Gabriele Tarquini has taken his and Honda's first win of the 2013 FIA World Touring Car Championship after dominating race one at the Slovakia Ring. Tarquini's Castrol JAS Honda Racing team-mate Tiago Monteiro fended off Norbert Michelisz to take the runners-up spot as the Japanese manufacturer locked-out the top three.
Touring Car legend Tarquini also had the honour of smashing the lap record as he and Honda took control of the race, with Yvan Muller occasionally in camera shot as the three Honda's led the way.
Monteiro and Michelisz had something of a battle royale en-route
to second and third respectively, 'Norby' unable to pass the former F1 podium man and finishing a few tenths behind.
Muller, in the leading Chevrolet, attempted to mount a challenge to the Honda trio ahead, but in the end settled for a comfortable fourth, never being challenged from behind by top BMW 'Flying Dutchman', Tom Coronel. Coronel managed to get past James Nash in the closing stages of the race. Nash finished as top independent – and sixth overall - in his Bamboo Engineering Chevrolet.
Michel Nykjaer put his disappointing qualifying behind him to finish in seventh ahead of Alex MacDowall, who lost out at the rolling start – they finished second and third in the independent trophy fight.
Completing the top ten was Pepe Oriola, who ended up as top SEAT in an otherwise dismal day for the Spanish manufacturer, and Mehdi Bennani, who took the final point scoring position after battling by the other privateer BMW's of PB Motorsport Stefano D'Aste and Weichers Sport's Freddy Barth in eleventh and twelfth.
James Thompson, who at one point looked to be in contention for points, had to settle for 13th ahead of a lonely Darryl O'Young and Fernando Monje, with Munnich Motorsport duo Marc Basseng and Rob Huff, who took a trip into the Slovakia Ring kitty-litter, in 16th and 17th.
Engstler Motorsport teammates, Charles Ng and team owner Franz Engstler came in 18th and 19th, with Mikhail Kozlovskiy and Rene Munnich rounding out the finishers in 20th and 21st.
Tom Boardman and Tom Chilton both failed to finish. Board, who was using his fourth engine of the weekend, pulled into the pits after a few installation laps, while Chilton, who had done major damage to the car in the morning warm-up, again went off and hit the barriers.
by Dexter Fielding