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Yvan Muller has closed the gap on Jose Maria Lopez in the World Touring Car Championship standings after a controlling run to victory in the first race of the day at the Salzburgring.

Starting from an inherited pole position after original pace setter Gianni Morbidelli was demoted to fifth place for a yellow flag infringement, Muller got away well enough from the front to hold firm into turn one.

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From here, the Frenchman wouldn't be troubled as he steadily extended his lead over the competition, which was initially led by Lopez, the Argentine having climbed from fourth to second on the opening lap.

However, the championship leader's hopes of victory would disappear on lap seven when he out-braked himself into turn one, dropping him to third position behind an inspired Tom Coronel, the Dutchman proceeding to make his slower Chevrolet wide enough to resist the attentions of Lopez to the chequered flag.

The results means Muller has regained second place in the standings, 16 points behind Lopez and ahead of Sebastien Loeb.

Loeb, meanwhile, arguably managed the best start from second on the grid, only to get baulked at the first turn and demoted to fourth place, where he would remain to the chequered flag.

A fairly processional race, Tiago Monteiro benefited from a strong start to finish in fifth place for Honda, resisting a train of Tom Chilton, Mehdi Bennani, Gabriele Tarquini and Norbert Michelisz from start-to-finish.

Morbidelli, meanwhile, went in the other direction at the start, slipping to tenth place after the first corners to complete a disappointing race he was originally set to start from pole.