Yvan Muller continued the perfect start to his Chevrolet WTCC career after taking the opening win of the 2010 WTCC Season, ahead of team mates Rob Huff and Alain Menu.
Frenchman Muller led from lights to flag to take his third win in three years at the 3.7km Curitiba track, and with it the first set of 25 points.
The race started under safety car conditions as the weather played havoc, and the track was soaked. The pre-race grid was busy with mechanics busy changing set ups from dry to wet, and changing the tyres as well.
Once the safety car departed the scene at the end of lap 2, Muller edged away while behind the SR-Sport car of Gene and the Cruze's of Huff and Menu all went wide at the first corner, and came back on 3 abreast.
It wasn't just Gene who wasn't able to stop for Esse de Baixa, Norbert Michelisz also went across the gravel trap en route to 10th overall, and Michel Nykjaer followed suit towards the end of the race.
Up front, the trio of Cruze's were starting to break away from the chasing pack, leaving the BMW Team RBM car of Andy Priaulx as the blockade on track, and his apparent lack of pace meant that Tom Coronel was able to slide past Farfus for 6th, and later into the race, Farfus retook 6th and Gene took the opportunity to slide past his new team mate as well.
As the race entered its final laps, the BMW Team RBM cars were getting closer, and as the cars looked for any dampness they could find to cool down their tyres, it made it look like Farfus was trying to pass Priaulx.
At the chequered flag, Muller held on from Huff for the season opening victory, while Menu finished a distant third. The Independent win went to the Scuderia Proteam Motorsport driver of Sergio Herandez, who won from the back. He took advantage of the incident between team mate Stefano D'Aste and debutant Darryl O'Young on the final lap to claim victory. The WTCC Rookie class win went to Sunred's Fredy Barth, who took 9th on his debut.
The fastest lap went to Rob Huff in a time of 1m33.904, set on lap 15.
Speaking after the race, the Chevrolet team were delighted with their best ever results in the South American fly away races. Muller said: “I could not have expected a better start of the season and the relationship with Chevrolet” while second place finisher Huff added: “I managed to get a good start and tucked behind Menu,” he said. “GenÃ© and Menu they went a bit wide and I out dragged them. The Chevrolet 1-2-3 is something we never dreamt of before.”
Third place finisher Alain Menu went on to add: “I have never had a good result at Curitiba, so I’m happy with taking a podium here,” while new team manager, David Grace, said: “I don’t think it comes any better. I think it’s the team work that has done it. We’ve worked very hard during the winter and it has paid off.”
|1||Yvan Muller||Chevrolet Cruze||26:57.181s||Main||25|
|2||Rob Huff||Chevrolet Cruze||+1.053||Main||18|
|3||Alain Menu||Chevrolet Cruze||+5.582||Main||15|
|4||Gabriele Tarquini||Seat Leon TDi||+7.136||Main||12|
|5||Andy Priaulx||BMW 320si||+11.625||Main||10|
|6||Augusto Farfus||BMW 320si||+12.098||Main||8|
|7||Jordi Gene||Seat Leon TDi||+14.379||Main||6|
|8||Tom Coronel||Seat Leon TDi||+14.647||Main||4|
|9||Fredy Barth||Seat Leon TDi||+18.773||Main||2|
|10||Norbert Michelisz||Seat Leon TDi||+20.359||Main||1|
|11||Tiago Monteiro||Seat Leon TDi||+21.691||Main|
|12||Michel Nykjaer||Seat Leon TDi||+22.645||Main|
|13||Sergio Hernandez||BMW 320si||+34.973||Independent||11|
|14||Franz Engstler||BMW 320si||+38.092||Independent||8|
|15||Darryl O'Young||Chevrolet Lacetti||+44.692||Independent||6|
|16||Harry Vaulkhard||Chevrolet Lacetti||+50.005||Independent||5|
|17||Stefano D'Aste||BMW 320si||+50.742||Independent||4|
|18||Medhi Bennani||BMW 320si||+1:20.825||Independent||3|
|DNF||Andrei Romanov||BMW 320si||DNF||Independent|