Alain Menu held on to take a hard-fought win in Race 2

Four races into the 2012 World Touring Car Championship season and someone other than Yvan Muller has won a race. This time is was Muller’s Chevrolet team-mate Alain Menu who did the honours at the second leg of the Race of Spain at Valencia, just holding off Tom Coronel in an eventful race.

Looking an Menu’s race, it’s wonder how he managed to win. He survived a hit up from polesitter Stefano D’Aste, a trip across the gravel he slid on some oil and a contact-filled last lap battle with Coronel. In the end, he claimed his first win since last year’s round at Shanghai by just eight-tenths of a second.

There was drama before the race even began when Gabor Wéber’s BMW conked out on the formation lap.

With this race’s standing start set to favour the rear-wheel-drive BMWs, it was little surprise to see pole-sitter Stefano D’Aste make a rapid getaway in his quest for his first WTCC win, followed by Franz Engstler (up from fourth), Menu and Coronel (up from eighth).

Tom Boardman’s race was over at Turn 2 when his SEAT’s front suspension was damaged after he was caught in the first-lap melee.

By the end of the first lap, Menu had managed to sneak by Engstler and was up to second, while Coronel got past the German on the following lap.

D’Aste headed the field from Menu, Coronel and Engstler – the flamboyant Italian gamely holding off Menu’s attacks, and quickly retook the lead from the Swiss driver when he managed to slip by on Lap 6.

But Menu took the lead for good on the following lap when D’Aste ran fractionally wide at Turn 1, and two tours later, he followed Menu into the gravel when both hit a patch of oil on the circuit.

Coronel and Menu battle it out for the leadCoronel scrambled through to take second place, and he used the remaining laps to bear down on Menu and challenge for the lead.

Coronel managed to get alongside Menu at Turn 8 on the final lap, and the pair touched as Menu tried to defend his position. It was thrilling side-by-side stuff as Menu had a wild slide, nut he held out in the end over Coronel’s pock-marked and scuffed BMW.

D’Aste finished an excellent third ahead of fellow Independent BMW runners Norbert Michelisz and Franz Engstler.

Robert Huff finished in sixth place ahead of the race’s best-placed SEAT driver, Pepe Oriola, with Yvan Muller finishing in eighth. The Frenchman had a rather untidy race – including a trip through the gravel – and chalked up his worst finishing position since 2010 Czech Republic round.


2012 FIA WTCC Race of Spain – Race 2 Final Classification (13 laps):

Driver Team Result YIT
1. Alain Menu SUI RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 23:02.207  
2. Tom Coronel NED ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 0.861  
3. Stefano D’Aste ITA Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC BMW + 1.306 Y
4. Norbert Michelisz HUN Zengõ Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 1.629 Y
5. Franz Engstler DEU Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW + 1.901 Y
6. Robert Huff GBR RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 3.007  
7. Pepe Oriola ESP Tuenti Racing Team SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 5.704 Y
8. Yvan Muller FRA RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 6.368  
9. Gabriele Tarquini ITA Lukoil Racing SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 15.044  
10. Mehdi Bennani MOR Proteam Racing BMW 320TC BMW + 15.306 Y
11. Isaac Tutumlu ESP Proteam Racing BMW 320TC BMW + 19.838 Y
12. Aleksei Dudukalo RUS Lukoil Racing SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 21.166 Y
13. Tiago Monteiro POR Tuenti Racing SR León 1.6T Sunred + 21.865  
14. Alex MacDowell GBR Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 23.167 Y
15. Tom Chilton GBR Team Aon Ford Focus S2000 TC Ford + 25.024  
16. Pasquale di Sabatino ITA Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 27.071 Y
17. Andrea Barlesi BEL SUNRED Engineering SR León 1.6T Sunred + 50.229 Y
18. Fernando Monje ESP SUNRED Engineering SR León 1.6T Sunred + 1:04.377 Y
19. Charles Ka-Ki Ng HKG Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW + 3 laps Y
  NOT CLASSIFIED    
DNF. James Nash GBR Team Aon Ford Focus S2000 TC Ford 8 laps Y
DNF. Darryl O’Young HKG Special Tune Racing SEAT León WTCC SEAT 4 laps Y
DNF. Alberto Cerqui ITA ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW 1 lap Y
DNF. Tom Boardman GBR Special Tune Racing SEAT León TDi SEAT 0 laps Y
DNS. Gábor Wéber HUN Zengõ Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW   Y
  FASTEST RACE LAPS    
  Alain Menu SUI RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 1:44.278  
  Franz Engstler DEU Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW 1:44.602 Y


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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.

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