The ultimate fight for the 2012 WTCC title has begun and Yvan Muller was the first victim. The reigning champion retired after an incident at the start, while his Chevrolet team-mates Alain Menu and Rob Huff finished first and second.
This gave Huff a 16-point lead in the championship ahead of Muller, while Menu is third only a further 12 points adrift.
Stefano D’Aste completed the podio and claimed a crucial win in the Yokohama Trophy, as he considerably closed the gap from Norbert Michelisz and Pepe Oriola who remained both scoreless.
The race provided plenty of excitement and a number of players were involved in different incidents.
Tom Coronel and Gabriele Tarquini fought for fourth place and finished in the order, while Tom Boardman achieved a brilliant sixth, followed by a determined Tiago Monteiro and Colin Turkington who recovered after the collision at the start.
Albert Cerqui and Fredy Barth rounded off the top ten.
Start – Menu takes the lead from pole; Huff dives on the inside of Muller
Lap 1 – Muller clashes with Michelisz and spins at Turn 3; MacDowall, Turkington, O’Young, Oriola and Coronel are involved in the pile up
Lap 1 – Tarquini overtakes Coronel and Oriola for fourth
Lap 2 – Michelisz and Bennani overtake Nash for 11th
Lap 3 – Boardman overtakes Oriola for sixth; Monteiro overtakes Bennani for ninth
Lap 4 – Coronel overtakes Tarquini for third; Barth overtakes Oriola for seventh
Lap 5 – Monteiro overtakes Oriola for eighth; Michelisz is given a drive through for the incident with Muller
Lap 7 – Monteiro overtakes Barth for seventh
Lap 9 – Turkington overtakes Cerqui and Barth for eighth
Lap 10 – Bennani overtakes Engstler for 11th
Y. Muller: race incident; A. MacDowall: DNC, race incident; D. O’Young: DNC, race incident; J. Nash: engine; F. Monje: race