Brno: Zanardi wins race 1

The BMW cars played with their opposition in the first race at Brno. Taking four of the top five positions the German manufacturer dominated, with only Alain Menu’s Chevrolet in third to upset the party. Alessandro Zanardi took his first win from pole position, but it wasn’t as easy as that. At the start Félix Porteiro came up from third to take the lead into the first corner. Tiago Monteiro clashed with Gabriele Tarquini, which caused him to fall back down the grid. Chevrolet’s Robert Huff also lost places as the race began to settle. James Thompson on the other hand had a good start moving up to sixth to fight with Huff on the first lap and soon managed to overtook him. During the rest of the race Huff lost further positions to Yvan Muller, Augusto Farfus and later Jörg Müller. Another Brit to struggle in the race was Andy Priaulx who, unlike the other BMW cars, seemed to lack pace and ended up battling with the independent drivers in the closing stages.

Zanardi and Porteiro began the race from the front and remained there throughout, ahead of Menu. However, mid way through Porteiro was struggling with understeer and handed the lead to his team-mate who had more speed in his car. The top three drivers edged out a seven second lead over the rest of the field by the checkered flag. Farfus and Jörg Müller who made their way through the field from eighth and fifteenth to finish fourth and fifth demonstrated the potential of the BMW cars.

Yvan Muller who was eighth in race 1 will start from pole, with Thompson alongside him after finishing seventh; while Gabriele Tarquini saved a sixth place that enabled him to stretch his championship lead to 11 points.

The Independents' class was fiercely fought. Pierre-Yves Corthals led them through the first lap but was overtaken by Franz Engstler and Sergio Hernandez, who went on to fight for the win. Hernandez eventually crossed the line ahead, but only just as he had to weave across the line to keep the German behind him. Stefano D'Aste crashed into the barriers on the final lap.



Driver Car Time
1. Alessandro Zanardi BMW 320si 21:55.769
2. Felix Porteiro BMW 320si + 0.825
3. Alain Menu Chevrolet Lacetti + 1.707
4. Augusto Farfus BMW 320si + 9.476
5. Jorg Muller BMW 320si + 12.184
6. Gabriele Tarquini SEAT Leon TDI + 15.840
7. James Thompson Honda Accord Euro R + 16.738
8. Yvan Muller SEAT Leon TDI + 17.577
9. Robert Huff Chevrolet Lacetti + 17.842
10. Rickard Rydell SEAT Leon TDI + 19.573
11. Nicola Larini Chevrolet Lacetti + 25.390
12. Tiago Monteiro SEAT Leon TDI + 30.246
13. Jordi Gene SEAT Leon TDI + 31.226
14. Andy Priaulx BMW 320si + 31.537
15. Sergio Hernandez BMW 320si + 32.234
16. Franz Engstler BMW 320si + 32.351
17. Pierre-Yves Corthals SEAT Leon + 36.882
18. Tom Coronel SEAT Leon + 37.448
19. Oliver Tielemans BMW 320si + 37.576
20. Andrei Romanov BMW 320si + 41.514
21. Jaap Van Lagen Lada 110 + 42.026
22. Michal Matejovsky SEAT Leon + 52.935
23. Alexander Lvov Honda Accord Euro R + 55.257
24. Andrey Smetsky Honda Accord Euro R +1:56.836
25. Stefano D'Aste BMW 320si +1 lap
Driver Car Laps
Viktor Shapovalov Lada 110 4
Ibrahim Okyay BMW 320si 3
Fastest lap: Porteiro, 2:10.108, on lap 10