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Farfus keeps title hopes alive with victory

1 November 2009

Augusto Farfus ensured that the fight for the 2009 World Touring Car Championship title will be a three-way affair on the streets of Macau with victory in the second race of the weekend at Okayama.

The Brazilian started the race from pole position thanks to his eighth place finish in race one and mastered the tricky conditions caused by torrential rain at the Japanese circuit to take a win which ensures BMW retains hopes of securing the drivers' title in the season finale.

Farfus led from start-to-finish after getting the best start when the lights went out, and was aided by incidents at the start which allowed race one winner Andy Priaulx to come through from eighth on the grid to second on the opening lap – and then take on the role of rear gunner.

Off the start, fellow BMW driver Jorg Muller had made a fine getaway but then got pushed onto the grass going into turn one and slid into the SEAT of Tiago Monteiro, with Jordi Gene and points leader Gabriele Tarquini amongst the drivers to also run off track. A number of drivers further down the field also slid wide at turn two in the tricky conditions.

The opening lap incidents also allowed defending champion Yvan Muller to move up to third place and he ran in the position throughout behind the BMW pair, with Alain Menu slotting into fourth on the opening lap. The top four would remain static for the remainder of the race, with the main concern for Farfus coming when backmarker Kristian Poulsen suffered a spin coming out of the final corner just as he was about to be lapped – although the cars behind were able to avoid the Dane.

Despite his off track excursion, Gene ran fifth through the early stages of the race but following another trip into the gravel which dropped him behind Nicola Larini later in the race, the Spaniard slowed – as did Rickard Rydell – to aid Tarquini's title challenge.

The Italian had dropped down as far as 16th but battled his way up the order in tandem with the Chevrolet of Rob Huff, with the Briton having also lost time on lap one. With Gene and Rydell both slowing on the final lap, Huff was able to take sixth ahead of Tarquini, with Rydell scoring the final point in eighth. As a result, Tarquini will take a two point lead over team-mate Muller to the season finale in Macau later this month.

Jorg Muller's indiscretion on the opening lap not only saw him lose places but also saw the German hit with a drive-through penalty and a disappointing 17th place finish while a race that had promised much ultimately delivered nothing for the factory LADA team despite a strong showing early on.

Jaap van Lagen had come through the first lap carnage to climb to sixth place and was the quickest driver on track at one point but the Dutchman was forced to pit and retire just a lap after team-mate James Thompson, who had also been running inside the top eight.

Stefano D'Aste took victory amongst the Independent runners in tenth overall.

To view results, CLICK HERE.


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