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Alain Menu wins as Yvan Muller struggles

Alain Menu converted his Suzuka Pole Position into race victory with a dominant drive during the first race of the day, finishing three seconds ahead of Rob Huff and SUNRED’s Michel Nykjaer.

Click here for the full Round 19 Results.

Yvan Muller in the third Chevrolet finished fourth after making a mistake once the Safety Car was withdrawn and he has seen his Championship advantage reduced to ten points from Huff with five races of the season remaining.

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Off the rolling start, a numbers of cars suffered damage down at turn one and two. Before the field had arrived down at turn one, Robert Dahlgren was off and into the barriers, his Polestar Racing Volvo C30 suffering front and rear end damage. Down at turn one, the carnage ensued as a number of drivers were caught out.

Tom Coronel in the ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC was spun out from behind and suffered front end damage – he crawled back to the pits, while Pepe Oriola and Tiago Monteiro were both caught up in it in their SUNRED SR Leon 1.6T’s, while 2009 Champion Gabriele Tarquini was broadside but survived, and resumed at the rear end of the grid.

The Safety Car was deployed at the end of the opening lap due to the cars littered all over the circuit and run off areas, plus the debris all over the track. The clean up operation took six laps and the Safety Car was withdrawn at the end of the seventh lap out of twenty five, as two laps were added to the race distance due to the Safety Car intervention.

Once the Safety Car was withdrawn, Muller was soon demoted to second by his Chevrolet team-mate Menu and a couple of laps later, the Championship leader was down to fourth after running wide at the cut through for the Suzuka East circuit, Huff and Yokohama Independents leader Nykjaer took advantage and the Frenchman was down t fourth, with Yokohama Independents Points Leader Kristian Poulsen right behind in his Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW 320TC.

Once Menu was in the lead, he started to pull away from Huff, who in turn was opening up a slight gap over Nykjaer, who was being kept busy with Muller and Poulsen.

The remainder of the race saw the main action back in the pack – series returnee Colin Turkington moved into the top six on lap fourteen as he moved ahead of the bamboo engineering Chevrolet Cruze of Yukinori Taniguchi – who then had to defend his seventh place from Mehdi Bennani, who had worked his way up the order from the back of the grid after he went off in qualifying, the recovering Tarquini and Norbert Michelisz, who worked his way into the top ten from the seventh row of the grid.

At the flag, Menu took the victory by three seconds from Huff and Nykjaer, who took the Yokohama Independents victory. The Jay Ten trophy victory went the way of Charles Ng, the sole Jay Ten runner after Fabio Fabiani was unable to take the start after failing to reach the qualifying maxima.

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