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Yvan Muller led team-mates Rob Huff and Alain Menu across the finish line for an all Chevrolet podium at the opening round of the WTCC in Curitiba. In wet conditions the Frenchman started the race behind the safety car from pole position and with a clear view he managed to keep the pack behind him.
A torrential downpour before the start meant the race began behind the Safety Car, but as the drivers came through to start the race two laps later, Muller capitalised on having a clear view from pole position to lead the chasing pack into the first corner.
From second on the grid, Jordi Gené did his best to stay amongst the Chevrolets but after running wide at the Esse de Baixa while pushing Muller for the lead he lost out to Huff and Menu. He then ran wide again at the Entrada do Miolo dropping down to tenth in his SEAT León TDI.
Gabriele Tarquini, Tom Coronel and Norbert Michelisz also ran wide at the first corner as the drivers got to grips with the wet weather. Coronel then set his sights on BMW Team RBM's Augusto Farfus and Andy Priaulx up ahead, getting down the inside of Farfus on lap six to take sixth position and splitting the BMWs. A couple of laps later Farfus re-took the position down the inside at the Curva da Vitoria with Gené also pushing his way through demoting Coronel the eighth.
The final order across the line was Muller from Huff, Menu, Tarquini, Priaulx, Farfus, Gene and Coronel making it a SEAT León TDI front row for Race 2.
Fredy Barth finished ninth to win the Rookie Challenge after passing Norbert Michelisz on the penultimate lap. Michelisz rounded out the top ten to become the first Hungarian driver to score a world championship point in circuit racing since Zsolt Baumgartner's Formula 1 point in 2004.
Scuderia Proteam Motorsport's Sergio Hernández was the top Independent after making his way from last on the grid to thirteenth overall. Stefano D'Aste and Darryl O'Young were battling for the Independents' lead but after making contact Hernández held his line to move ahead of the pair.
Andrei Romanov was the only driver not to finish. After running into the gravel at the Esse de Baixa in his BMW 320si he managed to limp back to the pits and into retirement.
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|19 Mar '11||Huff grabs pole for opening race|
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