James Thompson has won Honda's first-ever World Touring Car race after a charging drive to victory in the second race of the day at Imola.

Having shown considerable pace in the first race, Thompson battled up from sixth on the grid as he took advantage of his lightweight Accord Euro R around the revised high-speed San Marino circuit.

A massive boost for the N.Technology team that took a risk in switching from the ageing Alfa Romeo 156 to the Accord this season, Thompson was in fine form at the start of the race as he immediately battled his way up to third place.

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Jorg Muller had led away, closely followed by Nicola Larini, but the field was bunched up again behind the safety car to clear up the mess caused by an accident between Gabriele Tarquini and Felix Porteiro.

Tarquini stalled on the line, causing him to be collected by the unsighted Porteiro. Both cars were badly damaged and Tarquini was taken to the medical centre for checks.

From the restart, Thompson wasted little time in dispatching Larini and he was soon on the back of Muller as they rounded the new 1km straight down to the first corner. With his superior straight line speed, Muller didn't defend and allowed Thompson to sweep through into the lead.

Untroubled to the chequered flag, the win is Thompson's fourth WTCC triumph, while Honda's win makes them only the fifth manufacturer to win a race at this level.

Muller held on for second place on what proved to be an otherwise dismal weekend for BMW, while Rob Huff secured a fine podium finish, a result that puts him well within the fight for the title with just six races remaining.

Larini crossed the line fourth, ahead of race one winner and championship leader Yvan Muller, while Rickard Rydell made it two SEATs in the top eight in sixth.

Andy Priaulx won just two points for his efforts over the day after passing Augusto Farfus on the final lap, while the Brazilian completed the top eight.

Sergio Hernandez, meanwhile, extended his Independents' Trophy lead with a double win in the Proteam BMW. He finished ninth overall, with Pierre-Yves Corthals and Franz Engstler second and third in class.