RML Chevrolet driver Robert Huff has taken his fifth win of the 2011 World Touring Car Championship season as he continues his march towards a maiden Drivers’ Championship title.
And as if to further emphasise the outstanding performance of his Chevrolet Cruze, the Briton headed home a team 1-2-3, with Yvan Muller and Alain Menu completing a ‘bluewash’ of the podium.
Sharing the front row with team-mate Muller, Huff tucked in behind the Frenchman before quickly making his move and taking a lead he wouldn’t lose. Huff did enough to maintain a few car lengths ahead of Muller all the way to the chequered flag, winning by 0.8 seconds.
Behind them, Alain Menu lost a few places in the opening laps before recovering, and then enjoyed an entertaining scrap with Tom Coronel over third place. The battle eventually resolved in Menu’s favour when he overtook the Dutchman in the closing stages of the race.
Coronel then had to fend off the advances of Kristian Poulsen, who was himself being hotly pursued by the impressive Robert Dahlgren in the Volvo.
While Poulsen went on to take the Independent Trophy win with his fifth-placed finish, Dahlgren took an excellent sixth on the C30’s maiden race with the new 1.6-litre turbo, which bodes well for the Swede’s competitiveness at upcoming rounds.
The top-ten was completed by Darryl O’Young, Norbert Michelisz (who stormed through the field after being sent to the back of the grid when his car was found to be underweight by race scrutineers), Javier Villa and Michel Nykjær.
Nykjær was the sole SEAT representative in the points after the opening race, in what many predicted would be a tough weekend for the recently turbo-converted cars.
2011 FIA WTCC Race of Czech Republic Final Classification (Race 1 – 10 laps):
|1.||Robert Huff||RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||21:59.507|
|2.||Yvan Muller||RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 0.858|
|3.||Alain Menu||RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 11.697|
|4.||Tom Coronel||ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC||+ 13.026|
|5.||Kristian Poulsen||Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW 320TC||+ 13.772|
|6.||Robert Dahlgren||Polestar Volvo C30 1.6T ‘Drive’||+ 14.353|
|7.||Darryl O’Young||Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 21.288|
|8.||Norbert Michelisz||Zengõ-Dension Team BMW 320TC||+ 21.584|
|9.||Javier Villa García||Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC||+ 23.436|
|10.||Michel Nykjær||SUNRED SR León 1.6T||+ 23.731|
|11.||Mehdi Bennani||Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC||+ 24.146|
|12.||Tiago Monteiro||SUNRED SR León 1.6T||+ 27.624|
|13.||Pepe Oriola||SUNRED SR León 1.6T||+ 29.796|
|14.||Aleksei Dudukalo||Lukoil-SUNRED SEAT León 2.0 TDI||+ 34.209|
|15.||Yukinori Taniguchi||Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 34.828|
|16.||Franz Engstler||Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW 320TC||+ 39.038|
|17.||Urs Sonderegger||Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC||+ 1:08.893|
|NC.||Gabriele Tarquini||Lukoil-SUNRED SR León 1.6T||6 laps|
|NF.||Fredy Barth||Swiss Racing SR León 1.6T||3 laps|
|Robert Huff||RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||2:10.863|
[Original images via FIA WTCC Media]