Stefano Comini wins as chaos reigns in Macau Race 1

Leopard Racing’s Stefano Comini has won the first race of the day at Macau, and is on course to win his second drivers’ title in the TCR International Series, as points leader James Nash retires.

Stefano Comini jumped straight into the lead at the start ahead of his Leopard Volkswagen team-mate Jean-Karl Vernay, while WestCoast Racing Honda driver Tiago Monteiro slipped up into the second, splitting Comini from team-mate Jean-Karl Vernay, but the Frenchman made a daring pass to retake the position at San Francisco.

At Reservoir, Sunny Wong spun his Teamwork Citroën around and was collected by the two Linky Racing Audi A3s, while the next casualty was the other WestCoast Racing Honda of Gianni Morbidelli, who crashed out at Mandarin.

Morbidelli’s incident blocked the LMS SEAT of Antti Buri, which allowed the Craft-Bamboo SEAT of James Nash up to fourth position, after the Brit had started seventh on the grid.

The next incident, still on the first lap, involved Team TRC’s James Tang, whose Yokohama-shod Honda crashed out up the hill and with cars strewn at various points around the circuit, the race director called for the red flag, suspending the race for 15 minutes.

The race was restarted on lap four, but got as far as Lisboa. Dusan Borkovic had passed James Nash’s SEAT for fourth, but while Mat’o Homola went side-by-side through Lisboa, making contact. Homola found himself stuck in the wall, blocking the track, while Nash’s car suffered terminal suspension damage.

The safety car was called again, but with the race having started 30 minutes behind schedule, the race finished behind the safety car after just five laps, running just half the scheduled distance.

“What I did? A great start and stop. All the race was yellow flags, it’s so stupid,” said an angry Comini after the race. “This is a half-win, it’s not a win.”

With the race running to less than 75% of the schedule distance, Comini is set to score just 12.5 points, and heads into the next race just half-a-point behind James Nash, who will start 18th for the Guia Race of Macau.