Tarquini eases to victory at Porto
|By Steven English||Sunday, July 5th 2009, 11:49 GMT|
Gabriele 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