Tom Chilton converted his maiden World Touring Car Championship pole position into his maiden win in the series as team-mate Yvan Muller closes in on the title.
Tiago Monteiro denied Chevrolet a dream result at Sonoma as he finished second, with Muller and the bamboo-engineering cars of Alex MacDowall and James Nash rounding out the top five.
Chilton held the lead from the start while Muller lost out to Monteiro and while the Honda driver chased down Chilton during the opening laps, the Frenchman held his position and secured a podium finish.
After the opening few laps, the lead at the front started to expand as Chilton had the better tyre life as ended up winning by 2.1s with Muller a further 4.3s behind the Honda.
The main interest came in the lower end of the top ten as the BMW of Tom Coronel harrassed the Münnich Motorsport SEAT of 2012 Champion Rob Huff for seventh and got his man with 3 laps to go. A queue of cars had formed behind Huff, with team-mate Marc Basseng and PB Racing’s Stefano D’Aste completing the top ten.
Having lost all of his times in qualifying, Yokohama Independent points leader Michel Nykjær failed to add to his points total and has seen his advantage slashed by Nash while losing ground to Muller in the outright title fight.
Tom Boardman scored his best result of the season in 12th, whilst the race’s only retirement came from Darryl O’Young, who called it a day after five laps due to an earlier spin.
Muller has opened up a 151 point advantage ahead of round 18 of the season, which gets underway at 14.20 PDT, 22.20 BST; 23:20 CEST.