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Gabriele Tarquini leads home Lukoil 1-2

Gabriele Tarquini has secured his first win of the season during the first race of the day at the Slovakia Ring in Slovakia while Alain Menu has closed the gap to team-mate and Championship leader Yvan Muller.

Click here for the full Round 7 Result.

Tarquini’s win is the first non-Chevrolet victory of the season, whilst Alexei Dudukalo’s second place is the young Russian’s best-ever WTCC result.

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Pole sitter Norbert Michelisz made a reasonable start and held the position while Tarquini moved into second ahead of his team-mate Alexei Dudukalo while further back, Chevrolet’s Rob Huff was getting caught up in the midfield melée.

Just after he saved his first slide, Huff was the caught by his fellow British driver James Nash in the Team Aon Ford Focus. Nash would retire further around the lap with significant accident damage. Huff recovered from the incident but dropped to the back of the field.

Up at the front, Muller was starting to work his way up the order as he took fourth position from Stefano D’Aste, after the Italian driver in the Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC had flown up the order on the opening lap.

Michelisz was soon involved in the first of two incidents. Under braking for turn three, he started to brake slightly earlier and second placed Tarquini collided with the Hungarian driver and pushed him wide. Tarquini inherited the lead ahead of Dudukalo while Michelisz was relegated to third.

The following lap saw Michelisz involved in yet more contact – as he looked to grab second back from, the Russian driver, reigning Champion Muller was closing in on the duo, and Muller spun out Michelisz for third. It was soon announced that Muller had been awarded a drive through for spinning out the Zengo Motorsport driver.

Muller was demoted to fourteenth after his drive through and this promoted Pepe Oriola into the podium positions, and the young Spaniard inherited second when Dudukalo slid wide at the final corner.

Tarquini up at the front was pulling away from the chasing pack and he led home a SEAT 1-2 and his SEAT team-mate after Oriola suffered a left front puncture and dropped down the order. Parked up in the pits at the same time was Huff and Franz Engstler, who had collided with his Liqui Moly Team Engstler team-mate Charles Kaki Ng earlier in the race.

After being spun down to eighth, Michelisz recovered to sixth and was on the tail of D’Aste as the final lap got underway. He went wide at the first corner and visited the gravel, which brought the Special Tuning Racing SEAT Leon of Darryl O’Young on to his tail, but the Hungarian driver held on to sixth.

Tarquini secured the first non Chevrolet victory of the season ahead of Dudukalo, Menu, the ROAL Motorsport BMW of Alberto Cerqui, D’Aste and Michelisz. Rounding on the top ten were O’Young, Tom Coronel, Tom Boardman from P21 and Gabor Weber. Muller finished just outside the points in eleventh.

The results meant that Muller has a reduced Championship lead of nine points over Menu with Huff third.

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