Photo: TCR Series

Luca Engstler storms to victory in the first race in Dubai

18-year-old Luca Engstler has won the first race of the day in the TCR Middle East series in Dubai, leading from pole position to take victory ahead of Giacomo Altoè, and moves into a seven-point lead in the drivers’ standings.

Luca Engstler launched into the lead from pole position in his Engstler Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, with Giacomo Altoè staying behind him in the Pit Lane Competitizioni Audi RS 3 LMS.

Behind, Mat’o Homola made a great start and was up to third after starting fifth in his Pit Lane-run Volkswagen Golf GTI DSG, but things weren’t so good for his new team-mate Danny Kroes, who was forced to retire with damage in his Audi RS 3 LMS at the end of the first lap after starting in fourth.

Lorenzo Veglia, who’d initially won the second race last week in Abu Dhabi before a post-race penalty, made a storming start in his Pit Lane Volkswagen Golf, leaping from last to fifth by the end of the first lap, before picking off Kai Jordan’s Golf TCR on lap two to move into fourth, and then passing Homola’s Golf for third on the fifth lap, where he’d finish the race.

Engstler was romping away upfront however, while his Swiss team-mate Florian Thoma was making steady progress after a bad start, and worked his way from eighth to fifth over the course of the race.

German driver Engstler crossed the line six seconds clear of Altoè, and now moves to 74 points in the drivers’ championship, with his Italian rival, woth Homola a further 21 points behind on 46.

The second race of the day takes place at 13:55 GST (10:55 CET), with the SEAT León of Greek driver Costas Papantonis set to start from pole ahead of Martin Ryba and Giovanni Altoè.