After qualifying on pole, Huff was first into the chicane at Turn 1 and, despite determined challenges from Yvan Muller that twice saw the French driver alongside Huff on the fast uphill section of the circuit, the Englishman held on to take a deserved victory. Alain Menu completed the Chevrolet 1-2-3 after closely shadowing his colleagues throughout the race.
Behind the Chevrolets, the SEAT León of Gabriele Tarquini finished fourth, with Tiago Monteiro fifth in the SUNRED León car. Tarquini’s Lukoil Racing team-mate wasn’t so fortunate: Aleksei Dudukalo had a premature end to his race after a collision with the BMW of Mehdi Bennani going into the chicane on lap 12.
Another incident on only the race’s fifth lap brought out the safety car, when Darryl O’Young went off into the gravel at Turn 5. In all, four laps were completed behind the safety car until O’Young’s SEAT León could be moved into a safe position.
Rounding off a near-perfect race for Chevrolet, the bamboo-engineering Cruze of Alex MacDowall finished sixth overall and the best of the competitors in the Yokohama Trophy, with the SEAT of Pepe Oriola finishing second in the category and Norbert Michelisz third in his BMW.
“Of all my WTCC wins, the victory this weekend was probably the hardest, as I spent so much time looking at my mirrors,” said a delighted Huff.
“Yvan had a massive advantage on me due to slipstreaming, but I had no plans to relinquish my lead and managed to hold on.”
Huff’s excellent weekend has put him firmly in the hunt for the world title: he now sits just eight points behind Muller at the top of the points table after reducing his lead by 22 points in Salzburg.
The series next visits the Algarve, Portugal, on 3 June 2012.
Start - Huff first into T1, ahead of Muller and Menu
Lap 1 - Cerqui and Chilton make contact, Cerqui pits for repairs and rejoins
Lap 2 - Drive-through penalty for Di Sabatino for a false start
Lap 3 - Muller alongside Huff, but Huff hold him off
Lap 5 - Contact between O’Young and D’Aste at T1
Lap 6 - Safety car deployed
Lap 10 – the race resumes
Lap 11 - Muller tries again to pass Huff, in vain
Lap 12 - Contact between Dudukalo and Bennani at T1
Lap 13 - Wéber into the gravel at T9, but continues
Lap 14 - Huff holds on to win from Muller and Menu
D. O’Young: race incident; S. D’Aste: race incident; A. Dudukalo: race incident