.045 18. Michael Funke Ford Focus + 30.084 19. Adriano de Micheli Honda Accord Euro R + 43.253 20. Marc Hennerici BMW 320i + 44.647 21. Polo Villaamil SEAT Toledo Cupra +1:07.495 22. Stephane Ortelli SEAT Toledo Cupra + 1 Lap 23. Gabriele Tarquini Alfa Romeo 156 + 4 Laps NOT CLASSIFIED/RETIREMENTS: Driver Car On Lap Nicola Larini Chevrolet Lacetti 2 Fastest Lap: Jorg Muller, 1:43.948 on lap 4
Volvo gave the World Touring Car Championship a major boost when it announced it would enter the series, but its ambitions don't stop there. JACK COZENS examines its programme, the S60 and what its arrival means for the WTCC
The 2012 World Touring Car champion says he never had the money to race cars. Yet 2015 is his 11th season in the WTCC. He talks STUART CODLING through his journey from motorsport fan to paid professional - for little more than £100,000