Robert Huff has continued his charge towards securing second place in the Drivers’ Championship standings by winning the opening race of the World Touring Car Huff led the field at the rolling start and was never headedChampionship in Macau.

The Chevrolet driver led a team 1-2 with team-mate Yvan Muller finishing in second place, with the result securing Chevrolet its first ever Manufacturers’ Championship crown in the WTCC.

Huff made a clean getaway from pole position at the rolling race start, but behind him, chaos immediately reigned supreme courtesy of multi-car collision at the first corner between Andy Priaulx, André Couto and Michel Nykjær, which brought out the Safety Car.

Alain Menu also had a moment under braking for Lisboa, nudging the barriers and losing several positions before he could rejoin.

The multi-car accident took four laps to clear before racing could resume once again, and Huff immediately began to pull away once again.

Under braking for the Lisboa right-hander, Tom Coronel biffed his SEAT into the back of Darryl O’Young’s Chevrolet Lacetti, which pushed the Independent Trophy challenger into a spin and straight into the path of Fredy Barth’s SEAT. Both were out on the spot, seriously damaging O’Young’s championship hopes and rightfully earning Coronel a drive-through penalty for his troubles.

Meanwhile, at the front, Huff continued along his merry way, pulling out a two-second gap to Muller, who had the SEAT of Tiago Monteiro shadowing his every move but unable to find a way past.

Behind them, there was an exciting battle for fourth place between Augusto Farfus and Gabriele Tarquini. Tarquini would eventually get the better of Farfus – who was struggling with tyre wear – on lap eight, and Farfus would lose another position to Norbert Michelisz on the following lap.

Menu recovered well to finish seventh after his opening-lap error, while Kristian Poulsen continued his fine end-of-season form to finish eight and take outright victory in the Independent Trophy class. Barring any mechanical misadventures, the Dane will start from pole position for the afternoon’s reverse-grid race, and put himself in prime position to mount a last-race challenge for the Independent Trophy championship, with current title leader Sergio Hernández (eleventh overall) only finishing fourth in class.

WTCC Macau Race 1 Final Classification (11 laps):

  Driver   Team Result Grid
1. Robert Huff GBR RML Chevrolet Cruze LT 35:34.840 1
2. Yvan Muller FRA RML Chevrolet Cruze LT + 0.366 2
3. Tiago Monteiro POR SR Sport SEAT León TDI + 0.631 4
4. Gabriele Tarquini ITA SR Sport SEAT León TDI + 0.909 6
5. Norbert Michelisz HUN Zengö-Dension SEAT León TDI + 1.306 7^
6. Augusto Farfus BRA RBM Team BMW 320si + 1.967 5
7. Alain Menu SUI RML Chevrolet Cruze LT + 2.564 3
8. Kristian Poulsen (I) DEN Poulsen Motorsport BMW 320si + 2.823 21
9. Franz Engstler (I) DEU Team Engstler BMW 320si + 3.503 16
10. Mehdi Bennani (I) MOR Wiechers Sport BMW 320si + 3.998 22^
11. Sergio Hernández (I) ESP Scuderia Proteam BMW 320si + 4.614 14
12. Tom Coronel NED SR Sport SEAT León TDI + 4.770 13
13. Yukinori Taniguchi (I) JPN Bamboo Chevrolet Lacetti + 8.465 20
14. César Campaniço (I) POR Novadriver Total BMW 320si + 8.961 18
15. Andrei Romanov (I) RUS Team Engstler BMW 320si + 9.439 25*
16. Nobuteru Taniguchi (I) JPN Scuderia Proteam BMW 320si + 13.059 17
17. Kevin Chen (I) TWN Scuderia Proteam BMW 320si + 24.421 23^
18. Philip Ma (I) HKG Jacob & Co Honda Accord Euro + 26.043 26*
19. Joseph Merszei (I) MAC Team Engstler BMW 320si + 27.592 24*
20. Masaki Kano (I) JPN Team Engstler BMW 320si + 1 lap 27*
21. Henry Ho (I) MAC Ho Chun Kei BMW 320si + 3 laps 19
  Not Classified        
NC Andy Priaulx GBR RBM Team BMW 320si + 4 laps 8
NF Darryl O’Young (I) HKG Bamboo Chevrolet Lacetti 4 laps 9
NF Fredy Barth SUI SUNRED SEAT León TDI 4 laps 11
NF Colin Turkington GBR AVIVA-COFCO WSR BMW 320si 4 laps 15
NF André Couto MAC SR Sport SEAT León TDI 0 laps 10
NF Michel Nykjær DEN SUNRED SEAT León TDI 0 laps 12

* Qualified outside 107% of Q1 pole position time; Race Stewards granted permission to compete in the race
^ Five-place grid penalty awarded by Race Stewards

[Original images via FIA WTCC official site]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.