Rob Huff wins frenetic second race at Zhejiang
Rob Huff has taken his first win of the 2017 TCR International Series on his final appearance of the season, going from tenth to first in an action-packed second race which saw only 11 cars make the finish.
Comtoyou Racing’s Frédéric Vervisch started from pole position in the Audi RS 3, and the Belgian held the lead ahead of a fast-starting James Nash in the Craft-Bamboo SEAT into Turn 1, while Davit Kajaia was down to third from second on the grid in his GE-Force Alfa Romeo.
Nash then made a move on Vervisch’s Audi for the lead on the first lap, which briefly allowed Kajaia through into the lead, before Nash grabbed the position back from the Georgian at the next corner and began to pull away from the squabble behind him.
Vervisch was able to re-pass Kajaia for second on lap two, with WestCoast Racing’s Gianni Morbidelli also joining him to take third, with Rob Huff now on the tail of the Alfa Romeo of Kajaia at this point, after passing Roberto Colciago’s Honda.
On lap four, as Morbidelli and Vervisch battled for second, Kajaia and Huff came together, with Kajaia out with broken suspension.
Huff and Morbidelli then got caught up in a side-by-side battle with some contact, with Huff coming out on top, before passing Vervisch’s Audi for second on lap six, and now found himself eight seconds behind Nash’s SEAT.
Huff then closed down on Nash’s car during the remainder of the race, while there was further drama behind as Vervisch and championship leader Jean-Karl Vernay made contact, with Vernay forced to pit with damage to his rear tyre, and Vervisch out with broken suspension.
Up front, Huff wiped out Nash’s lead and made his way past on lap 15, with Morbidelli also passing Nash’s SEAT on lap 16 for second position in the race.
Alain Menu drove from 13th to finish fourth in the newly-ballasted Hyundai i30 N TCR, with Pepe Oriola fifth in the Craft-Bamboo SEAT, with Race 1 winner Gabriele Tarquini sixth.
Zheng Zhen Dong finished seventh in his ZZZ Audi RS 3, with the two M1RA Hondas of Roberto Colciago and Attila Tassi behind, with Tassi having been given a drive-through penalty for a jump start early on, with Rafaele Galiana tenth in his WestCoast Racing Volkswagen.
Duncan Ende finished 11th in the Icarus SEAT, with Jean-Karl Vernay officially classified in 12th despite pitting on the final lap, picking up a point with the Hyundais not eligible to score.
Vernay now heads to the season finale in Dubai 21 points ahead of Tassi, with Stefano Comini and Roberto Colciago still in contention, 42 and 46 points behind with 55 left to play for.