Mat’o Homola leads B3 Racing 1-2 in Race 1 thriller

Mat’o Homola led home team-mate Dusan Borkovic to score a B3 Racing 1-2 and his maiden TCR International Series win after an action-packed first race at Oschersleben, Germany. James Nash completed the podium for Craft-Bamboo Lukoil, in a race in which only 10 drivers made it to the finish line.

At the start Borkovic retained the lead ahead of Nash and Homola, who were fighting very closely. Drama started as early as the first corner when WestCoast Racing’s Mikhail Grachev spun after making contact with Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Davit Kajaia, while team-mate Gianni Morbidelli also made contact with Craft-Bamboo Lukoil’s Sergey Afanasyev and Pepe Oriola.

As James Nash settled into second the battle raged behind him. Borkovic led ahead of the Brit, with Homola in third. Antti Buri was fourth ahead of Jean-Karl Vernay, Stefano Comini, Attila Tassi and Michela Cerruti, who made a wonderful start from the back of the grid. Tassi slid out in the gravel at Turn 3 while he was attacking Leopard Racing’s Stefano Comini. The young Hungarian’s car triggered a safety car period, which helped Morbidelli who was almost 25 seconds off the lead. Shortly before race control deployed the car, though, Borkovic had made a mistake which saw him slide down to third behind Homola, who had passed Nash in the meantime, and Buri, with the Brit in fourth.

At the restart the Finn attacked Homola, but soon found himself having to defend from Borkovic. As Pepe Oriola overtook Afanasyev, Morbidelli made contact with Gary Sheehan, an incident for which he is under investigation. A mistake from Buri saw the Finn slip down to fourth and come under pressure from Comini. Another slide from Borkovic let Buri back past, though, and the battle set a six-car train all fighting for position, generating fantastic battles.

The fight resolved with Pepe Oriola reaching Buri and trying to overtake the Finn. The pair touched and Oriola came out worst, hitting the barriers. Buri is still under investigation for the incident. With six laps to go, Comini had what looked like a technical issue and stopped at Turn 1. Grachev spun and hit the Golf, whose dangerous position triggered a safety car.

The restart was smooth, with no position changes, but Petr Fulìn and Michela Cerruti both had to stop their Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCRs, the Czech returning to the pits and the Italian losing a points finish after a very good race with just three laps to go. On the last lap more drama came as Borkovic pulled off a very clean and yet aggressive move by overtaking Nash under braking.

Homola won the race ahead of Borkovic and Nash. Sergey Afanasyev came fourth ahead of Antti Buri, with Jean-Karl Vernay sixth in the Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR. Gianni Morbidelli finished seventh after a troubled start to the race, well clear of Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Davit Kajaia and Niklas Mackschin. Pepe Oriola scooped up a point despite having been involved in an accident.

Several accidents and incidents under investigation mean the results are still provisional.

Race 2 will start at 14:15 local time.