14 July 2007
Porto 2007: First win of season for Priaulx.
Andy Priaulx helped BMW recover from a potentially disastrous weekend by scoring a victory in the second WTCC race of the day around the streets of Porto, while team-mate Jorg Muller ensured a somewhat unlikely 1-2 result just behind.
Overshadowed by Chevrolet and SEAT throughout the weekend, BMW threw their weight – literally – behind the second race in an attempt to make up for their relative lack of pace by controlling the race on a circuit that had already prompted various clashes when overtaking was attempted.
Indeed, with Muller and Priaulx annexing the front row, both drivers used their superior ability off the line to surge into an early lead, with Tom Coronel settling into third position, ahead of Yvan Muller, Gabriele Tarqini, Nicola Larini, Alain Menu and Augusto Farfus, Menu having been forced to fight his way past the fast-starting Farfus midway round the opening lap.
What followed was an entertaining scrap amongst the Chevrolets and their opposition, Larini, Menu and Rob Huff once again revealing exactly why the Lacetti has dominated the weekend thus far.
With Coronel not quite able to keep up with the BMWs and instead backing the sister SEATs of Muller and Tarquini into Larini, the inevitable began to occur when Larini pulled alongside his countryman and nipped through with a tight, but classic overtaking move.
Menu didn't take long to follow suit and with Muller also unable to resist the advances of the surging duo, Larini and Menu were fourth and fifth by the end of the sixth lap, while Huff was following closely in seventh too having gotten by Farfus and Tarquini himself.
Up at the front meanwhile, and almost missed amongst the entertainment a bit further behind, Priaulx was now leading Muller after the German made a small mistake and slid wide into one of the circuit's punishing walls. Destroying his door mirror, Priaulx wasted no time in profiting, diving up the inside and moving ahead.
His hopes of pulling away though were dashed a lap later when the safety car was deployed to clear up the mess from Miguel Freitas' Racing for Belgium Alfa Romeo 156, heavily damaged when he ran wide and swiped the wall, ripping the front wheel of his car and spraying the tarmac with debris.
Although the SEAT road car could be attributed for leading the majority of the races this weekend, it was thankfully only needed for a relatively meagre three laps as marshals worked to clear the stricken car.
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