Gabriele Tarquini survived race-long pressure from assorted Chevrolets to win today's World Touring Car Championship reversed grid race at Zolder
Tarquini started from pole, but the presence of Chevy trio Rob Huff, Alain Menu and Yvan Muller immediately behind him meant that the former series champion was forced into defensive mode right from the start.
His SUNRED stablemate Tiago Monteiro latched onto the group to make it a five-way scrap, although Huff looked most likely to make something happen. Before he had a chance, trouble struck behind him when Muller slowed, and then retired midway through the race.
Huff remained clamped to the rear of Tarquini's SEAT, but the curtain came down on his challenge when he tagged Tarquini's car while trying a move at the hairpin. The impact sent Huff bouncing through the gravel, and while he briefly rejoined in the lead, the Briton dropped rapidly back through the field and eventually finished sixth.
That left Menu as Tarquini's major threat, but while the Swiss veteran never gave Tarquini any breathing space, neither was he able to find a way past. The pair went on to cross the line first and second, with Monteiro directly behind them to take the final podium place ahead of Bamboo-Engineering's Darryl O'Young.
Aside from a host of spins (including a particularly energetic one from O'Young's team-mate Yukinori Taniguchi), the only significant damage in the race was sustained by Kristian Poulsen, whose Engstler BMW was spat into the barriers at the approach to the chicane on the opening lap.
Results - 13 laps:Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Gabriele Tarquini SUNRED SEAT 22m07.752s 2. Alain Menu Chevrolet + 0.448s 3. Tiago Monteiro SUNRED SEAT + 0.886s 4. Darryl O'Young Bamboo Chevrolet + 1.614s 5. Michel Nykjaer SUNRED SEAT + 5.702s 6. Rob Huff Chevrolet + 5.901s 7. Robert Dahlgren Polestar Volvo + 12.352s 8. Norbert Michelisz Zengo-Dension BMW + 16.721s 9. Aleksei Dudukalo SUNRED SEAT + 20.141s 10. Javier Villa Proteam BMW + 28.827s 11. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW + 42.066s 12. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW + 48.235s 13. Fabio Fabiani Proteam BMW + 1 lap 14. Yukinori Taniguchi Bamboo Chevrolet + 1 lap 15. Pepe Oriola SUNRED SEAT + 2 laps 16. Urs Sonderegger Wiechers BMW + 4 laps Retirements: Yvan Muller Chevrolet 7 laps Kristian Poulsen Engstler BMW 0 laps
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