Priaulx Finally Takes Victory

Reigning European Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx finally took his first victory of the season in the first World Touring Car Championship race at Oschersleben

Priaulx Finally Takes Victory

Priaulx has come close before this season, taking five podium positions since the Championship was renamed the WTCC at the start of the year.

Pole-sitter James Thompson had taken the lead early on, but Priaulx inherited the position from his countryman when the Briton had to serve a pitlane drive-through penalty. The sanction was awarded because his mechanics were judged to have been working on his car after the three-minute board was shown before the start of the race.

Despite carrying maximum success ballast, Priaulx was then able to pull away as the rest of the pack battled with each other, and he had a comfortable 3.238-second margin at the chequered flag. The result moved him up to second in the standings, six points behind Dirk Muller.

"The new chassis is really suiting my style," Priaulx said. "I didn't think I could win with maximum ballast. I thought it was going to be possible for me not to win a race this season."

SEAT's Rickard Rydell finished second resisting late race pressure from the works-BMW pairing of Jorg and Dirk Muller.

Jorg Muller put in a storming drive from 11th. The German had secured pole position for the race, but was relegated to 11th on the grid after receiving a driving penalty after the last round of Spa following a last lap incident with Augusto Farfus Jr.

"I must say that it is really a good feeling to have fair fights on the circuit for once," Muller said. "We knew we were going to have a good car here, so I was sure I could get into the front group."

Rydell's SEAT teammate Peter Terting finished fifth ahead of Stephane Ortelli, who impressed in his first touring car race for ten years in the Team ORECA-entered SEAT Toledo Cupra. Despite a few off track excursions, the former Le Mans 24 Hours winner finished sixth.

Alex Zanardi and Jordi Gene will line up on the front row of the grid for the second race later today, as they finished in eighth and seventh places respectively. Gene's result also ensured that the new SEAT Leon scored points in its first race.

CLASSIFIED:

Pos  Driver                 Car                  Time
 1.  Andy Priaulx           BMW 320i             22:05.714
 2.  Rickard Rydell         SEAT Toledo Cupra    +   3.238
 3.  Jorg Muller            BMW 320i             +   3.355
 4.  Dirk Muller            BMW 320i             +   3.640
 5.  Peter Terting          SEAT Toledo Cupra    +   4.808
 6.  Stephane Ortelli       SEAT Toledo Cupra    +   7.484
 7.  Jordi Gene             SEAT Leon            +   9.669
 8.  Alessandro Zanardi     BMW 320i             +  11.367
 9.  Augusto Farfus Jr.     Alfa Romeo 156       +  11.911
10.  Thomas Klenke          Ford Focus           +  12.265
11.  Alain Menu             Chevrolet Lacetti    +  12.813
12.  Michael Funke          Ford Focus           +  13.799
13.  Gabriele Tarquini      Alfa Romeo 156       +  15.434
14.  Antonio Garcia         BMW 320i             +  17.343
15.  Adriano De Micheli     Honda Accord Euro R  +  18.140
16.  Marc Hennerici         BMW 320i             +  20.625
17.  Nicola Larini          Chevrolet Lacetti    +  22.955
18.  Valle Makela           SEAT Toledo Cupra    +  23.354
19.  James Thompson         Alfa Romeo 156       +  24.434
20.  Stefano d'Aste         BMW 320i             +  25.346
21.  Tom Coronel            SEAT Toledo Cupra    +  27.842
22.  Carl Rosenblad         BMW 320i             +  29.236
23.  Robert Huff            Chevrolet Lacetti    +  29.878
24.  Giuseppe Ciro          BMW 320i             +  42.998
25.  Sascha Ploderl         Ford Focus ST170     +  58.353
26.  Fabrizio Giovanardi    Alfa Romeo 156       +  3 Laps

NOT CLASSIFIED/RETIREMENTS:
     
     Driver                 Car                On Lap
     Eric Helary            Peugeot 407          9
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