Photo: ACI Sport

Eric Scalvini dominates at Misano as Nicola Baldan retires

Eric Scalvini took his third win of the season, making the most out of the opportunity presented to him as title rival Nicola Baldan retired early in the race due to problems with his SEAT. The Honda driver came home ahead of Audi’s Max Mugelli, with Plamen Kralev completing the podium for the German manufacturer.

At the start Scalvini took a comfortable lead from pole position, ahead of Baldan and Mugelli, with Enrico Bettera in the Pit Lane Competizioni Audi RS 3 LMS defended from BF Racing’s Matteo Bergonzini, who had gone straight at Turn 2, and Kralev. On the second lap Bergonzini overtook Bettera, immediately followed by Kralev. The Italian Audi driver crossed lines with his Bulgarian stable-mate, who made a mistake during the fight and went off the track, losing ground but not positions.

Just as things were getting hot for the lead, Baldan suddenly slowed down in the last sector and retired in the pits, thus depriving the race of what was likely to be an entertaining fight. Kralev made up for that, as he recovered from fifth to overtake Bettera and, two laps later, attacking Bergonzini cleanly at Tramonto and going through, also opening a small gap over the SEAT driver.

More drama came on lap six, as Vincenzo Montalbano was defending from fellow SEAT driver Daniele Cappellari. The two made contact, with Cappellari subsequently retiring after trying a move on his stable-mate at Quercia. The incident elevated Nicolò Zin to sixth.

From then on the race was quite smooth, as drivers managed the gaps they had opened, the only fights coming from the TCT class as Raimondo Ricci and Massimo Arduini fought for the lead and ninth place outright. Towards the end of the race Massimo Gagliano, who had spun during the first lap, had to defend from the charging Montalbano, which he managed to do.

Scalvini won the race unchallenged, taking the flag eight seconds ahead of Mugelli and Kralev. Matteo Bergonzini came a good fourth in his TCR Italy debut, finishing ahead of Pit Lane Competizioni’s Enrico Bettera and Gruppo Piloti Forlivesi’s Nicolò Zin. Gagliano finished seventh in his Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, ahead of Montalbano and the two TCT Peugeots, Ricci finishing ahead of team-mate Arduini.

Next up for TCR Italy is Monza in two weeks.