Huff and Tarquini split 2011 FIA WTCC Round 3 and 4 in Zolder

Huff and Tarquini split 2011 FIA WTCC Round 3 and 4 in Zolder image

Text: / Photos: FIA WTCC Press | posted May 16, 2011 15:36

Chevrolet dominates Round 3 as Tarquini plugs streak in Round 4

Zolder, Belguim was host to the first European race of the 2011 FIA WTCC season as some of the world's best touring car drivers moved into one of the most challenging courses for rounds 3 and 4.

In Round 3, it was just like in the opening race at Curitiba, another Chevrolet train with their drivers claiming another 1-2-3 finish. Rob Huff, Alain Menu and Yvan Muller dominated the field, with the Briton taking a lights to flag victory.

Contact between Menu and Tarquini at the start sent the Swiss driver sideways. Unrelenting, the Swissman fought on and retained second position. By the next lap, a serious incident involving the four cars of Fredy Barth, Mehdi Bennani, Tom Coronel and Franz Engstler brought out the safety car. The safety car stayed until the 8th lap and Muller moved quickly to steal third place from the Italian on lap 9 soon after the safety car left the grid. Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro were classified fourth and fifth.

For the Yokohama Trophy, Kristian Poulsen won the fierce battle beating Norbert Michelisz, Michel Nykjær, Darryl O'Young, and Javier Villa. The latter made a great recovery from the back to the grid to 9th at the end.

After having inherited pole position on the reverse grid with Barth still out due to car damage, Gabriele Tarquini put in a fantastic effort to claim his first victory of the season and stop Chevrolet winning streak after three consecutive successes. Previous round's Yokohama Trophy winner Kristian Poulsen was not so lucky as he crashed out on the opening lap of Round 4.

It was all Tarquini from a great start and managing to keep the charging Chevrolet trio behind. The Italian closed all doors and left no space for Rob Huff to overtake in the first half of the race. When the Briton tried to muscle his way past him, Tarquini proved he still has enough grit to defend the lead. By lap 6, Yvan Muller finds his car going wide at L. Bianchi and damages his oil radiator, which eventually causes him to retire.

On Lap 7, Huff makes contact with Tarquini at Villenueve; after cutting the chicanes the Briton takes the lead and eventually drops down the order due to car issues. The Italian takes back his lead and never looks back. With Yvan Muller and Huff in troubles, Alain Menu and Tiago Monteiro slide into 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Meanwhile, just a couple of seconds behind them was Darryl O'Young who claimed his first victory in the Yokohama Trophy.

Polestar Racing's Robert Dahlgren finished in seventh and become the first driver to score WTCC points in a Volvo car.