Photo: ACI Sport

Nicola Baldan dominates first race at Misano

Nicola Baldan took a dominant win from pole position at Misano in the third race of the TCR Italy season. The Pit Lane Competizioni driver came home ahead of Kraf Racing’s Plamen Kralev, with Eric Scalvini completing the podium in his Honda Civic after an eventful race.

The start was smooth, although Scalvini lost his second place to Kralev, but the Honda driver soon started fighting with Opel’s Kevin Giacon, the two coming together on the third lap. Scalvini lost ground in the collision and slipped down to eleventh, just as Baldan and Massimiliano Gagliano also came together, the Volkswagen driver losing several places as well.

Baldan subsequently opened up a substantial gap, which allowed him to serenely go on to win the race as Kralev was in second ahead of Andrea Argenti. Two battles, for fourth and for ninth, made the race spectacular as early as the first few laps. Giacon, Max Mugelli, Enrico Bettera and Giuseppe Montalbano were involved in the former, while Alessandro Thellung defended from Massimo Gagliano’s Volkswagen Golf and Gianmaria Gabbiani’s Honda Civic TCR.

As Giacon defended his fourth position, on lap nine Montalbano attacked him at Turn 3, the two coming together twice and ending their races on the spot. Meanwhile Eric Scalvini was making up positions and by the time the incident happened he was already in fifth place. The Honda driver made up two more positions, overtaking Mugelli’s Audi RS 3 LMS with five laps to go, and pulling off a successful overtake on Argenti right at the last lap, conquering an unexpected podium after a brilliant drive as he made up for the accident in the early stages of the race.

Baldan took his maiden TCR Italy win in a dominant fashion, finishing more than eight seconds ahead of Kralev’s Audi. Scalvini completing the podium in his MM Motorsport Honda Civic, as Argenti had to settle for fourth in the South Italy Racing SEAT. Max Mugelli made up four spots from his starting position, finishing fifth ahead of team-mate Enrico Bettera, both from the Audi.

Alessandro Thellung finished seventh from tenth on the grid in the BF Racing SEAT, with Gian Maria Gabbiani eighth in his Honda Civic TCR. Massimiliano Gagliano went no further than ninth in the sole Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, with Daniele Cappellari completing the top ten in the CRC SEAT.

The second race is scheduled for tomorrow at 11:25 local time.