Jordi Gené takes lights to flag victory
Jordi Gené won the second round of the TCR International Series. The Spaniard came home ahead of Craft-Bamboo Lukoil team-mate Pepe Oriola, with Gianni Morbidelli taking the final podium spot for WestCoast Racing.
The race started with a clean getaway, Gené leading Zengo Motorsport’s Ferenc Ficza, Oriola, Morbidelli and René Munnich. At turn 3 Michel Nykjaer made contact with fellow SEAT driver Lorenzo Veglia, resulting in the Dane crashing into Sergey Afanasyev’s SEAT and forcing the two to retire on the spot.
As Belicchi overtook team-mate Comini, Ficza was taken by both Oriola and Morbidelli and, one lap later, by the two Target Competition SEATs of Andrea Belicchi and Stefano Comini.
Gené was attacked by his team-mate Oriola, allowing the pack to close in on them, with Morbidelli chased by Belicchi and Comini. Despite no overtaking moves pulled off during the final laps, the close gaps made it a nail-biter, which in the end came to a spectacular final lap.
Morbidelli tried hard to pass Oriola but failed to do so, and this opened a gap big enough for Gené to feel much safer. As the Italian tried to overtake the Spaniard several times, he finally allowed Belicchi to make his move and briefly get into third. At the final corner the Honda driver fought back and made slight contact with his compatriot, which led to Belicchi slipping on the outside and being passed by team-mate Comini.
The race therefore finished with Jordi Gené taking the honours ahead of Craft-Bamboo team-mate Oriola, with Morbidelli scoring Honda’s first podium in TCR. Comini came fourth and retained the lead in the championship, ahead of Belicchi. René Munnich finished in sixth ahead of WestCoast Racing team-mate Kevin Gleason as Mikhail Grachev gave Audi its first points by finishing in eighth. Frank Yu Siu Fung came ninth despite making contact with Grachev earlier in the race, resulting in a spin, as Ferenc Ficza eventually slipped down to tenth to take the final points-awarding place, 1 lap behind the leader.
Next up for the TCR International Series is Shanghai, China, in two weeks.