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Menu wins again at Brands
19 July 2009
Alain Menu has secured a World Touring Car Championship win at Brands Hatch for the fourth successive season after picking up victory in the opening race of the weekend.
Menu headed a Chevrolet one-two in the race as the championship battle was thrown wide open thanks to a rare retirement for points leader – and defending champion – Yvan Muller.
A brief rain shower before the start meant drivers had to be careful on the opening laps and Rob Huff got ahead of Menu at the start through Paddock Hill Bend, but the Safety Car was soon called when Muller ran into the back of Augusto Farfus at Druids and was then hit by the BMW of Felix Porteiro – damaging the front wheel of the SEAT Leon TDi and putting Muller out. Independent runner Norbert Michelisz was also forced out after being hit in the melee, damaging his rear suspension and forcing him to spin off.
After the restart, Menu was able to get ahead and opened up a lead before a second Safety Car period when Tommy Rustad, Sergio Hernandez and Franz Engstler got together at Graham Hill Bend. Having kept the lead at the restart, Menu edged out an advantage he would retain to the finish ahead of Huff.
Huff didn't have it easy as he came under immense pressure from Andy Priaulx in the closing stages, with the BMW driver having overcome the challenge of Gabriele Tarquini – with the pair swapping positions before Priaulx eventually secured his place on the podium.
Tarquini had to settle for fourth ahead of SEAT team-mate Rickard Rydell, with Jorg Muller battling through to sixth place after a grid penalty had forced him to start from 13th. Tiago Monteiro was seventh ahead of Farfus, who produced another stunning recovery drive to come through from the back of the field into the points and secure pole for the second race.
Stefano D'Aste took Independent honours in ninth place ahead of Tom Coronel and Tom Boardman.
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