Gene Wins Zolder Opener

by Alasdair Lindsay

Jordi Gene took his first WTCC win since Mexico 2008 ahead of polesitting team-mate Gabriele Tarquini, but almost faced the wrath of the stewards after marginal overtake against the Italian at the start.

As Gene took the lead he would never relinquish until the end, there was more argy-bargy going on further down the field. Andy Priaulx was shuffled all the way down to 10th as Michel Nykjaer and Darryl O’Young clashed, dropping the latter all the way down to last and ruining what looked like it would be his first class victory in the series.

By the end of the first lap the SEAT duo had Yvan Muller for company, while Chevrolet team-mate Alain Menu was at the head of a train of cars from 4th place down.

Over the next few laps Muller tried his hardest to find a way past Tarquini, but his front tyres ran out of grip fast, and towards the end of the race he started to fall back towards Menu.

By now Priaulx and Coronel were in a fierce battle for 8th place, and pole position for Race 2. When the Dutchman ran wide at the final chicane, he saw his chance and drove straight past to claim pole for the next race.

Kristian Poulsen took his first independents win of the year after hounding local racer Pierre-Yves Corthals all race, finishing 12th overall in the process.

“It's been too long since my first win,” said Gene. “This season we have had a good car and some possibilities but I always seem to get involved at incidents at the start. So it was very important to get a good start today. I knew I could get pushed wide [at the start] but thankfully Tarquini was very fair and gave me space.”

Muller meanwhile was ruing his tyre issues that cost him a chance of taking 2nd place near the end.

“I was trying to push hard at the start as I knew the car would be good in the first part of the race. I didn't have enough to overtake (Tarquini) and then I made a mistake. Towards the end I was driving to save my front-left tyre as we had some concerns about it and didn't want to lose the whole race.”

Jordi Gene would later be disqualified, handing victory to Tarquini, click here to read the report.

Click here for full race results.

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