Weather: overcast with a dry track until the end of Race 1; then a thunderstorm flooded the track and delayed the start for the second race by nearly two hours.
TARQUINI AND RYDELL CLOSE IN ON PRIAULX
BMW and SEAT shared honours and victories at Istanbul in the WTCC Race of Turkey.
Alessandro Zanardi of BMW Team Italy-Spain dominated the first race, claiming his maiden win of the season from SEAT Sport men Rickard Rydell and Gabriele Tarquini.
The second race was delayed nearly two hours after a thunderstorm flooded the track and the marshals worked hard to dry up Turn 9. Gabriele Tarquini emerged as the fastest on the wet track and came from behind to score his first victory of the year, also the first since he joined SEAT Sport. His team mate Peter Terting and Chevrolet's Nicola Larini filled the other podium positions.
Tom Coronel and Stefano D'Aste claimed one victory apiece in the Independents Trophy.
The results of the Turkish meeting propelled Tarquini and Rydell to 2nd and 3rd in the Drivers' Championship, only 1 and 4 points respectively behind the leader Andy Priaulx, who suffered his blackest weekend of the season, and remained scoreless. Dirk Müller also closed in on the Briton and lies 4th with a 7-point gap. In the Manufacturers Championship, SEAT re-took the lead from BMW by 9 points.
However, results remain provisional, pending technical engine checks on Huff's Chevrolet, Gené's SEAT and Zanardi's BMW.
The FIA WTCC will resume in Valencia, Spain, on October 7th and 8th.
RACE 1 ZANARDI CLAIMS DOMINANT WIN
Alessandro Zanardi came home ahead of the rest in Race 1. After a solid start in his BMW 320si he propelled himself into the lead entering the first corner. Pole man Rickard Rydell finished 2nd joined by SEAT Sport team-mate Gabriele Tarquini on the podium.
At the first corner of lap 2 Andy Priaulx and independent driver Luca Rangoni made contact which sent the reigning champion spinning across the track and obtaining damage to the rear of his car. James Thompson was also caught up in the affair and both Britons dropped back with Priaulx finishing 14th and Thompson 17th.
Yvan Muller began from 4th on the grid but had a difficult race. At the beginning he was being challenged by Duncan Huisman but held his position for three laps until the battle allowed BMW Team Germany duo Dirk and Jörg Müller through. The standings didn't remain this way for long because late braking left Jörg and Yvan to run wide with the former unable to finish and the latter to cross the line 13th. Dirk Müller eventually passed the chequered flag 4th, overtaking Duncan Huisman on the last lap.
In the middle of the field there was a five man fight between three SEATs and the Alfas of Augusto Farfus and Salvatore Tavano. Farfus and Peter Terting had a brief spell of close proximity until the German went through to finish 6th and in the points. Farfus crossed the line 9th. Tavano and Jordi Gené both ended their races prematurely after colliding on lap 5. Nicola Larini continued to be the best performer from the Chevrolet team and stayed out of trouble to secure 7th place, 2 points and a front row start for Race 2.
The action continued over the next laps as a contest to be the best independent went underway. Luca Rangoni of Proteam Motorsport managed to overtake Farfus on the inside but Tom Coronel of GR Asia followed him through. Rangoni then made a mistake, nearly losing his car which allowed Coronel to capitalise and secure 8th position. He didn't let it go and therefore won the Independent race and started Race 2 from pole. Pierre-Yves Corthals and Stefano D'Aste finished second and third of the independents.
RACE 2 TARQUINI SCORES FIRST VICTORY
SEAT Sport achieved a tactical 1-2 in difficult wet conditions just before dusk at Istanbul. Gabriele Tarquini came from 6th on the grid and claimed victory ahead of Peter Terting his SEAT Sport team-mate. Terting led the race from lap 2 until the final lap when Tarquini passed him. Nicola Larini achieved a podium for Chevrolet after a fantastic drive and some fierce defending against Dirk Müller and Rickard Rydell on the final laps.
The race was delayed by two hours due to heavy rainfall leaving turns 9 and 10 flooded and needing to be pumped clear of water and mud.
At the start Larini took the lead ahead of Terting and Tom Coronel. The latter went wide at the next corner leaving Duncan Huisman and Dirk Müller to slot into 3rd and 4th. At the end of lap one Tarquini looked an unlikely winner as he was down in 9th after a slight error but fought his way towards the front over the duration of the race.
Andy Priaulx's race finished on lap two when one of his tyres failed. Meanwhile, Terting overtook Larini on the start/finish straight; a mere 0.075 of a second separated the two.
The SEAT squad were mounting attacks throughout the field and Huisman was a casualty as Tarquini, Rydell and Gené all overtook him on lap five. His demotion was not to end there as Huff passed the Dutchman on the next lap for 7th. On the last lap Huff overtook Dirk Müller to finish 6th; a dedicated effort from the youngest of the Chevrolet drivers after starting 16th on the grid.
Last in the points was Jörg Müller who put in a strong recovery from the pit-lane (where he changed tyres just before the start) to 8th position.
It was Stefano D'Aste of Proteam Motorsport who claimed the independent victory after overtaking Tom Coronel on the last lap. The Turkish driver Ibrahim Okyay finished a praise-worthy 14th overall and 3rd in the independent category.