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WTCC 2010 Round One: Race 2 – Tarquini leads home Seat 1-2

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For the third year running, Gabriele Tarquini has won the second race of the day at Curitiba, Brazil, leading home a Seat 1, 2 with Jordi Gene coming in second.

Pole for race 2 went to Tom Coronel, who had finished in 8th place during the opening race, with Gene alongside Coronel. Behind the two TDi Seats sat the BMW Team RBM cars of Augusto Farfus and Andy Priaulx, and who were looking for a fast start.

When the lights went out, however, it was Gene who got the best start and took the lead on the run down to the first corner, while back in the pack, Priaulx and Tarquini made contact, the damage causing Priaulx to retire in the pits at the end of the lap. Priaulx explains what happened: “Overall I’m disappointed with this outcome of the first race weekend of the season. I had a great start in race two, but then this collision with Tarquini happened. I was just a touch, but enough to damage my car and throw me out of the race. At least I managed to score some points in race one. But I could have scored a good result in the second as well.”

A couple of laps later saw the lead change hands, as Tarquini passed Gene at the Esse da Baixa, with the final step on the podium changing as well, as Menu and Muller passed Huff, and relegated him down to fifth.

Huff then had to defend for the remainder of the race as the fired up Farfus caught up with the Cruze and tried to pass, but never succeeded. Farfus also had to defend from Monteiro and the pack behind.

For Tarquini and Gene, it was an easy race for them, as they pulled away from the Chevrolet battle and took a comfortable 1, 2 finish for the SR-Sport team. Behind them, however, the battle for the final step on the podium was developing into an interesting tussle, with Muller not prepared to accept a fourth place, and contact was almost made at the hairpin on the final lap.

Alain said about his weekend: “In Race 1 I outbraked myself into the first corner and allowed Huff to get through.  In Race 2 I backed off too much towards the end and Yvan managed to close in but it wasn't really a problem. It is a great result for the whole team and for myself.”

The battle in the Independents was fiercely contested as well, with Proteam Motorsport's Sergio Hernandez just holding off the Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW of Franz Engstler. Engstler's team mate, Andrei Romanov didn't take the start due to the damage caused in his race one accident.

Sergio commented on his weekend: “I started from last in Race 1 but I managed to stay on track and at the end the car was really good. It was thanks to D'Aste and O'Young coming together though that I got the win. In Race 2, I was fighting for the whole race so I think it was more difficult than Race 1, but we managed to stay in front”

At the chequered flag, Michel Nykjaer won the WTCC Rookies Championship, and took an overall top 8 result as well, and his opinions of how the weekend went: “It is fantastic for me. It's my first time in WTCC and at Curitiba driving in the rain, so this was a very good result for me. It's very nice.”

After the race, Tarquini reflected on his first win of the season: “We have no team orders so it was a great race. I had a tough time over the winter but in qualifying the car was great. The plan was to get a podium and maybe a win and I did that so it's a fantastic start to the season. The SR-Sport team have done a fantastic job. I feel really satisfied and this victory is special. Last year I knew I could fight for the title but this year my plan is to score some victories and the first one is here. “

For Gene, a podium made up for the mistakes in race 1:  “It is fantastic to score here. I was disappointed going off twice in Race 1 so in the second race I was very conscious I needed to not make a mistake.

Race 2 result:

Position Name Car Time/Gap Category Points
1 Gabriele Tarquini Seat Leon TDi 20:13.311 Main 25
2 Jordi Gene Seat Leon TDi +1.276 Main 18
3 Alain Menu Chevrolet Cruze +5.407 Main 15
4 Yvan Muller Chevrolet Cruze +5.985 Main 12
5 Rob Huff Chevrolet Cruze +8.295 Main 10
6 Augusto Farfus BMW 320si +8.596 Main 8
7 Tiago Monteiro Seat Leon TDi +10.419 Main 6
8 Michel Nykjaer Seat Leon TDi +11.808 Main 4
9 Norbert Michelisz Seat Leon TDi +17.576 Main 2
10 Sergio Hernandez BMW 320si +24.244 Independents 1/10
11 Franz Engstler BMW 320si +24.643 Independents 8
12 Mehdi Bennani BMW 320si +30.072 Independents 6
13 Harry Vaulkhard Chevrolet Lacetti +30.923 Independents 5
14 Stefano D'Aste BMW 320si +40.328 Independents 4
15 Darryl O'Young Chevrolet Lacetti +40.481 Independents 3
16 Fredy Barth Seat Leon TDi +1:09.780 Main
DNF Tom Coronel Seat Leon TDi DNF Main
DNF Andy Priaulx BMW 320si DNF Main
DNS Andrei Romanov BMW 320si DNS Independents

Championship Points after Curitiba

Position Name Points
=1 Yvan Muller 37
=1 Gabriele Tarquini 37
3 Alain Menu 30
4 Rob Huff 28
5 Jordi Gene 24
6 Augusto Farfus 16
7 Andy Priaulx 10
8 Tiago Monteiro 6
=9 Michel Nykjaer 4
=9 Tom Coronel 4
11 Norbert Michelisz 3
12 Fredy Barth 2
13 Sergio Hernandez 1

Yokohama Independents Trophy

Position Name Points
1 Sergio Hernandez 23
2 Franz Engstler 16
3 Harry Vaulkhard 10
=4 Darryl O'Young 9
=4 Mehdi Bennani 9
6 Stefano D'Aste 9
7 Andrei Romanov 0

Chevrolet leads the Manufacturers Championship by 4 Points from Seat Customers Technology (70 to 66) with BMW in third on 40 Points.

In the WTCC Rookie's Challenge, Michel Nykjaer and Norbert Michelisz are joint leaders with 16 points apiece, while Proteam Motorsport leads the Independent Teams Championship by 9 points over bamboo engineering.

The next round of the WTCC will be held at Marrakesh, Morocco on the 1st and 2nd May, subject to the official confirmation that the Mexican round has been postponed due to flooding in the area.

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