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Thompson Storms to Monza Win

BMW and Alfa Romeo have shared the honours in the opening rounds of the World Touring Car Championship after James Thompson stormed to victory in an eventful second race in Monza

Thompson, who was seventh in the first race, started second on the grid after the top eight formed up in reverse order. The Briton made light work of claiming the lead, storming past a slow starting Rickard Rydell who had the amended pole, and got to work setting about building a lead from the rest of the field.

Behind the pair Fabrizio Giovanardi stalled on the second row, briefly holding up the pack behind him. BMW teammates Antonio Garcia and Dirk Muller were quickly by the stricken car, and their powerful starts allowed them to pass the poleman by the first chicane.

By lap two Augusto Farfus had also caught Rydell, and in a moment of over-enthusiasm punted the Swede off the track from behind. The SEAT team were clearly distraught, although teammate Jordi Gene spared their dignity by running a strong race in the points.

The usual season-opening antics that were missing from the first round came to the fore in the second, with Roberto Colciago spearing off track at Lesmo on lap five, and BMW's Gianluca de Lorenzi and Chevrolet's Robert Huff running each other off one lap later.

Meanwhile at the front of the race Garcia was pulling back Thompson's lead, but he lost two places after locking a wheel and running slightly wide. Approaching the first chicane on lap six the front runners all tried to take the corner together - Thompson cut across the grass to avoid his pursuers, Farfus also ran wide, while Muller and Gabriele Tarquini collided, with the Italian coming off second best and being dumped out of the race.

Meanwhile the drive of the meeting was owned by Jorg Muller, who started at the back of the grid but managed to slice his way through almost the entire grid. On the final lap he had caught third placed Garcia, who just managed to keep the German behind him to claim the final step of the podium behind Thompson and Dirk Muller.

After the race the top two men of the day were thrilled with their first day at work. Thompson noted: "It was a fantastic race from where I was sat - I had a great race with Dirk!

"After the first race we said okay, we'll take seventh on the grid and have a real push in the second race, and it certainly worked well for us."

A beaming Dirk Muller knew there was little more for him to prove on the day: "First and second, and a pole position yesterday, is a fantastic start to the season. James was really doing his job perfectly and defending like hell!

"I was quicker but I just couldn't get past him. I have a big hole on one side [of the car] and a big hole on the other side because people were crashing into me, but it is still a great start to the series."

2005 FIA World Touring Car Championship, Monza - Race Two

Pos Driver               Make                Time           Gap   Laps
 1. James Thompson       Alfa Romeo 156      18:13.906             9
 2. Dirk Muller          BMW 320i            18:14.436  +   0.530  9
 3. Antonio Garcia       BMW 320i            18:14.671  +   0.765  9
 4. Jorg Muller          BMW 320i            18:15.154  +   1.248  9
 5. Andy Priaulx         BMW 320i            18:15.373  +   1.467  9
 6. Jordi Gene           SEAT Toledo Cupra   18:16.376  +   2.470  9
 7. Alessandro Zanardi   BMW 320i            18:19.882  +   5.976  9
 8. Fabrizio Giovanardi  Alfa Romeo 156      18:20.673  +   6.767  9
 9. Augusto Farfus Jr.   Alfa Romeo 156      18:22.810  +   8.904  9
10. Marc Hennerici       BMW 320i            18:32.137  +  18.231  9
11. Alessandro Balzan    SEAT Toledo Cupra   18:38.433  +  24.527  9
12. Adam Lacko           Alfa Romeo 156 Gta  18:45.517  +  31.611  9
13. Valle Makela         Seat Toledo Cupra   18:45.897  +  31.991  9
14. Andriano De Micheli  Honda Accord Euro   18:46.461  +  32.555  9
15. Nicola Larini        Chevrolet Lacetti   18:47.451  +  33.545  9
16. Salvatore Tavano     Alfa Romeo 156      18:48.027  +  34.121  9
17. Peter Terting        SEAT Toledo Cupra   18:51.349  +  37.443  9
18. Giuseppe Ciro        BMW 320i            18:51.386  +  37.480  9
19. Stefano Valli        BMW 320i            18:56.134  +  42.228  9
20. Andrea Larini        Alfa Romeo 156      18:58.585  +  44.679  9
21. Jens Hellstrom       Honda Civic Type-R  19:25.942  +1:12.036  9
22. Stefano D'aste       BMW 320i            16:32.545  +   1 LAP  8
23. Tomas Engstrom       Honda Accord Euro   18:58.813  +   1 LAP  8
24. Alain Menu           Chevrolet Lacetti   12:50.529  +   3 LAPS 6

 Not Classified
    Gabriele Tarquini    Alfa Romeo 156      10:09.869    D.N.F.   5
    Robert Huff          Chevrolet Lacetti   10:29.749    D.N.F.   5
    Gianluca De Lorenzi  BMW 320i            10:30.609    D.N.F.   5
    Tom Coronel          Seat Toledo Cupra    8:39.735    D.N.F.   4
    Roberto Colciago     Honda Accord Euro    9:14.072    D.N.F.   4
    Rickard Rydell       SEAT Toledo Cupra    2:05.228    D.N.F.   1
    Thomas Jager         Ford Focus                  0    D.N.F.

 Fastest Lap
    Jorg Muller       BMW 320i    1:59.058

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