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Tarquini eases to victory at Porto

Gabriele TarquiniGabriele Tarquini converted pole position at Porto into his second World Touring Car victory of the season in today's first race.

The Italian was briefly challenge by Chevrolet's Rob Huff away from the rolling start, but the race was stopped almost immediately as a result of two separate accidents on the opening lap.

Ninth row starters Jaap van Lagen and Sergio Hernandez collided away from the rolling start and the BMW of Hernandez was pitched hard into the barrier. The Spaniard injured his left ankle in the impact and was taken to hospital, although he is not believed to have fractured any bones.

Later on the lap, Augusto Farfus dived inside Tiago Monteiro for sixth place but tagged the back of fifth-placed Menu on the way into the corner. Menu spun into the wall, Farfus escaped unscathed and Monteiro was tagged into the wall by Nicola Larini as the rest of the field tried to pick their way through.

The track was soon blocked and the race was red-flagged while it was cleared, and while the debris from the Hernandez/van Lagen crash was removed.

Tarquini led quite easily from the restart and drew away from Huff during a fairly eventless race to a straightfoward victory.

Andy Priaulx closed in on Yvan Muller for third in the latter stages, but on the last lap he and Jorg Muller (who was running seventh) both slowed and gave places to Farfus.

Farfus had served a drive-through penalty for hitting Menu, but the sacrifices made by his fellow BMW drivers gifted him eighth place and pole position for this afternoon's reverse grid race.

That promoted Monteiro, who had taken the restart from his original grid spot, to fourth behind Yvan Muller, while Nicola Larini, Jordi Gene and Rickard Rydell benefitted from the last lap position-swapping to finish fifth, sixth and seventh.

Stefano D'Aste finished top of the independents in 10th place, comfortably clear of Tom Coronel's SEAT.

James Thompson made it to the flag in 18th place in the new Lada Priora's first race.

Pos Driver                  Car                    Gap
 1. Gabriele Tarquini       SEAT          1h04m11.274s
 2. Rob Huff                Chevrolet           +2.934
 3. Yvan Muller             SEAT                +7.848
 4. Tiago Monteiro          SEAT                +8.472
 5. Nicola Larini           Chevrolet          +15.790
 6. Jordi Gene              SEAT               +16.192
 7. Rickard Rydell          SEAT               +16.640
 8. Augusto Farfus          BMW                +16.975
 9. Andy Priaulx            BMW                +17.791
10. Stefano D'Aste          BMW                +18.216
11. Jorg Muller             BMW                +19.149
12. Alex Zanardi            BMW                +19.442
13. Tom Coronel             SEAT               +33.010
14. Felix Porteiro          BMW                +42.995
15. Tom Boardman            SEAT               +54.702
16. Diego Puyo              SEAT               +54.931
17. Kristian Poulsen        BMW                +55.277
18. James Thompson          Lada               +55.742
19. Kirill Ladygin          Lada             +1:11.955
20. Franz Engstler          BMW                 +1 lap

Retirements

    Alain Menu              Chevrolet           4 laps
    Mehdi Bennani           SEAT                2 laps
    Jaap van Lagen          Lada                0 laps
    Sergio Hernandez        BMW                 0 laps


Fastest lap, Tarquini 2:11.154
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