Photo: TCR Media

Mikhail Grachev takes lights-to-flag win in incident-packed Singapore Race 2

Mikhail Grachev won from pole position in Singapore, finishing ahead of B3 Racing’s Dusan Borkovic, with new championship leader James Nash completing the podium. The race finished under safety car as the race hit the 25-minute time limit.

The start was pretty smooth, as Grachev had a good getaway in his WestCoast Racing Honda and kept his lead ahead of Borkovic’s SEAT and Craft-Bamboo SEAT’s Sergey Afanasyev. Behind the Russian, Attila Tassi’s B3 Racing SEAT was under attack from Nash. Mat’o Homola pulled off a good move at Turn 5 on Leopard Racing’s Jean-Karl Vernay for ninth, but the Slovakian made contact with Kevin Gleason’s Honda at the hairpin and both lost places.

On the third lap, a fight between Tassi and Afanasyev for third resolved in the two coming together, resulting in the Russian crashing and the Hungarian forced to retire due to damage. The subsequent mayhem saw Gianni Morbidelli and Pepe Oriola making more contact as the Spaniard attacked the Honda driver for fourth at the hairpin. The Italian spun in the SEAT’s way and allowed Comini, Homola and Vernay through.

A safety car period was required to clear Afansyev’s car, at the end of which Oriola was awarded a drive-through for the incident with Morbidelli, while Tassi had to stop in the pits to retire after trying to continue despite damage on his B3 Racing SEAT.

On lap seven Rafaël Galiana spun while trying to overtake Martin Cao’s Ford Focus TCR, the Honda driver subsequently collected by Neric Wei, which effectively ended the race as the safety car was deployed, meaning the 25-minute time limit was exceeded.

Grachev won his fourth race of the year ahead of Borkovic and James Nash, who crucially finished the race ahead of title rival Stefano Comini. Mat’o Homola was a good fifth under the flag ahead of Leopard Racing’s Jean-Karl Vernay. Another unlucky race left Gianni Morbidelli in seventh, after being in the hunt for a podium spot earlier in the race.

The Italian came home ahead of Team Engstler’s Davit Kajaia in the Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR, while Petr Fulín took two rather unexpected points in the Mulsanne Racing Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR after this weekend’s struggles. Kevin Gleason completed the top ten in the WestCoast Racing Honda, finishing just ahead of Jordi Oriola, who narrowly missed out on points on Opel’s return to the TCR International Series.

Nash is now back in the lead of the championship, two points ahead of Leopard Racing’s Stefano Comini. Pepe Oriola is now third, 16 points off the lead, but is still fully in the hunt despite today’s setback. Vernay is now 28 points shy of the leader, but also remains a championship contender.

The TCR International Series will be back in Sepang on October 1st, again supporting the FIA Formula One World Championship.