Michel Nykjaer wins frenetic second race at the Salzburgring

Michel Nykjaer won the second race of the day at the Salzburgring for Target Competition, his second of the season, finishing ahead of Craft-Bamboo Lukoil’s Pepe Oriola and WestCoast Racing Honda’s Gianni Morbidelli in an incident packed race.

Nykjaer had started from second on the grid behind Igor Skuz’s Honda, and made a good getaway as the lights went out, in stark contract to Skuz, who was down to tenth by the end of the first lap. Nykjaer’s Target Competition team-mates were up to second and third behind him by Turn 5, with Andrea Belicchi second and Stefano Comini third.

Comini’s start was shortly under investigation however, and the Swiss driver was soon handed a drive-through penalty for what was an obvious jump start, at this point dropping him out of the points-paying positions.

Igor Skuz’s race ended on the following lap when the Ukrainian made contact with Bas Schouten’s SEAT at Turn 13 and spun into the barriers, suffering front-end damage to his Honda Civic TCR.

Lorenzo Veglia had good pace and overtook his Liqui Moly Team Engstler team-mate for sixth on lap four, with Gianni Morbidelli also making good progess and passing Grachev for seventh the following lap.

Comini served his drive-through on lap six which elevated those behind him by one spot. Veglia tried to dive past Jordi Gené’s fourth Craft-Bamboo SEAT for what was now at the first chicane, making contact with the front-left of Gené’s car. Veglia gained the spot but Gené’s car was suffering with severe tyre rub and was forced to pit, while the stewards gave Veglia a drive-through penalty for having cut the chicane.

Markus Östreich’s Opel then stopped after Turn 6 with an engine failure, which saw second-placed Andrea Belicchi slide on the oil as he came past on lap ten, dropping him down the order to sixth.

All this meant Gianni Morbidelli now found himself up in third and on the tail of Pepe Oriola’s SEAT. The two battled throughout the final laps, but the Spaniard was able to hold off the Italian to keep second, while Nykjaer went on to take the win just under half a second ahead.

With Comini recovering from his drive-through to finish eighth, Morbidelli extends his championship lead back out to 18 points, with Oriola now 22 points adrift heading to the next round of the TCR International Series at Sochi on June 21st.