Photo: TCR Middle East

Lorenzo Veglia wins the second TCR Middle East race in Abu Dhabi

21-year-old Italian driver Lorenzo Veglia has won the second race of the opening round of the TCR Middle East series at the Yas Marina Circuit, marking a successful return to touring car racing after two years away.

Veglia launched from third on the grid and into the lead in his Pit Lane Competizioni-run Volkswagen Golf GTI DSG, while pole-sitter Costas Papantonis had a poor start, further compounded when he received a jump start penalty.

Veglia quickly pulled away from team-mate Alberto Vescovi’s Audi RS 3 LMS DSG, who was quickly passed on laps four and five by the two Engstler Volkswagen Golf TCRs of Florian Thoma and Luca Engstler.

Vescovi began to drop down the order at mid-distance, while Race 1 winner Giacomo Altoè was making steady progress from tenth on the grid, passing his brother Giovanni on lap four and working his way up past TCR veterans Mat’o Homola and Jordi Oriola to go on and finish fourth in the race.

Veglia had built a 2.5 second lead at one point, but was caught by the two Engstler Volkswagens soon after mid-distance. Thoma made his move at Turn 7 on lap 15, making contact with Veglia’s Volkswagen, who dropped to third behind the pair, but Thoma’s lead was short-lived, with the 22-year-old pitting to retire on lap 18.

With two laps to go, Veglia was able to get back past Engstler and reclaim the lead, taking the victory by just over half a second, with Germany’s Kai Jordan completing the podium.

Altoè’s fourth place means the Italian leads the standings on 42 points, five clear of Engstler, with Veglia just two points further behind, despite his entry in the series only being confirmed yesterday.

The next round of the series takes place at the Dubai Autodrome next weekend.