Stefano Comini takes commanding win in action-packed Race 2
Stefano Comini dominated an exciting Race 2 in Valencia, Spain. The Swiss came home ahead of Target Competition team-mates Michel Nykjaer and Andrea Belicchi, although the results are still provisional as there are a lot of incidents under investigation, including a drive through for the Italian.
At the start Campos Racing’s Oscar Nogués had a very good getaway, but he and pole-sitter Gianni Morbidelli touched and the Opel Astra slid in the way of Craft-Bamboo Lukoil’s Jordi Gené. The contact was a disaster for both, as the SEAT driver retired on the spot and Nogués had to limp back to the pits in his damaged Opel.
As the Safety Car was deployed, Morbidelli pitted his Honda for repairs, but further drama was to come. Mikhail Grachev made contact with team-mate and team owner Franz Engstler, and the Russian’s Audi was too damaged to continue. Under Safety Car several drivers made illegal overtaking moves, including Race 1 winner Pepe Oriola, David Cebriàn, Bas Schouten, Lorenzo Veglia and Andrea Belicchi, all SEAT drivers.
As the race restarted Comini opened up a gap from team-mate Michel Nykjaer, but the Dane soon came under pressure from fellow SEAT driver Pepe Oriola. Bas Schouten took advantage of the fight and jumped up to third ahead of Oriola, with Andrea Belicchi in fifth.
The stewards then decided to award a drive through penalty to the drivers mentioned before, but Belicchi failed to take it and finished in third behind a dominant Stefano Comini and a very positive Michel Nykjaer as well. Gianni Morbidelli came home fourth ahead of WestCoast Racing team-mate Kevin Gleason, with Pepe Oriola in sixth after serving his penalty. David Cebriàn finished in seventh ahead of Lorenzo Veglia, with Bas Schouten and Sergey Afanasyev completed the top ten.
Stefano Comini now leads the championship, emerging as the first driver to exceed 100 points, reaching 106. Second is Andrea Belicchi, although the drive through penalty is still pending, and is 16 points shy of his team-mate. Gianni Morbidelli now lies third with an 18 points gap from Comini.
Next up for the TCR International Series is Algarve, Portugal, next week.