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Priaulx wins dramatic opener

23 May 2010

Andy Priaulx secured a surprise victory for BMW in the opening World Touring Car Championship race of the weekend at Monza after long-time leaders Gabriele Tarquini and Rob Huff both suffered punctures on the final lap.

Tarquini had taken the lead at the start of lap two from Huff, who had secured the advantage heading into turn one for the first time. The pair then pulled away at the front of the field and Tarquini looked set to take a home win at the wheel of his SEAT Leon before suffering a front-left puncture approaching the Ascari chicane.

That allowed Huff through into the lead but he then suffered a puncture exiting the corner with the two ailing cars heading down the back straight as the chasing pack closed in.

Huff's tyre let go in dramatic fashion but he retained the lead from Tarquini turning into the Parabolica due to yellow flags for the Chevrolet of Leonel Pernia which had earlier gone off into the gravel.

Once out of the yellow flags, Priaulx was able to move past both Tarquini and Huff into the lead and took the chequered flag ahead of team-mate Augusto Farfus for a BMW 1-2 with Huff somehow managing to get over the line in third.

The bottleneck caused by the yellow flag and slow cars allowed Yvan Muller to take fourth ahead of Tom Coronel and Fredy Barth, with Tarquini only able to manage seventh. That will at least put him on the front row for race two alongside pole man Michel Nykjaer.

Tiago Monteiro took ninth ahead of the Independent winner Mehdi Bennani in tenth.

Alain Menu suffered more bad luck after a collision with Norbert Michelisz forced him to pit with a loose bonnet while Independents polesitter Darryl O'Young failed to finish after an incident with Kristian Poulsen on the opening lap.


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