Alain Menu secured his second World Touring Car Championship win of the season with a comfortable victory from pole position around the streets of Pau.

A reserved race from the drivers as they snaked their way around the narrow French circuit, mistakes out-numbered overtaking manoeuvres when it came to deciding the finishing order, the top three alone remaining stagnant throughout.

The typically bustling rolling start failed to descend into the carnage of the Valencia round, although it was not without its victims when Olivier Tielemans, starting from a career best ninth position, was clipped and spun round at the opening turn.

Menu led from the first corner, getting ahead of Yvan Muller, Tiago Monteiro, Nicola Larini and Rob Huff, although with the first few bends arguably the best opportunity for the drivers to make up ground on their rivals, the order at the end of the first lap saw a handful of changes. Most notably, Felix Porteiro battled his way past Andy Priaulx to end the first lap in sixth place, the reigning champion slotting in behind ahead of embarking on a race long battle with his team-mate.

Jordi Gene rounded out the points positions, ahead of Augusto Farfus, the Brazilian up from 13th after a superb effort from his BMW team to repair a heavily damaged BMW following his dramatic roll in qualifying. Tom Coronel ended the first lap in tenth.

From here the race settled into something of a procession in the leading positions with Menu gradually eking out a gap to Muller, getting it up to 2.5secs by the ninth lap, while the Frenchman in turn was getting away from team-mate Monteiro.

The big shuffle in the leading positions came on lap eleven when Larini, who had spent much of the race having to hold off the attentions of Chevrolet counterpart Huff, was forced to retire after picking up a puncture.

That allowed Huff, Porteiro, Priaulx, Gene and Farfus up a spot in the points positions, although Farfus would eventually prove that overtaking was indeed possible on the picturesque venue by finding a way past Gene for seventh.

Up at the front though, Menu was a clear winner, the Swiss driver easing back in the closing stages to see the gap slip down to a still comfortable 2.2secs. Muller was second to add eight points to his points tally, a result that now sees him with leading SEAT status in the standings.

Monteiro converted his third place starting position into a maiden touring car podium in third, with Huff recording some much needed points in fourth, the first time he has finished inside the top eight since the Curitiba opening round.

Porteiro held off the race long advances of Priaulx to secure his best result of the season in fifth, with the reigning champion just half a second adrift. Farfus will be a strong contender for victory in the second race after battling his way up to seventh from 13th - the biggest mover on the grid -, a result that now earns him a spot on the front row. He will have to take on Gene though, whose eighth place ensures him pole position for the next event.

Elsewhere, Stefano D'Aste recorded his first Independent win of the season in 13th overall after a lengthy battle with newcomer Anthony Beltoise. The Weichers-Sport driver held off Proteam's Sergio Hernandez to the chequered flag, with Beltoise third.



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