Honda driver Esteban Guerrieri moved back into the World Touring Car Cup points lead with victory in the opening race at Suzuka.
Guerrieri, who had qualified second, started from pole courtesy of a grid penalty for fellow Honda driver Tiago Monteiro, but dropped a position on the opening lap as he squabbled with the Comtoyou Racing Audi of Frederic Vervisch and Niels Langeveld.
While Guerrieri rebuffed Vervisch into Turn 1, Langeveld got a better drive off the first corner and passed both before the run to the Esses.
But Langeveld's spell in the lead was short-lived, as Guerrieri executed a crucial pass on the following lap and retained the lead for the remainder of the race.
Langeveld followed Guerrieri home to claim his first WTCR podium, while Monteiro was gifted the final podium position when Vervisch stopped with a puncture - an incident that caused a safety-car period.
The leading Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 of Thed Bjork was fourth ahead of race three polesitter Johan Kristoffersson, who brought his Sebastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI home ahead of the WRT Audi of Jean-Karl Vernay.
Gabriele Tarquini (BRC Racing Hyundai i30 N) and the Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeos of Kevin Ceccon and Ma Qing Hua completed the top 10.
Yvan Muller started the race in 25th but staged a strong fightback in the race to finish 11th ahead of team-mate and nephew Yann Ehrlacher, while erstwhile points leader Norbert Michelisz was 13th.
Michelisz, who now trails Guerrieri by 13 points, was boosted in the order by a controversial late incident between his BRC Hyundai team-mate Nicky Catsburg and Andy Priaulx.
Catsburg was handed a position by Michelisz in order to attack Priaulx, but the two came to blows at the first corner as Priaulx attempted to defend his position.
Priaulx moved slightly to the right before he braked in order to cover off the inside line, but Catsburg hit the brakes later than the Lynk & Co driver, who was fired off into the gravel trap.
Priaulx later gesticulated in the direction of Michelisz's car as the field came towards the first corner behind the safety car.
Catsburg was classified a provisional 14th, though the incident between himself and Priaulx is being investigated, while Aurelien Panis completed the points in his Comtoyou Cupra.
Result - 26 laps
|1||Esteban Guerrieri||Munnich Motorsport||Honda||26m36.701s|
|2||Niels Langeveld||Comtoyou Audi||Audi||0.460s|
|4||Thed Bjork||Cyan Racing||Lynk & Co||1.991s|
|5||Johan Kristoffersson||SLR Volkswagen||Volkswagen||2.400s|
|7||Gabriele Tarquini||BRC Squadra Corse||Hyundai||5.208s|
|8||Kevin Ceccon||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo||5.842s|
|9||Ma Qing Hua||Team Mulsanne||Alfa Romeo||8.091s|
|10||Rob Huff||SLR VW Motorsport||Volkswagen||8.566s|
|11||Yvan Muller||Cyan Racing||Lynk & Co||9.990s|
|12||Yann Ehrlacher||Cyan Performance||Lynk & Co||10.865s|
|13||Norbert Michelisz||BRC Squadra Corse||Hyundai||11.700s|
|14||Aurelien Panis||Comtoyou Cupra||Cupra||13.207s|
|15||Augusto Farfus||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai||14.250s|
|16||Tom Coronel||Comtoyou Cupra||Cupra||14.589s|
|17||Mikel Azcona||PWR Racing||Cupra||15.310s|
|18||Nestor Girolami||Munnich Motorsport||Honda||16.476s|
|19||Ryuichiro Tomita||Audi Hitotsuyama||Audi||17.109s|
|20||Daniel Haglof||PWR Racing||Cupra||17.949s|
|22||Jim Ka To||KC Motorgroup||Honda||20.266s|
|23||Nicky Catsburg||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai||42.857s|
|24||Mehdi Bennani||SLR VW Motorsport||Volkswagen||3 Laps|
|-||Andy Priaulx||Cyan Performance||Lynk & Co||Retirement|
|-||Ritomo Miyata||Audi Hitotsuyama||Audi||Retirement|
|-||Benjamin Leuchter||SLR Volkswagen||Volkswagen||Retirement|
|-||Frederic Vervisch||Comtoyou Audi||Audi||Retirement|