Alain Menu won the first World Touring Car Championship race at Suzuka, with Rob Huff finishing second to cut the gap to Yvan Muller in the standings.
The start of the race saw carnage at the first couple of corners. Robert Dahlgren, who had started third in the Polestar Volvo, was fired off into the barrier before Turn 1. Further contact into Turn 2 wiped out Tiago Monteiro and Tom Coronel amongst others.
The three Chevrolets escaped unharmed up front, with Muller jumping polesitter Menu into the lead of the race. The opening lap incident saw the safety car come out, staying out until the end of the sixth lap.
At the restart the positions remained the same, but one lap later Muller allowed Menu back past into the lead into Turn 1. Muller then handed second place to Huff when he lost the rear end of his car going through the last couple of corners. Michel Nykjaer also made it through into third.
Up front Menu pulled away from Huff and took the checkered flag three seconds ahead of the Briton. Muller meanwhile couldn't really challenge Nykjaer for the final podium place, and in fact had to defend from another Dane in Kristian Poulsen.
Local driver Yukinori Taniguchi ended up in sixth place after the first lap havoc, but was passed by Colin Turkington on lap 14. Taniguchi held on under pressure from Mehdi Bennani and Gabriele Tarquini late on to finish seventh. Tarquini had got caught up in the opening lap scuffle and had to pit to repair damage but worked his way back up to finish ninth. Norbert Michelisz completed the top ten.
Race 1 results – 25 laps:
|1||Alain Menu||Chevrolet||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||25:50.919|
|2||Robert Huff||Chevrolet||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||3.133|
|3||Michel Nykjaer||Sunred||Sunred SR Leon 1.6T||3.766|
|4||Yvan Muller||Chevrolet||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||4.441|
|5||Kristian Poulsen||Engstler||BMW 320 TC||4.851|
|6||Colin Turkington||Wiechers||BMW 320 TC||8.601|
|7||Yukinori Taniguchi||Bamboo||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||13.472|
|8||Mehdi Bennani||Proteam||BMW 320 TC||13.730|
|9||Gabriele Tarquini||Sunred||Sunred SR Leon 1.6T||14.045|
|10||Norbert Michelisz||Zengo||BMW 320 TC||14.478|
|11||Franz Engstler||Engstler||BMW 320 TC||15.950|
|12||Javier Villa||Proteam||BMW 320 TC||20.554|
|13||Darryl O’Young||Bamboo||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||20.833|
|14||Masaki Kano||KK||BMW 320 TC||25.889|
|15||Toshihiro Arai||Chevrolet||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||26.767|
|16||Charles Ng||Engstler||BMW 320si||39.298|
|17||Aleksei Dudukalo||Sunred||Sunred SR Leon 1.6T||46.031|
|18||Pepe Oriola||Sunred||Sunred SR Leon 1.6T||+ 5 laps|
|Ret||Hiroki Yoshimoto||Sunred||Sunred SR Leon 1.6T||11 laps|
|NC||Tom Coronel||ROAL||BMW 320 TC||5 laps|
|Ret||Fredy Barth||Sunred||Sunred SR Leon 1.6T||2 laps|
|Ret||Robert Dahlgren||Polestar||Volvo C30 Drive||0 laps|
|Ret||Tiago Monteiro||Sunred||Sunred SR Leon 1.6T||0 laps|