Touring CarsWTCC

Huff Wins Season Opener In Brazil In Chevrolet 1-2-3

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Rob Huff drew first blood in the 2011 World Touring Car Championship title fight by taking a lights-to-flag victory in the opening race of the season at Curitiba in Brazil.

The Briton led home reigning champion Yvan Muller and local ace Caca Bueno to record a 1-2-3 finish for Chevrolet in the first race for the Cruze 1.6T.

As the leading trio finished the race in the order that they had started, Tom Coronel came out on top in a fight with Kristian Poulsen to finish as top BMW driver. Both made good getaways at the rolling starts, with ROAL Motorsport driver Coronel climbing from eighth on the grid into fifth, just behind Team Engstler's Poulsen who had climbed from fifth to challenge Bueno for third at the first corner.

As the Dane came under pressure from the Dutchman he ran wide onto the grass on lap three, allowing Coronel to pass him. Poulsen held onto the back of Coronel though, and on lap 11 the pair ran side by side, with Poulsen coming out on top. However, on the last lap Coronel was able to take the place back. With Coronel ineligible for the Yokohama Trophy, Poulsen joined the Chevrolet drivers on the podium as the winner of the category for independent drivers.

Having started the race down in tenth, fourth Chevrolet driver Alain Menu was able to recover up to sixth halfway through the race, but could not take advantage of the BMW drivers' battle to move further up. Gabriele Tarquini finished as the best of the SUNRED SEATs in seventh, just ahead of Nykjaer, who won the Jay-Ten Trophy for independent drivers of cars complying with the 2010 technical regulations.

BMW drivers Franz Engstler and Mehdi Bennani rounded out the top ten and the final points-paying positions. The only retirement was Darryl O'Young, who slid off the track in his Chevrolet Lacetti on lap 5.

Race result after 14 laps:

Pos Cl Driver Team Car Time/Gap
1   Robert Huff Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T 19:29.481
2   Yvan Muller Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T +0.873
3   Carlos Bueno Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T +3.924
4   Tom Coronel ROAL BMW 320 TC +12.714
5 Y Kristian Poulsen Engstler BMW 320 TC +13.004
6   Alain Menu Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T +13.402
7   Gabriele Tarquini SUNRED SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI +14.214
8 Y Michel Nykjaer SUNRED SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI +14.716
9 Y Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 320 TC +19.100
10 Y Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 320 TC +19.591
11   Tiago Monteiro SUNRED SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI +20.001
12   Robert Dahlgren Polestar Volvo C30 +20.343
13 Y Pepe Oriola SUNRED SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI +25.098
14 Y Javier Villa Proteam BMW 320 TC +25.527
15 Y Fredy Barth SUNRED SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI +28.285
16 Y Marchy Lee KK BMW 320 TC +41.400
17 Y Aleksei Dudukalo SUNRED SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI +41.820
18 Y Yukinori Taniguchi Bamboo Chevrolet Lacetti +45.265
19 Y Fabio Fabiani Proteam BMW 320si +1 lap
Ret Y Darryl O'Young Bamboo Chevrolet Lacetti 4 laps
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About author
Peter joined the TCF team in September 2010 and covers GP2 and GP3 along with WTCC and Formula Two. You can find him on twitter at @PeteAllen_
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