Click here for full WTCC Race Results (1) from Paul Ricard

Rob Huff has begun his career as a Honda driver in perfect fashion with a dominant win in the reverse grid first World Touring Car Championship race at Paul Ricard.

The two-time champion, switches from LADA to Honda for 2016, was set to start the race from pole after securing tenth place in qualifying, but a penalty for Thed Bjork lifted him to ninth, allowing Hugo Valente to instead start from the front.

Nonetheless, Huff grabbed the lead quickly from the start, followed through by Mehdi Bennani the duo holding position to the chequered flag, the Briton winning by two seconds, with the Moroccan himself four seconds clear of third in his SLR Citroen.

Valente held third for much of the race, but slipped back in the closing stages as he came under pressure from the other two factory Hondas, Norbert Michelisz passing him to secure a podium in third, followed closely by team-mate Tiago Monteiro.

Valente held onto fifth despite intense pressure from reigning champion Jose Maria Lopez, the Argentine making only modest progress in his ballasted C-Elysee, though he will start from pole for race two.

Despite starting at the back of the field, Bjork made impressive progress in his WTCC debut, climbing his way to seventh place. He fared better than team-mate Fredrik Ekblom, who spun off whilst running fifth early on.

Behind the Volvo driver, Nick Catsburg prevailed in a boisterous fight with fellow Dutchman Tom Coronel, while Gregoire Demoustier picked up the final point for tenth, despite making contact with Gabriele Tarquini a turn, enough to make the Italian retire.