Alain Menu has claimed a dominant win in Race 2 at Portugal

Alain Menu – or should that be Michel Vaillante? – has continued the Chevrolet team’s fine 2012 championship form by winning the second and final World Touring Car Championship race at Portugal.

The Swiss driver cruised to a dominant win in the reverse-grid race, grabbing the lead from SEAT pole-sitter Pepe Oriola to beat the Spaniard home by 3.2 seconds. Tom Coronel claimed the final podium spot in his ROAL Motorsports BMW.

The result allowed Menu to close back up to Chevrolet team-mates Robert Huff and Yvan Muller in the Drivers’ Championship race, with the pair finishing off the podium in fourth and fifth places respectively.

Pepe Oriola finished a career-best second placeSeventeen-year-old Oriola delivered a performance that belied his tender years to finish a career-best second and claim another Independent Trophy class win in his SEAT. The Spaniard fell to third behind Menu and Coronel at the end of the opening lap, but he redressed the balance by passing Coronel on Lap 2.

Unable to close down the gap to Menu – who built himself a six-second lead within the first three laps – he steadied his pace to claim a well-earned podium.

Behind Coronel, the battle for fourth place raged between Race 1 winner Muller, team-mate Huff and the SEAT of Gabriele Tarquini, Tarquini ran ahead of the pair in the initial stages, but it was Muller who tried to get by with a bold move into Turn 1 on Lap 7.

Aggressive as ever in defending his position, Tarquini’s efforts went awry when he took too much kerb at Turn 1, bounced onto two wheels and let Muller slip through. With his corner exit compromised, he was vulnerable to Huff at the following corner.

Huff tags Tarquini and tips him into a half-spinAgain trying to cover his line, Tarquini was tapped at the rear by Huff and pitched into a half-spin, which Muller did well to avoid despite losing his position to Huff, who gained two spots in the confusion.

Tarquini pitted and retired with rear suspension damage at the end of the lap, while Huff did well to avoid any post-race sanction from the FIA Stewards.

Muller would battle to the finish line to claim fifth place, finishing just metres ahead of the fast-closing Alberto Cerqui, who was enjoying the best performance of his brief WTCC career. The Italian was unable to find a way by the wily Muller and had to settle for sixth place.


2012 FIA WTCC Race of Portugal – Race 2 Final Classification (11 laps):

Driver Team Result YIT
1. Alain Menu SUI RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet 21:34.180  
2. Pepe Oriola ESP Tuenti Racing Team SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 3.200 Y
3. Tom Coronel NED ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 5.160  
4. Robert Huff GBR RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 6.961  
5. Yvan Muller FRA RML Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 8.280  
6. Alberto Cerqui ITA ROAL Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 8.626 Y
7. Alex MacDowell GBR Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 15.007 Y
8. Tiago Monteiro POR Tuenti Racing SR León 1.6T Sunred + 15.874  
9. Franz Engstler DEU Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW + 16.264 Y
10. Norbert Michelisz HUN Zengõ Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 18.128 Y
11. James Thompson GBR TMS LADA Granta Sport WTCC Lada + 19.832  
12. Gábor Wéber HUN Zengõ Motorsport BMW 320TC BMW + 23.542 Y
13. Darryl O’Young HKG Special Tune Racing SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 28.326 Y
14. Charles Ka-Ki Ng HKG Liqui Moly Engstler BMW 320TC BMW + 28.581 Y
15. Tom Chilton GBR Team Aon Ford Focus S2000 TC Ford + 30.552  
16. Aleksei Dudukalo RUS Lukoil Racing SEAT León WTCC SEAT + 50.602 Y
17. Pasquale di Sabatino ITA Bamboo Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T Chevrolet + 1 lap Y
18. Stefano D’Aste ITA Wiechers-Sport BMW 320TC BMW + 1 lap Y
  Not Classified    
NF. Gabriele Tarquini ITA Lukoil Racing SEAT León WTCC SEAT 8 laps  
NF. James Nash GBR Team Aon Ford Focus S2000 TC Ford 7 laps  
NF. Mehdi Bennani MOR Proteam Racing BMW 320TC BMW 3 laps Y
NF. Tom Boardman GBR Special Tune Racing SEAT León WTCC SEAT 2 laps 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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