Alain Menu scored his first victory of the World Touring Car season at Oschersleben, after team-mate Rob Huff was black-flagged while leading
The Chevrolet pair moved into first and second places when pole-sitter Augusto Farfus overshot the first corner following light contact from the Cruzes behind.
Farfus dropped to fourth but soon had third back from Tom Coronel and began his chase of the leaders.
He was still closing on Menu when Huff, who had led comfortably, was shown the black flag - apparently for contact with Farfus at the first turn.
Once Huff headed for the pits, Menu maintained just enough of a gap over Farfus to the flag.
Yvan Muller moved past Michel Nykjaer and Coronel to complete the podium. Tiago Monteiro and Andy Priaulx, who was on a comeback after he was delayed by contact with Gabriele Tarquini at the start, also found a way round Nykjaer to end in fifth and sixth places.
Norbert Michelisz made his way up to eighth from 15th on the grid and will start this afternoon's reverse-grid race from pole.
Kristian Poulsen came out on top of a race-long scrap with Sergio Hernandez for independents' class honours in 10th place.
SEAT's title hope Tarquini was eliminated on the first lap when his car was damaged in the first corner squeeze. He flew off the road into the gravel a couple of corners later and though he tried to crawl back to the pits for repairs, he was forced to park up and retire with broken suspension.
The SEATs of Jordi Gene and Fredy Barth also fell down the order after coming together on the first lap.
The BMW of Fabio Fabiani and the Chevrolet of Darryl O'Young both pitted for lengthy repairs during the race, but rejoined the running before the finish.
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Alain Menu Chevrolet 22m50.427s 2. Augusto Farfus BMW + 0.491s 3. Yvan Muller Chevrolet + 4.738s 4. Tom Coronel SEAT + 6.835s 5. Tiago Monteiro SEAT + 7.428s 6. Andy Priaulx BMW + 7.845s 7. Michel Nykjaer SEAT + 13.063s 8. Norbert Michelisz SEAT + 16.187s 9. Kristian Poulsen BMW + 16.449s 10. Sergio Hernandez BMW + 17.897s 11. Fredy Barth SEAT + 20.146s 12. Jordi Gene SEAT + 20.584s 13. Franz Engstler BMW + 32.077s 14. Mehdi Bennani BMW + 34.005s 15. Stefano D'Aste BMW + 34.164s 16. Andrey Romanov BMW + 36.208s 17. Yukinori Taniguchi Chevrolet + 45.550s Retirements/not classified: Rob Huff Chevrolet 10 laps Fabio Fabiani BMW 6 laps Darryl O'Young Chevrolet 5 laps Gabriele Tarquini SEAT 0 laps
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