Yvan Muller gave Seat a historic win for its diesel-powered Leon at only the second outing for the car.
He passed team mate Gabriele Tarquini early in the race after a restart following two crashes on the first lap.
All the talk before the first race was whether the pack would make it through the tightened first corner unscathed at the rolling start.
Ironically there was a substantial shunt on the main straight at the start, and another on the exit of turn two, but the cars made it through the chicane without problems.
The rolling start was a total shambles with up to five cars abreast in places. The inevitable crash happened long before the first corner and claimed Felix Porteiro, Alessandro Zanardi, Nicola Larini, Pierre-Yves Courthals and Massimiliano Pedal?âãÆ?é?á.
At the exit of the second turn Peter Terting and Tom Coronel were taken out and Alain Menu and Roberto Colciago delayed, falling down the order.
The inevitable safety car period began with Gabriele Tarquini still in the lead from Yvan Muller’s diesel-powered Seat.
James Thompson had leapt up to third from ninth and behind him were the BMWs of Jorg Muller and Andy Priaulx that had picked their way through the carnage. Jordi Gene had arrived in sixth – from 18th on the grid – and had Augusto Farfus behind him.
Two laps were added onto the race distance, taking it up to 16 laps, and battle resumed on lap four. Instantly the diesel Seat of Muller was all over the back of Tarquini’s petrol car, and on lap five Muller squeezed through into the lead.
Tiago Monteiro, eighth, ran wide at the first corner on lap six and was tagged by Colciago. Smoke continued to wisp from the rear of Monteiro’s car where the bodywork and tyre touched as he dropped back down the order.
For lap after lap the top five drivers ran nose to tail, each taking a peek at the other from time to time, but no serious moves being made.
Yvan Muller gave Seat its first win for a diesel powered car at the scene of the team’s first ever win in this category, backed up by team mate Tarquini in second.
Thompson held off the BMW of Jorg Muller and Priaulz to take the final podium position. Gene was sixth ahead of Farfus – and although eighth-placed Colciago will start the next race from pole he will be alongside the fast-start BMW of Farfus.
After their strong weekend at Anderstorp the Chevrolet team failed to score – Rob Huff their best finisher in 11th. The WTCC’s punishing ballast system once again creating something of a performance lottery.
Jorg Muller added another point to his championship lead over Priaulx, with 63 points to Priaulx’s 60. Farfus is third on 59 with Yvan Muller now fourth on 59.
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