Photo: TCR Media

Gianni Morbidelli makes it a double in Monza

Gianni Morbidelli scored the first double win in the history of the TCR International Series, emerging from an action-packed race ahead of Craft-Bamboo Lukoil’s Jordi Gené, with Fernando Monje giving the Opel Astra OPC its first podium ever, making it three different brands on the podium.

At the start Gené took the lead ahead of Monje and Andrea Belicchi, whose Target Competition SEAT made contact with pole sitter Antonio D’Amico. Morbidelli and Stefano Comini were protagonists right from the word go, as they progressed up to fifth and sixth respectively.

Meanwhile Fernando Monje pulled off a great move on Gené, conquering the lead as Morbidelli muscled his way through the field, with Comini not too far. As the Italian overtook Gené at Roggia, he started pushing for the lead, but Monje was very effective in defending.

Comini got close and triggered a three-way fight for the lead on the main straight, which ended up with Morbidelli touching the Swiss and sending him straight at the first chicane. Monje emerged second as the WestCoast Racing driver barely defended third.

Pepe Oriola retired due to a broken suspension as he stopped his SEAT on the outside of Lesmo 2.

Comini took the lead in a fantastic four-way fight on the following lap, but Morbidelli chased him. The fight eventually resolved in a touch between the two, as Comini spun and dropped down to fifth. Meanwhile Monje had progressed to third through a fight with Belicchi, as the two touched after the Spaniard jumped too high on the kerb.

On the last lap Comini passed Belicchi for fourth, which is where he finished. The race was won again by Morbidelli, ahead of Gené and Monje. Comini came fourth ahead of Belicchi, with Skuz scoring a positive sixth after having been close to the front of the field for the entire race. Zsolt Szàbo came home seventh, with Liqui Moli Team Engstler’s Lorenzo Veglia ahead of team-mate Mikhail Grachev and pole-sitter Antonio D’Amico.

Morbidelli now leads the championship, 14 points clear of Comini, with Oriola a further 7 points adrift. Gené is now fourth, 26 points shy of the leader.