Tarquini Wins Zolder Race 2 After Contact With Huff

Gabriele Tarquini won the second World Touring Car Championship race at Zolder in Belgium after surviving a coming together with Rob Huff.

Tarquini started from pole position in his SUNRED SEAT. This came courtesy of original polesitter Fredy Barth's car being too damaged to start Race 2 and fellow front-row starter Franz Engstler taking his car out of parc ferme conditions to repair damage and start from the pit lane. Race 1 winner Huff was moved up onto the front row alongside Tarquini.

Tarquini made a good start to retain the lead ahead of the three Chevrolets of Huff, Menu and Muller behind. Kristian Poulsen took fifth from Tiago Monteiro at the start, but contact between the pair later on the opening lap but the Danish Team Engstler driver into retirement.

Tarquini was having to drive defensively to keep the trio of Cruzes behind him, but the pressure was lifted slightly when Muller's car slowed and then retired to the pits. Huff tried to make a move on Tarquini for the lead and drew alongside him into the second chicane. The pair made contact though, which sent Huff through the gravel, across the chicane and into the lead. However, he soon began dropping down the field.

It was left to Menu to try and challenge Tarquini for the lead, but the Italian held onto record the first win for a non-Chevrolet driver in 2011. Monteiro took the final podium position in third, with Darryl O'Young a brilliant fourth on the Bamboo's first weekend racing the Cruze.

Teenager Pepe Oriola had been running in fifth position but would end the race two laps down. This gave the position to his SUNRED teammate Michel Nykjaer, who held off the recovering Huff. Robert Dahlgren was seventh in the Polestar Volvo, while Norbert Michelisz finshed eighth after starting from the pitlane. Aleksei Dudukalo, Tarquini's teammate at the Lukoil-backed part of the SUNRED team, scored his first WTCC points in ninth, while Javier Villa recovered from stalling at the start to finish tenth, setting the fastest lap of the race in the process.

Tarquini celebrates his win

Huff retains his lead of the drivers' standings despite his troubles, just one point ahead of Menu who enjoyed the strongest weekend of the Chevrolet drivers. Tarquini's win moves him up to third, ahead of Muller. The next round takes place at Monza in Italy on 15th May.

Race result after 13 laps:

Pos Cl Driver Team Car Time/Gap
1   Gabriele Tarquini SUNRED SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI 22:07.752
2   Alain Menu Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T 0.448
3   Tiago Monteiro SUNRED SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI 0.886
4 Y Darryl O'Young Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T 1.614
5 Y Michel Nykjaer SUNRED SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI 5.702
6   Robert Huff Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T 5.901
7   Robert Dahlgren Polestar Volvo C30 12.352
8 Y Norbert Michelisz Zengo BMW 320 TC 16.721
9 Y Aleksei Dudukalo SUNRED SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI 20.141
10 Y Javier Villa Proteam BMW 320 TC 28.827
11 Y Mehdi Bennani Proteam BMW 320 TC 42.066
12 Y Franz Engstler Engstler BMW 320 TC 48.235
13 Y Fabio Fabiani Proteam BMW 320si + 1 lap
14 Y Yukinori Taniguchi Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T + 1 lap
15 Y Pepe Oriola SUNRED SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI + 2 laps
16 Y Urs Sonderegger Wiechers BMW 320 TC +4 laps
Ret   Yvan Muller Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T 7 laps
Ret Y Kristian Poulsen Engstler BMW 320 TC 0 laps