Alain Menu came out on top after a race-long battle with Tom Coronel to win the second World Touring Car Championship race at Curitiba in Brazil.
Menu had inherited pole position for the race after Fredy Barth was stripped of his ninth place in Q1, allowing fellow Swiss racer Menu to move up into tenth and claim pole position for Race Two under the new reverse grid rules.
He wasn't able to immediately take advantage of this though, as he made a poor getaway. Coronel made a strong start in his ROAL BMW, jumping from third on the grid into the lead of the race. Gabriele Tarquini also made a good start to climb from fourth to second.
The Italian SEAT driver was soon hunted down by the four Chevrolets though, led by Menu. Menu made his move on lap three, with Rob Huff, Yvan Muller and Caca Bueno all getting past Tarquini on the following lap.
Menu soon caught Coronel, and dived for the lead at Turn 1 on lap 10. The pair made light contact, forcing Coronel off the road. The Dutchman was able to recover though to hold on to second, and kept the pressure on Menu until he took the checkered flag.
The leading duo were able to escape slightly as teammates Huff and Muller fought over third place. On lap 11 Muller battled his way past, but Huff refused to give up easily and contact was made between the pair. In the end Huff had to settle for fourth as Muller completed the podium places. Bueno ensured that the four Chevrolets finished in the top five by following Huff home.
Tarquini remained in sixth until the finish, with Tiago Monteiro coming home seventh. Danish drivers Kristian Poulsen and Michel Nykjaer were fighting over eighth – and the Yokohama Trophy win – when they collided at the chicane at the beginning of lap six.
This gave the category win to debutant Javier Villa, whose job was made easier when Barth crashed out of ninth on lap nine. Franz Engstler finished ninth despite making a very slow getaway, while 16-year-old Pepe Oriola scored a point on his world championship debut by finishing tenth. He also joined fellow Spanish rookie Villa on the podium having won the Jay-Ten Trophy.
Following the first round of the season Huff leads the Drivers' standings on 37 points, with Menu and Muller tied for second on 33 points.
Race result after 14 laps:
|1||Alain Menu||Chevrolet||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||19:38.428|
|2||Tom Coronel||ROAL||BMW 320 TC||+0.265|
|3||Yvan Muller||Chevrolet||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+0.917|
|4||Robert Huff||Chevrolet||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+1.321|
|5||Carlos Bueno||Chevrolet||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+2.409|
|6||Gabriele Tarquini||SUNRED||SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI||+4.512|
|7||Tiago Monteiro||SUNRED||SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI||+7.810|
|8||Y||Javier Villa||Proteam||BMW 320 TC||+16.894|
|9||Y||Franz Engstler||Engstler||BMW 320 TC||+17.571|
|10||Y||Pepe Oriola||SUNRED||SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI||+20.361|
|11||Y||Darryl O'Young||Bamboo||Chevrolet Lacetti||+27.978|
|12||Y||Aleksei Dudukalo||SUNRED||SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI||+31.428|
|13||Robert Dahlgren||Polestar||Volvo C30||+35.296|
|14||Y||Kristian Poulsen||Engstler||BMW 320 TC||+35.770|
|15||Y||Yukinori Taniguchi||Bamboo||Chevrolet Lacetti||+36.203|
|16||Y||Marchy Lee||KK||BMW 320 TC||+39.845|
|Ret||Y||Fredy Barth||SUNRED||SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI||7 laps|
|NC||Y||Fabio Fabiani||Proteam||BMW 320si||7 laps|
|Ret||Y||Michel Nykjaer||SUNRED||SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI||5 laps|
|Ret||Y||Mehdi Bennani||Proteam||BMW 320 TC||0 laps|