Yvan Muller kicked off his championship defence in appropriate style by winning the opening race of the 2012 World Touring Car Championship season, staging a hard-charging drive to claim the lead and win an incident-filled race at Monza.
Not everyone was so lucky, and a tap from Norbert Michelisz was enough to see the luckless Tiago Monteiro eliminated from the race.
Further around the lap, the Chevrolets of Robert Huff and Alain Menu made contact at Lesmo 1 while disputing third place. This pitched Menu well into the kitty litter and down the order, while Huff was able to scramble back onto the track a little more quickly, only losing a couple of spots.
The main beneficiary was Rickard Rydell – making his return to the WTCC with a one-off drive with Chevrolet Motorsports Sweden – who jumped into third, while Tom Coronel claimed fourth ahead of Huff.
The first lap still had to be completed, and it was Muller who claimed the lead from Tarquini under braking for the Parabolica. His lead lasted just a few hundred metres before he out-braked himself at the start of the second lap, ceding his position back to the Italian after shortcutting the chicane.
Two laps later, Tarquini momentarily ran wide at Lesmo 2 on Isaac Tutumlu’s oil, and that was all the invitation Muller needed to snatch back the lead.
Tarquini would hold off Rydell for third place, while Coronel was the best-placed BMW driver in fifth, ahead of the best-placed Independent Trophy driver, Pepe Oriola in the SEAT.
2012 FIA WTCC Race of Italy – Race 1 Final Classification (12 laps):
|1.||Yvan Muller||RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||26:01.705|
|2.||Robert Huff||RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 0.446|
|3.||Gabriele Tarquini||Lukoil Racing SEAT León 1.6T||+ 2.305|
|4.||Rickard Rydell||Chevrolet Sweden Cruze 1.6T||+ 2.745|
|5.||Tom Coronel||ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC||+ 3.796|
|6.||Pepe Oriola||Tuenti Racing Team SEAT León 1.6T||+ 6.111||Y|
|7.||Alain Menu||RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 6.326|
|8.||Alex MacDowell||Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 8.287||Y|
|9.||Norbert Michelisz||Zengõ Motorsport BMW 320TC||+ 8.431||Y|
|10.||Alberto Cerqui||ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC||+ 9.257||Y|
|11.||Stefano D’Aste||Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC||+ 9.465||Y|
|12.||Franz Engstler||Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC||+ 12.082||Y|
|13.||Tom Chilton||Team Aon Ford Focus S2000 TC||+ 12.668|
|14.||Pasquale di Sabatino||Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||+ 15.886||Y|
|15.||Charles Ka-Ki Ng||Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC||+ 48.135||Y|
|16.||James Nash||Team Aon Ford Focus S2000 TC||+ 56.503||Y|
|17.||Gábor Wéber||Zengõ Motorsport BMW 320TC||+ 1 lap||Y|
|18.||Aleksei Dudukalo||Lukoil Racing SEAT León 1.6T||+ 2 laps||Y|
|DNF.||Isaac Tutumlu||Proteam Racing BMW 320TC||2 laps||Y|
|DNF.||Andrea Barlesi||SUNRED Engineering SEAT León TDi||1 lap||Y|
|DNF.||Mehdi Bennani||Proteam Racing BMW 320TC||1 lap||Y|
|DNF.||Tiago Monteiro||Tuenti Racing SEAT León TDi||0 laps|
|DNS.||Darryl O’Young||Special Tune Racing SEAT León 1.6T||Y|
|FASTEST RACE LAPS|
|Rickard Rydell||Chevrolet Sweden Cruze 1.6T||1:59.116|
|Pepe Oriola||Tuenti Racing Team SEAT León 1.6T||1:59.873||Y|