Alex Zanardi secured victory in the opening World Touring Car Championship race of the weekend at Brno as he converted pole position into the third win of his WTCC career.

The BMW Team Italy-Spain driver lost out to team-mate Felix Porteiro off the line as the Spaniard made a quick start from the second row of the grid but slotted into second place behind him in the opening laps of the race.

When Porteiro started to struggle with understeer as the race progressed, Zanardi saw his chance to make a move for the lead and once he got ahead, the Italian controlled the race from the front to secure the third win of his WTCC career to date and his first win of the year.

Porteiro was able to take second place, while the podium was completed by Chevrolet's Alain Menu. Proving the strength of the BMW package around the sweeping Czech venue, Augusto Farfus and Jorg Muller took fourth and fifth, with Muller in particular impressing as he came through the field from 15th on the grid to secure vital points for both himself and the team.

Championship leader Gabriele Tarquini took sixth and was the leading SEAT driver home despite an incident with team-mate Tiago Monteiro that dropped the Portuguese racer down the order, while James Thompson and Yvan Muller rounded out the top eight - securing places on the front row of the grid for race two as a result thanks to the reverse grid rule.

Rob Huff just missed out on the points in ninth place ahead of Rickard Rydell while Andy Priaulx endured a frustrating race as the defending champion could manage only 14th.

Sergio Hernandez came from the back of the field to secure the Independents' win in 15th place overall, just ahead of fellow BMW racer Franz Engstler with Pierre-Yves Corthals in third.

Reigning Indy champion Stefano D'Aste crashed out on the final lap.