Alain Menu won Race 1

A win in the opening World Touring Car Championship race at Porto has helped Alain Menu close the points gap to team-mate and championship leader Robert Huff, after the Swiss driver took a lights-to-flag victory as the RML Chevrolet squad locked out the podium.

The veteran Menu finished ahead of defending champion Yvan Muller and team-mate Huff in a formation finish for the all-conquering Chevrolet Cruze.

At the rolling start that greeted today’s first of two eleven-lap races, Menu led from the off with his team-mates behind, but Huff momentarily came under pressure when tapped by Gabriele Tarquini on the opening lap.

Tarquini’s contact allowed his fellow SEAT runner (and hometown hero) Tiago Monteiro to nip through for fourth place.

The opening lap also saw a collision between the SEATs of Fredy Barth and Aleksei Dudukalo. Barth appeared to be tapped into a spin by Javier Villa’s BMW, only to be collected by an unsighted Dudukalo, who was out on the spot. Barth managed to limp back to the pits for repairs.

The Barth-Villa incident was under investigation by the stewards, but Villa succeeded in avoiding a pit-lane penalty when he crashed out of the race on lap 7 as he tried to chase down Kristian Poulsen. The Spanish rookie hit the barriers at the Turn 7 chicane.

Behind the top-five, Tom Coronel finished as the best-placed BMW, while Robert Dahlgren finished seventh in his Volvo C30. The top-ten was completed by Norbert Michelisz – winner of the Independents’ Trophy category in this race – Michel Nykjær and Stefano D’Aste, in a race was not surprisingly devoid of any real overtaking.

D’Aste will start this afternoon’s race from pole position, and the Italian will be hoping he can take a fairytale victory on his return to the championship.



2011 FIA WTCC Race of Portugal Final Classification (Race 1 – 11 laps):

Driver Team Result
1. Alain Menu SUI RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 11.697
2. Yvan Muller FRA RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 1.262
3. Robert Huff GBR RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 1.519
4. Tiago Monteiro POR SUNRED SR León 1.6T Sunred + 5.710
5. Gabriele Tarquini ITA Lukoil-SUNRED SR León 1.6T Sunred + 10.457
6. Tom Coronel NED ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 12.237
7. Robert Dahlgren SWE Polestar Volvo C30 1.6T ‘Drive’ Volvo + 16.693
8. Norbert Michelisz HUN Zengõ-Dension Team BMW 320TC BMW + 17.256
9. Michel Nykjær DEN SUNRED SR León 1.6T Sunred + 17.724
10. Stefano D’Aste ITA Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC BMW + 18.232
12. Franz Engstler DEU Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW 320TC BMW + 20.360
13. Darryl O’Young HKG Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 25.778
14. Pepe Oriola ESP SUNRED SR León 1.6T Sunred + 27.343
15. Kristian Poulsen* DEN Liqui Moly Team Engstler BMW 320TC BMW + 48.801
16. Yukinori Taniguchi JPN Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 55.046
17. Mehdi Bennani** MOR Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC BMW + 56.084
NF. Javier Villa García ESP Scuderia Proteam BMW 320TC BMW 6 laps
NC. Fredy Barth SUI Swiss Racing SR León 1.6T Sunred 3 laps
NF. Aleksei Dudukalo RUS Lukoil-SUNRED SEAT León 2.0 TDI SEAT 0 laps
  Alain Menu SUI RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 2:06.815

* Denotes a 30-second penalty applied post-race for cutting a chicane and failing to redress the advantage gained.
** Denotes a 30-second time penalty for causing an avoidable collision

[Original images via FIA WTCC Media]

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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.