Priaulx World Champion!
Augusto Farfus won his first FIA WTCC race at the wheel of his Alfa Romeo 156. Second place went to Andy Priaulx while Rickard Rydell completed the podium. The results meant that Priaulx was leading the championship with 93 points – a margin of 7 ahead of Dirk Müller.
At the start Priaulx got away well but was overtaken by André Couto at the first corner. Jörg Müller went wide entering Lisboa bend. He hit the wall, bounced back, collected Robert Huff and they in turn collected Tom Coronel. The all of the cars were extensively damaged and blocked the track resulting in the race suspended and then restarted under safety car conditions for one lap.
New regulations meant that one extra lap was added and the race began after a rolling start. On the straight Dirk Müller overtook Chevrolet’s Alain Menu for fourth. Andé Couto lost control of his car at Lisboa and handed Priaulx the lead with Augusto Farfus close behind. Lap three saw Fabrizio Giovanardi stray wide at Lisboa but he did continue. On the next lap Priaulx was overtaken by Farfus and a tight battle began for the rest of the race, with Priaulx putting the Alfa man under great pressure; while Rickard Rydell was closely chasing them in thir position. The Briton mounted many attacks at the Lisboa bend but without success. Meanwhile, title contender Dirk Müller, was placed fourth. Giovanardi, the third man within reach of the championship, lost all chances of victory when, at turn 16, he crashed due to a broken suspension. His car was able to move despite the fact it was without its front right left wheel but the Italian soon ground to a halt. The final lap saw more drama as Dirk Müller fell from 4th to 10th after an incident.
In spite of suffering for an aching back, after he was involved in the pile up at the start, Stefano D’Aste won the independent race with 11th position overall. However Marc Hennerici of Weichers-Sport won the Independent Trophy following the retirement of rivals Coronel and Giuseppe Cirò.
Andy Priaulx claimed the FIA WTCC. Dirk Müller, who was the only other driver in a position to become champion, crashed into the Lisboa bend on lap three of the second race and did not finish. Giovanardi did not start the race due to the damage obtained in Race 1.
In the race, Duncan Huisman came from third to first off the start and held onto pole for the entire race while Priaulx came from 7th to 2nd. Alain Menu claimed 3rd position and achieved Chevrolet’s first podium. The Lacetti’s durability was tested however as Menu scraped the wall at Lisboa for two consecutive laps in the opening of the race.
The corner was not as forgiving for Stefano D’Aste however, because on lap 2 he crashed and did not continue. James Thompson also had problems during the second lap and retired to the pits shortly afterwards. Lap three saw Carl Rosenblad’s crash, handing the independent lead to Adriano De Micheli but this was short lived as the JAS Motorsport man was involved in an accident with Peter Scharmach, Robert Huff and Marc Hennerici at Fishermen’s bend. Following this incident, Giuseppe Cirò was the only independent driver to complete the race.
The safety car was deployed for a period of 4 laps while the four cars and their debris were cleared. On the penultimate lap Nicola Larini went straight at Lisboa losing fourth position. Menu was later excluded by the Stewards because only one litre of fuel was left in his car’s tank, compared to the minimum three required by the regulations.