Alex Zanardi capitalised on carnage at the first corner to take his first World Touring Car victory of the season at Brno this afternoon.
The Italian started third but took advantage when polesitter Augusto Farfus wiped out fellow BMW driver Andy Priaulx, Jordi Gene and all three Chevrolets.
Farfus had bunched the field tightly out of the last corner for the rolling start and moved across on Priaulx on the approach to the first corner. The contact spun Farfus into Nicola Larini, and Gene, Rob Huff and Alain Menu were all punted into the gravel in the mayhem.
"It was definitely a mess but I managed to pass through it unhurt," said Zanardi. "There's always a lot of action in our races and today what happened was in my favour."
Zanardi snatched the lead from Gabriele Tarquini just a few corners after the restart from the safety car period that followed the crash. Zanardi led from the remaining four factory SEATs for a while, but Jorg Muller carved his way through the field from eighth to run the victor close at the end.
Tarquini didn't put up much of a fight to either BMW but claimed the final podium spot in the first of the Leons, with Rickard Rydell close behind and fending off Sergio Hernandez's BMW.
Hernandez had tried to follow Muller through the SEATs but had to settle for picking off just Tiago Monteiro, who finished behind him in sixth.
Felix Porteiro scored another independent class win, ahead of Yvan Muller, who lost second to Tarquini shortly after the restart and then dropped to eighth after running wide. The reigning champion only just held off Tom Coronel to claim pole position for this afternoon's reverse grid race.
Gene and Priaulx both rejoined the race following swift repairs to their cars. RBM-run BMW Team UK managed to rebuild the front end of Priaulx's car in time for him to get back out and set the fastest lap - a full six tenths of a second quicker than anyone else's best effort.
Pos Driver Car Time 1. Alex Zanardi BMW 29m26.496s 2. Jorg Muller BMW +1.848 3. Gabriele Tarquini SEAT +4.831 4. Rickard Rydell SEAT +5.105 5. Sergio Hernandez BMW +5.303 6. Tiago Monteiro SEAT +7.250 7. Felix Porteiro BMW +7.847 8. Yvan Muller SEAT +9.915 9. Tom Coronel SEAT +10.814 10. Vito Postiglione BMW +11.022 11. Franz Engstler BMW +12.916 12. Tim Coronel SEAT +14.150 13. Tom Boardman SEAT +17.692 14. Jaap van Lagen Lada +20.200 15. Kirill Ladygin Lada +22.342 16. Viktor Shapovalov Lada +24.607 17. Stefano D'Aste BMW +36.126 18. Andy Priaulx BMW +6 laps Retirements Marin Colak SEAT 7 laps Jordi Gene SEAT 4 laps Kristian Poulsen BMW 2 laps Alain Menu Chevrolet 1 lap Augusto Farfus BMW 0 laps Nicola Larini Chevrolet 0 laps Rob Huff Chevrolet 0 laps Fastest lap, Priaulx 2m10.622s