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Muller wins first race of the season

  • Published on 11 Mar 2012 15:30
  • comments 0
  • By: Danny Sosef
Despite Gabriele Tarquini denying Chevrolet its fourteenth successive pole position, it was ‘business as usual’ in the race as Yvan Muller headed Robert Huff in a Chevrolet 1-2, with Tarquini completing the podium positions.

A precautionary engine change on Tarquini’s SEAT León after Qualifying suggested possible concerns in the Lukoil Racing garage, but Tarquini finished the race after battling with both Muller and then Huff. Alain Menu in the third factory Chevrolet Cruze ended the race in a frustrated eighth place after contact with Huff that saw the Swiss driver forced to take to the gravel on the first lap.

The battle amongst the competitors for the Yokohama Trophy was just as fierce, with Pepe Oriola, Aleksei Dudukalo, Alex MacDowall and Norbert Michelisz all fighting for the first points of the season. Dudukalo pulled up on lap 11 after leading the independents’ category, leaving Pepe Oriola to take maximum points from the race.

Two laps were completed behind the Safety Car after Isaac Tutumlu’s BMW stopped on the circuit on lap 3 and had to be removed.

Key moments
Start - Tarquini was first into the chicane, but Engstler, D’Aste and Monteiro collided
Lap 1 - Menu was sent into the gravel at Lesmo after contact with Huff
Lap 2 - Muller was first into the chicane, but ran wide and so let Tarquini retake the lead
Lap 2 – Bennani, Nash and Barlesi had contact at the first chicane; only Nash rejoined
Lap 3 - Tarquini ran wide into the chicane, Muller took the lead
Lap 6 - Huff took third from Rydell, but Rydell retook the place.
Lap 6 - Chilton passed D’Aste but also then lost the position on the same lap.
Lap 7 - Huff passed Rydell again to move into 3rd place.
Lap 7 - Dudukalo passed Coronel.
Lap 8 - Ng and Weber collided at the Roggia chicane; Tutumlu was also involved in the clash
Lap 9 - Huff passed Tarquini for second place
Lap 10 - Menu moved up into eighth place.
Lap 11 - Dudukalo retired from sixth

Withdrawals
D. O’Young: DNS; T. Monteir race incident; A. Barlesi: race incident; M. Bennani: race incident; I. Tutumlu: race incident; A. Dudukal engine.

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