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Larini takes maiden WTCC win
3 May 2009
Nicola Larini has secured his maiden win in the World Touring Car Championship after sealing victory in the second race on the streets of Marrakech.
Having been the only Chevrolet driver yet to secure a victory in the series, Larini finally broke his duck with a solid display in the second race to take the chequered flag ahead of Yvan Muller and race one winner Rob Huff as Chevrolet secured a double win from the African weekend.
Larini had been hunting down Jorg Muller through the early laps and survived contact with team-mate Alain Menu early on after outbraking himself into turn one while battling the BMW man for the lead – clipping Menu's car as he returned to the circuit and forcing the Swiss driver to pit.
From then, Larini continued to harry Muller until the German made a small error and clipped the wall exiting the final corner, allowing Larini, Yvan Muller and Huff to all get ahead on the long start-finish straight.
From that point onwards, Larini was able to pull away to secure victory, while Muller produced an impressive defensive drive to ensure that Huff remained behind in third.
Jorg Muller managed to finish fourth ahead of Gabriele Tarquini and Augusto Farfus, while Tiago Monteiro and Franz Engstler picked up the final points; the latter also taking Independent honours.
The Independent win had looked like going to local driver Mehdi Bennani before he made an error and outbraked himself at one of the chicanes to run wide – doing the same as Andy Priaulx had done seconds earlier. Bennani had to settle for third in class at the end with Engstler and Tom Coronel both getting ahead when he made his error.
Priaulx himself returned to the pits to retire in the closing laps, while a number of other drivers also ran into problems and failed to make it to the finish.
Rickard Rydell and Alex Zanardi failed to make it to the grid for the race after problems in race one, while Jordi Gene was pushed off the grid after running into problems.
A multi-car accident saw Kristian Poulsen, George Tanev and Sergio Hernandez forced out and led to the deployment of the Safety Car, while Vitor Postiglione and Viktor Shapovalov both went off into the wall.
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