Robert Huff has taken his first victory of the 2010 World Touring Car Championship season with a lights-to-flag win in the opening race of the Brno round.
Further boosting his still-alive championship aspirations, the Briton took the maximum points haul while his championship-leading team-mate Yvan Muller failed to net a single point after an early-race accident.
Huff kept his pole position advantage by leading the pack away at the rolling start and into Turn 1, fending off any advances from Gabriele Tarquini’s SEAT. Augusto Farfus managed to leapfrog Colin Turkington’s BMW into Turn 1, while Menu took third.
But a first-lap accident would compress the field, by dint of fellow BMW driver Andy Priaulx triggering a multi-car accident when he touched Tom Coronel’s SEAT at Turn 4, which caused the Dutchman to retire alongside his team-mate Jordi Gené – the Spaniard’s wretched season continuing its theme once again.
Also involved were Kristian Poulsen and Fredy Barth, although they would continue without damage.
The race restarted after a two-lap Safety Car interruption, and immediately there was more drama when Turkington and Nortert Michelisz touched into Turn 1, with Turkington running straight on and collecting Yvan Muller, who was an innocent victim in the accident. Michelisz would retire on the spot, while Muller was able to limp to the pits with damaged steering.
Turkington was able to continue in fourth place, although he was now well behind the lead four drivers and having to fend off the overtures of Michel Nykjær and Tiago Monteiro.
Staging another impressive recovery driver was Priaulx, who climbed through the field and managed to pass Monteiro and Nykjær, before Turkington slowed on the final lap to let his fellow BMW driver take fifth and the extra championship points for his title aspirations.
Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet driver Darryl O’Young seemingly took the Independents’ Trophy victory and pole position for the second race of the day by finishing an impressive eighth, just managing to hold off Kristian Poulsen. However, O’Young was issued with a 30-second time penalty at the end of the Brno event, dropping him from 8th to 17th in the final classification.
WTCC Brno Race 1 Final Classification (12 laps):
* Denotes a 30-second time penalty applied post-race for causing an avoidable collision with Tiago Monteiro.
[Original image via FIA WTCC official site]