Menu In Command In Second Portimao Encounter

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Alain Menu - Photo Credit: WTCC Media

Menu raced as the comic book character Michel Vaillant in Portimao - Photo Credit: WTCC Media

Alain Menu took a dominant victory in the second World Touring Car Championship race in Portimao on Sunday, his third of the season.

Starting on the front row of the reverse grid after only managing the ninth-fastest time in the final part of qualifying, Menu got the jump on polesitter Pepe Oriola to lead through the first corner. From there on he was unchallenged, opening up a six second lead within four laps, before easing off at the end to win by 3.2s.

Tom Coronel got a traditionally fast launch at the standing start in his rear-wheel-drive BMW, and took advantage of that to get ahead of Oriola's SEAT on the opening lap. Oriola regained the place two laps later, and the 17-year-old then held on to claim his first ever overall podium finish.

Coronel's ROAL Motorsport teammate Alberto Cerqui held fourth early on, but would be initially overhauled by the three-way battle emerging between big guns Gabriele Tarquini, Yvan Muller and Rob Huff.

That trio would end up making contact on lap eight of 11, when Muller got by Tarquini and the Italian veteran tried to cut back down the inside of the next corner. As he did so however, he drove across the front of Huff's car. That knocked the SEAT sideways, and as Tarquini got it pointing back in the right direction he tagged Muller in front. That in turn put the Frenchman sideways, with Cerqui benefiting from all this to regain fourth place.

Huff also capitalised to move ahead of Muller, taking Cerqui for fourth on lap nine before Muller also passed the young Italian on the penultimate tour. Tarquini was forced to retire to the pits.

Alex MacDowall was seventh and just ahead of local hero Tiago Monteiro, with Franz Engstler and Norbert Michelisz completing the top ten in their BMWs. James Thompson completed the second weekend for the Lada Granta in 11th.

The European leg of the season is now complete, with Muller on 245 points and Huff on 227 with Menu well in contention on 210. Curitiba in Brazil is the first of five overseas destinations, on 22 July.

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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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