Rob Huff battles to World Touring Car race two victory at Curitiba

Rob Huff maintained his assault on the World Touring Car Championship drivers' title by scoring a third victory of the season in the second, reversed-grid, race at Curitiba

Rob Huff battles to World Touring Car race two victory at Curitiba

The Briton leaves Brazil a point closer to championship leader Yvan Muller than entering the meeting, after the reigning world champion was unable to find a way past a stubborn Gabriele Tarquini in a fight for the final place on the podium.

Alain Menu repeated his race one result of second, but was unable to get on terms with his factory Chevrolet team-mate Huff, finishing a second in arrears at the chequered flag.

"That race was really tough," said Huff, who was the highest-starting of the three factory Chevrolets from eighth on the grid.

"When I passed people I was obviously helping to make holes for Alain, so I had to be very careful which side I overtook other cars in case I created an opportunity for Alain to pass me."

Away from the lights, Huff immediately jumped the slow starting Michel Nykjaer and exited Turn 1 in fifth place. Dane Nykjaer, making his return to the WTCC in Brazil, lamented being out of practice making standing starts as the Swedish series in which he competes this year only features rolling getaways.

The lead was contested in the early laps by reversed-grid polesitter Norbert Michelisz's Zengo Motorsport BMW and an attacking Tarquini (Lukoil SEAT).

Tom Coronel's ROAL BMW briefly held second place on the opening lap, but the Dutchman lost considerable ground running off the road at Turn 1 on lap three.

After several close calls, Tarquini claimed the lead as the race restarted from a safety-car period on lap seven, passing Michelisz around the outside of the first corner.

The three factory Chevrolets swiftly followed suit by demoting Michelisz further, but the Hungaroring reversed-grid winner hung on to finish fifth and claim honours in the Yokohama Drivers' Trophy.

Tarquini doggedly maintained the lead until three laps from home, when Huff produced a sublime outbraking move around the outside of Turn 1.

"I was so sad about Rob's fantastic manoeuvre that I immediately lost second to Alain," admitted Tarquini. "That made me wake up and gave me determination to hold off Yvan."

Mehdi Bennani and the recovering Nykjaer were involved in a lengthy and fierce scrap for seventh, which later became for sixth and was only settled on the last lap in favour of the Bamboo racer.

Nykjaer had earlier punted Bennani off the road at Turn 1, only to relinquish the position again after the pair had run door handle-to door handle through the next sequence of three corners.

Coronel had kept a watching brief during the action. The Dutchman was fortunate to escape a collision when Tiago Monteiro skidded out of sixth place and across the ROAL BMW's bows when rejoining the road at Turn 8.

Team Engstler endured a tough second race at Curitiba, both Franz Engstler and Charles Kaki Ng retiring in accidents.

The most spectacular retirement was provided by Alberto Cerqui, who was squeezed into the pitwall while attempting to overtake a defensive Aleksei Dudukalo.

Muller leads the drivers' championship on 287 points, 17 clear of Huff and 37 ahead of third-placed Alain Menu. The next race takes place at Sears Point on 23 September.

Results - 16 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Rob Huff Chevrolet 23m49.750s 2. Alain Menu Chevrolet + 1.099s 3. Gabriele Tarquini Lukoil SEAT + 1.496s 4. Yvan Muller Chevrolet + 1.758s 5. Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW + 4.958s 6. Michel Nykjaer Bamboo Chevrolet + 12.849s 7. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW + 14.072s 8. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW + 14.477s 9. Tiago Monteiro Tuenti SEAT + 15.506s 10. Aleksei Dudukalo Lukoil SEAT + 16.263s 11. Alex MacDowall Bamboo Chevrolet + 16.552s 12. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT + 19.243s 13. Stefano D'Aste Wiechers BMW + 19.785s 14. Fernando Monje SUNRED SEAT + 26.411s 15. James Nash Arena Ford + 30.662s Retirements: Tom Chilton Arena Ford 15 laps Pepe Oriola Tuenti SEAT 13 laps Alberto Cerqui ROAL BMW 8 laps Darryl O'Young Special Tuning SEAT 4 laps Charles Ng Engstler BMW 2 laps Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 1 lap 
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Yvan Muller leads Chevrolet formation in first Curitiba World Touring Car Championship race

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Author Peter Mills
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