Alain Menu took Chevrolet's fourth straight World Touring Car victory in a manic second race at Pau today.
The race had to be red flagged at the end of the first lap after no fewer than four separate incidents.
For the first, the BMWs of Jorg Muller and Andy Priaulx tangled exiting Turn 1 and both were speared into the barrier. Muller's had to limp back to the pits with the front left of his car caved in, while Priaulx continued with his rear bumper hanging off.
Then two more BMWs collided at the next turn when Felix Porteiro thought about a lunge up the inside of Sergio Hernandez for third. He aborted the move but clipped the concrete kerb on the inside and bounced into Hernandez anyway and spun the Spaniard into the wall. Hernandez's car then caught fire while he was climbing out.
Tom Boardman was next to cause a drama when he slid his SUNRED SEAT into the wall and bent the left rear wheel and suspension. He had to recover back to the pits sideways while a flurry of factory SEATs dodged their way round him.
The decision was taken to throw the safety car while the debris from the three incidents was cleared, but the safety car appeared on the track beyond the exit of the pitlane before the warning boards had been displayed on the pit straight.
Franz Engstler was leading the race after beating Menu away from the front row and he came flat out round the blind kink past the pits to find the safety car sitting in the middle of the track. He had nowhere to go and ploughed into the left side of it before bouncing off into the barrier.
The race was eventually restarted behind a substitute safety car and Menu led from Porteiro, Augusto Farfus, Rob Huff and Andy Priaulx.
Porteiro was given a drive-through penalty for causing the shunt with Hernandez on the first lap, and he peeled off to the side to allow the trio behind to continue the battle for second uninterrupted.
Farfus drew away from Huff and Priaulx, and closed up to Menu, but was unable to find a way past the Chevrolet - just as had been the case when he was chasing Huff for the lead in the day's earlier race.
Priaulx repeated the scene three seconds back, climbing all over the back of Huff for the rest of the race but unable to force a mistake or an overtaking opportunity. Menu and Huff held on in first and third places to score the fourth consecutive win for the Chevrolet Cruze following Huff and Larini's victories in Morocco and Huff's success in race one at Pau.
The works SEATs had been suffering a miserable weekend, but the carnage at the start of race two moved Gabriele Tarquini and Yvan Muller into sixth and seventh for the restart. They lost one place each from there as Alex Zanardi charged up to fifth in his BMW.
Pos Driver Car Time 1. Alain Menu Chevrolet 52m22.260s 2. Augusto Farfus BMW + 0.351s 3. Robert Huff Chevrolet + 3.066s 4. Andy Priaulx BMW + 3.325s 5. Alex Zanardi BMW + 16.153s 6. Gabriele Tarquini SEAT + 17.728s 7. Yvan Muller SEAT + 19.686s 8. Eric Cayrolle SEAT + 22.425s 9. Nicola Larini Chevrolet + 22.581s 10. Kristian Poulsen BMW + 23.297s 11. Tiago Monteiro SEAT + 28.247s 12. Jordi Gene SEAT + 29.778s 13. Jaap van Lagen Lada + 34.095s 14. Laurent Cazenave BMW + 38.990s 15. Viktor Shapovalov Lada + 44.402s 16. Marin Colak SEAT + 52.439s 17. Felix Porteiro BMW + 1 lap 18. Jorg Muller BMW + 1 lap 19. Tom Coronel SEAT + 3 laps Retirements: Mehdi Bennani SEAT 11 laps Rickard Rydell SEAT 10 laps Kirill Ladygin Lada 9 laps Franz Engstler BMW 1 lap Tom Boardman SEAT 1 lap Sergio Hernandez BMW 0 laps