Photo: TCR Media

Gianni Morbidelli wins action packed Race 1

Gianni Morbidelli won the first race at the Red Bull Ring for WestCoast Racing. The Italian came home ahead of title rival Stefano Comini, who finished just ahead of Target Competition team-mate Andrea Belicchi. The battle for the lead lasted for the entire race, creating an entertaining show.

At the start Morbidelli lost the lead to team-mate Kevin Gleason, also being passed by Comini in the process. Daniel Nagy quickly lost his third place to the other SEATs and at the end of the first lap lost control of his Zengo Motorsport SEAT León Racer in a contact with a Volkswagen, resulting in the young Hungarian hitting the barriers hard.

Meanwhile Stefano Comini took the lead from Kevin Gleason, who was also passed by his team-mate. The American dropped down to seventh as Belicchi and Pepe Oriola made progress, with Craft-Bamboo Lukoil’s Sergey Afanasyev and Jordi Gené also in the mix.

As Morbidelli tried to attack Comini, but the two collided and the Swiss was sideways as the Italian slowed down and Oriola managed to get up to second, but that was short-lived as the Italian managed to pass him again and started going for the lead again.

Comini eventually made a mistake at Turn 5 and was passed by Morbidelli, but the championship leader pulled a great pass at the last corner and regained the lead. Belicchi made the most out of the situation and went up to second, but the WestCoast Racing driver passed again and managed to put Comini under pressure again.

As the fight went on there was perhaps too much contact between the two, but the fight resolved with Comini making a mistake at the last corner with just another lap to go, leaving Morbidelli in the lead. More drama was to come as Pepe Oriola almost managed to overtake Belicchi down the finish straight just at the last lap, but the Italian kept third.

Morbidelli won ahead of Comini and Belicchi, with Pepe Oriola in fourth. Jordi Gené came a good fifth ahead of Kevin Gleason and Sergey Afanasyev, with Mikhail Grachev eighth for Liqui Moly Team Engstler ahead of team-mates Lorenzo Veglia and Pol Rosell.

Race 1 results mean that Comini still leads the championship, but the margin is now down to three points from Morbidelli.