Yvan Muller extended his lead in the World Touring Car Championship with a lights-to-flag victory in the opening race at Curitiba
The Frenchman's sixth win of the season came d in a close but processional race as the factory RML-run Chevrolets locked out the podium.
Front-row starter Alain Menu tucked in behind Muller away from the rolling start. The third RML Cruze of Rob Huff completed the blue works Cruze train, which thereafter circulated in close formation and was covered by less than a second at the finish.
Gabriele Tarquini made use of his Lukoil SEAT Leon WTCC's strength at rolling starts to pass Swedish series frontrunner Michel Nykjaer away from the line. Once ahead, the 2009 world champion pulled out a three-second advantage over Nykjaer to complete a relatively quiet run to fourth.
As with the factory Chevrolet fight at the front, the Bamboo Engineering Cruzes produced a tightly contested in-house battle for fifth. Alex MacDowall shadowed Nykjaer to the chequered flag without threatening an overtaking attempt, the 50-minute window between Curitiba's two WTCC races prompting drivers to exercise caution.
Hong Kong racer Darryl O'Young took a fine seventh for Special Tuning ahead of Tom Coronel's highest-placed BMW in eighth.
Yokohama Drivers' Trophy frontrunners Norbert Michelisz and Pepe Oriola provided some welcome entertainment in their scrap for ninth. Oriola executed an opportunistic lunge on the Zengo BMW driver at the last corner on lap four, only to be knocked wide at Turn 1 by the Hungaroring winner on the following tour. Michelisz waited five laps before recovering the position cleanly on the pits straight.
Eighth-place qualifier Tiago Monteiro was an opening lap retirement after making contact with Italian Superstars champion Alberto Cerqui at Turn 6. Former grand prix driver Monteiro's Tuenti Racing SEAT was out immediately with broken suspension, while Cerqui later pitted to have his damage attended too by his ROAL Motorsport crew.
The opening laps were enlivened by Tom Boardman's spirited defence of his 13th position from a gaggle of BMWs and Fords. But the Briton was summoned for a drive-through penalty after being judged to have made an avoidable collision with Mehdi Bennani's Proteam BMW at Turn 7.
Muller still leads the drivers' standing on 274 points, 29 clear of second-placed Huff. Menu's second place brings the Swiss' total to 232, while Tarquini moves ahead of Coronel on 147 to the ROAL Motorsport driver's 144.
Results - 15 laps:Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Yvan Muller Chevrolet 22m05.549s 2. Alain Menu Chevrolet + 0.398s 3. Rob Huff Chevrolet + 0.933s 4. Gabriele Tarquini LukoilSEAT + 2.767s 5. Michel Nykjaer Bamboo Chevrolet + 5.656s 6. Alex MacDowall Bamboo Chevrolet + 6.639s 7. Darryl O'Young Special Tuning SEAT + 13.850s 8. Tom Coronel ROAL BMW + 15.552s 9. Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW + 15.721s 10. Pepe Oriola Tuenti SEAT + 16.613s 11. Fernando Monje SUNRED SEAT + 19.896s 12. Aleksei Dudukalo Lukoil SEAT + 20.552s 13. Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW + 29.405s 14. Charles Ng Engstler BMW + 31.621s 15. Stefano D'Aste Wiechers BMW + 31.675s 16. James Nash Arena Ford + 35.093s 17. Tom Chilton Arena Ford + 35.411s 18. Franz Engstler Engstler BMW + 38.976s Retirements: Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT 13 laps Alberto Cerqui ROAL BMW 9 laps Tiago Monteiro Tuenti SEAT 1 lap
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