Yvan Muller beat Gabriele Tarquini on the opening lap of the first World Touring Car Championship race in Portugal to take victory, with Tarquini finishing second and Rob Huff in third.
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Yvan Muller has secured his sixth victory of the 2012 World Touring Car Championship after a light to flag victory around the Portimao circuit in Portugal.
The results mean that Muller has a 20 point advantage over team-mate Rob Huff heading into the final European race of the season. Lukoil Racing Team’s Gabriele Tarquini split the Chevrolet drivers’ with a fighting second place finish while Norbert Michelisz secured the Yokohama Independent’s honours in fourth.
At the start, Muller took the lead from his former SEAT Sport team-mate with a move around the outside of turn one and from there, the Frenchman never looked back.
Huff moved into third at the start, taking the position from the Zengo Motorsport BMW 320TC of Michelisz and he soon latched onto the tail of Tarquini but try as he might, he was unable to make a move for second position.
The second Zengo Motorsport BMW 320TC of Gabor Weber and the second Lukoil Racing Team SEAT Leon of Alexey Dudukalo were involved in an opening lap collision – which saw both drivers in the gravel and the incident under investigation. The incident involving Dudukalo and Menu from the opening lap was also under investigation.
Having qualified down in ninth, Alain Menu started to fight his way up the order and by mid race distance the Swiss driver had recovered to fifth but his progress was halted as the next car up the road, Michelisz, was too far ahead.
Michelisz was dropping back from the lead trio and into a race of his own while Muller, Tarquini and Huff started to close up towards the end and at the flag, Muller’s advantage was 0.336s.
Behind the top three, the midfield provided some entertaining battles with Tiago Monteiro in the Sunred SR Leon 1.6T having to defend every lap from the field behind, but the Portuguese driver held on for seventh, with the ROAL Motorsport car of Tom Coronel ahead of him.
The top ten was completed by Alberto Cerqui, Pepe Oriola and Alex MacDowall, and for Oriola he has seen his Yokohama Independents’ trophy advantage reduced by Michelisz.