Augusto Farfus was in imperious form as he rocketed to his and BMW's first World Touring Car Championship victory of the season around the streets of Pau.

In a race that was devoid of barely any action as the drivers adopted caution around the French circuit's tight confines, the big headline to come out of the race was Farfus' 18 second margin at the end of just 20 laps.

Most of the drama came into the opening seconds as Alain Menu was tapped into a spin by a bunched up Alex Zanardi at the Lycee hairpin on the first lap. With the Menu and Zanardi getting pushed around by the following pack and allowing just the top nine drivers to scamper away, the blocked circuit duly prompted the red flags.

With the second start delayed, there seemed to be some confusion as to whether the new grid lined up as they were, or whether they reverted back to their original slots. Indeed, on the safety car led lap, Menu was back up into tenth, but Monteiro - who started ninth - was down in 14th.

Nonetheless, Farfus resumed his place at the front and immediately galloped away from the pursuing SEATs, still lead by Yvan Muller. In the bustle of the start, Jordi Gene and Gabriele Tarquini held third and fourth, but Rob Huff had leapfrogged Rickard Rydell for fifth, while Nicola Larini was also up to seventh in place of Andy Priaulx.

From here though the race settled into a procession, the only threat of a significant pass coming at Lycee, although even this was restricted to the odd minor look down the inside.

Instead, Farfus kept the crowd entertained by letting them guess what his advantage over Muller would be when he came round to start another lap. Indeed, the Brazilian was almost five seconds up the road after just four laps, extending that advantage to ten seconds after ten laps.

And that is how it stayed. Farfus backed off towards the end of the race, but still wound up an 18 second winner over Muller, who resisted a late charge by Gene to claim his second podium of the season.

In the end, only Huff provided a change of order in the top ten, the Brit finally sneaking past Tarquini on the final lap having spent the length of the race harassing the back of the SEAT.

Rydell finished sixth to complete another good race for the Spanish marque, ahead of Nicola Larini. The Italian will share the second race front row with Andy Priaulx after the Brit held off the race long advances of team-mate Jorg Muller to score the all-important eighth place.

Just outside the points, Menu recovered to tenth, sans his rear bumper, just ahead of James Thompson, who posed a good challenge early on by setting the third fastest lap of the race, but would ultimately fade to 11th.

In the Independents Trophy, Laurent Cazaneve scored a surprise maiden victory for Weichers-Sport, the Pau resident making the most of retirements for Oscar Nogues and Pierre-Yves Corthals, the latter having been caught up in the first lap pile-up.

Sergio Hernandez was second, the Spaniard proving the only driver to really progress up the order with measured moves on Franz Engstler and Stefano D'Aste.


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