Photo: TCR Series

Gabriele Tarquini wins Adria Race 2, Aurélien Comte wins the title

Hyundai’s Gabriele Tarquini went from tenth to first to win the second race of the day at the Adria Raceway, while second on the road for DG Sport Compétition driver Aurélien Comte was enough to score the Frenchman the TCR Europe Trophy title.

The race was full of controversy, with title favourite Josh Files given a drive-through penalty after contact with LMS Racing’s Antti Buri, which saw him finish in seventh, and miss out on the title by just two points.

Florian Thoma started from pole position in the Engstler Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, but was passed into Turn 1 by Aurélien Comte’s Peugeot 308, with the 1.6 litre car holding off as Antti Buri moved up to second in the LMS Racing Audi RS 3 , with Maxime Potty quickly into third in the Team WRT Volkswagen.

Meanwhile, behind, the Hondas and Hyundai that dominated Race 1 were moving forward, but while the two Target Hondas of Josh Files and Giacomo Altoè eyed up a pass on Florian Thoma’s Volkswagen, Tarquini dived past the pair of the Hondas and was up too fifth on lap two, and then he soon dispatched Thoma’s Volkswagen for fourth a lap later.

On lap three, Files also passed Thoma’s Volkswagen and kept in touch with Tarquini, while Comte was holding up the top five train, with Buri, Potty, Tarquini and Files right on his tail.

On lap eight, Tarquini made a lunge past Potty’s Volkswagen for third at Turn 1 on lap eight, passing Buri a lap later.

Files tried to make his move on Potty on lap ten, also at Turn 1, but although he cleared Potty’s Volkswagen, he clipped the rear of Buri’s Audi, breaking the suspension of the Finn’s car and putting him out of the race, with the incident immediately under investigation.

Tarquini overtook Comte for the lead on lap 11 at Turn 1, but with Tarquini invisible to points, Comte was still set for the maximum score, but he now had Files right on his tail. Files overtook him on lap 13 and was on course for a “double win”, before the stewards’ call came through confirming a drive-through for the Briton which dropped him to tenth.

Tarquini was now building a lead in his BRC Racing Team-run Hyundai, while Comte was now defending against the other Target Honda of Giacomo Altoè, with the 17-year-old needing to pass the Peugeot driver to win the trophy.

Comte defended valiantly while Files was charging through the field, not giving up on his title ambition, with fifth enough to still hand him the title.

After 20 laps, Tarquini won the race, while Comte crossed the line second and won the inaugural TCR Europe Trophy race on a tie-break with Altoè, both finishing on 45 points, but with Comte classed as the Race 2 winner, he’s classified as the champion.

Maxime Potty finished fourth in the WRT Volkswagen, with Florian Thoma fifth in the Engstler Volkswagen.

Luigi Ferrara was sixth in the V-Action Alfa Romeo, while Files made it up to seventh, and finished just two points behind in the Trophy standings.

Francisco Abreu was eighth in the Novadriver Volkswagen, with Engstler’s Luca Engstler ninth and Giovanni Altoè completing the top ten.