Jean-Karl Vernay wins as the rain catches the field out at the Salzburgring
Jean-Karl Vernay has taken his second win in the TCR International Series in a dramatic race in the rain at the Salzburgring, leading the way in the wet conditions in his Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf ahead of the Craft-Bamboo SEAT of Sergey Afanasyev.
Due to a hectic first race, three cars missed the start, with B3 Racing’s Dusan Borkovic and the Alfa Romeo of Petr Fulín ruled out through damage, while the electronics problem that put championship leader Pepe Oriola out in Race 1 was unable to be resolved for Race 2, with the Spaniard not able to make the start.
The rain hit the circuit just before the start, with the conditions moving from drizzle to full wet within a few minutes.
The first four cars on the road of Attila Tassi (B3 SEAT), Mikhail Grachev (WestCoast Honda), Jordi Oriola (Target Honda) and Gianni Morbidelli (WestCoast Honda) had all opted to start on slicks, but realised their mistake on the formation lap and all dived into the pits, effectively handing Jean-Karl Vernay pole position, even though the Frenchman was starting seventh on the grid.
Vernay led the way at the start ahead of the three Volkswagens of Davit Kajaia, Florian Janits and Stefano Comini, with the wet conditions favouring the German cars, with the Honda of Harald Proczyk right behind followed by the two Craft-Bamboo SEATs of James Nash and Sergey Afanasyev.
Afanayev made his way past Nash, while Engstler Volkswagen driver Janits was handed a drive-through for a false start, promoting Stefano Comini to third.
On lap eight, David Kajaia hit a puddle on the way into Turn 1 and slid off into the tyre barriers into retirement, promoting Comini to second and bringing out the safety car.
When the race resumed, Comini locked up into the first chicane and fell to third behind Afanasyev. Vernay made the same mistake with two laps to go, and briefly handed the lead to the Russian behind him, but managed to get back ahead on the back straight to take his second win of the season.
Comini’s third place moves him up to the lead of the standings by one point over Pepe Oriola, with James Nash now eight points behind, and with Vernay and Gianni Morbidelli tied for fourth, 13 points down.
The next round of the championship takes place at Oschersleben in two weeks’.