THOMPSON HAS FIRST WIN IN HONDA While all eyes were on the front of the grid for the second race, the drama was happening behind them. Gabriele Tarquini's SEAT LeÃ³n Tdi stalled on the grid as the cars moved away from the standing start.
THOMPSON HAS FIRST WIN IN HONDA
While all eyes were on the front of the grid for the second race, the drama was happening behind them. Gabriele Tarquini's SEAT León Tdi stalled on the grid as the cars moved away from the standing start. James Thompson and Yvan Muller pulled out wide to avoid the stricken car, but Félix Porteiro was not so lucky. He was accelerating away behind Muller, and pulled to the inside to get past him, but he did not see the stalled SEAT and went straight into the back of it. Both of the drivers were unharmed, if a little shaken, but the same could not be said of the cars as the front of Porteiro's and rear of Tarquini's were completely staved in.
Before the safety car was deployed Thompson overtook Chevrolet's Robert Huff for third position in his N.technology Honda Accord car. Augusto Farfus had a poor start falling back from second, and therefore Jörg Müller led, Nicola Larini, Thompson and Huff round behind the safety car. The field were forced to go through the pit lane to avoid the accident site for three laps before the track was cleaned.
At the restart Müller got away well, but Thompson overtook Larini, at the same place where he and Alain Menu had an accident in the first race. Huff immediately got after Larini, and eventually got past his team mate.
Thompson soon came up behind the leader, and with supreme straight line speed took the lead from the German. Thompson took a deserved victory following a weekend where the British driver and the car just got better and better. He had driven a fantastic first race to get a podium, and then he excelled once again to claim the win. He was not afraid to put in the overtaking moves needed, some of which were pretty tricky. Müller took second spot after defending his position to the Chevrolet cars chasing him from behind. Huff took third rounding off a successful weekend. Larini took fourth position ahead of the SEAT cars of Yvan Muller and Rickard Rydell. BMW drivers Andy Priaulx, Farfus and Alessandro Zanardi took the next three places, with Independents' driver Sergio Hernández in tenth and on their heels.
In addition to the first lap accident there were several incidents throughout the race. Tiago Monteiro had a moment on the grass during the first lap, then later after the restart he tangled with Franz Engstler and Pierre-Yves Corthals. Farfus and Muller enjoyed a fight for position during the race, but the Brazilian's car was struggling and he ended up losing positions to Rydell and Priaulx. Hernández' took the win for the Independent's trophy, extending his lead in the Championship.
In the Drivers' Championship Yvan Muller has stretched his lead to 12 points ahead of Tarquini. SEAT have a 34-point margin ahead of BMW in the Manufacturers' Championship.
The series will resume in Monza in two weeks time on the weekend of the 4th October 2008, for rounds 19 and 20.
UPDATES ON TARQUINI'S CONDITIONS
SEAT Sport driver Gabriele Tarquini was taken to the Imola hospital after the heavy crash he was involved in at the start of today's second race. After the first checks and X-rays were performed at the circuit medical centre, he was sent to the hospital for more accurate examinations including a Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT Scan) to his neck that was negative.
He was advised to spend the night in the hospital as a precautionary measure, but has already received the green light to race in Monza by the FIA Medical Delegate, Dr. Alain Chantegret.