Photo: ACI Sport

Cesar Machado takes commanding Vallelunga win

Cesar Machado won the first race of the weekend at Vallelunga. The Portuguese driver kept his lead from pole position and never looked back despite two safety car periods. The Honda driver came home ahead of Luigi Ferrara’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR, with Eric Scalvini completing the podium in his BRC Hyundai i30 N TCR.

At the start Kevin Ceccon suffered from too much wheelspin, which allowed fellow Alfa Romeo driver Ferrara to overtake both him and Scalvini, whilst Machado stayed in the lead. On the third lap there was a brief safety car period as DSG Trophy driver Gunther Benninger went off the track at Cimini.

At the restart M1RA’s Nicola Baldan made the most out of Enrico Bettera’s mistake at Soratte to overtake the Audi RS 3 LMS on the fifth lap. Racing only lasted one lap, though, as Marco Pellegrini oddly lost his left front wheel at Tornantino, which took a while to put back in a safe position as the cars lined up again behind the safety car.

At the restart a very entertaining scrap involving Ceccon and Baldan went on until the last lap, when the Hyundai driver dropped back behind Bettera to finish sixth, allowing Ceccon to keep fourth.

Machado won the race ahead of Ferrara and Scalvini, with Ceccon fourth in his Giulietta ahead of Bettera and Baldan. Championship leader Salvatore Tavano lost two places compared to his starting position, ending up seventh in his Cupra ahead of Honda driver Max Mugelli. Federico Paolino finished ninth in his BRC Hyundai, with Giovanni Altoè completing the top ten as well as winning the DSG trophy in his Audi RS 3 LMS.

Ferrara is now back to second in the championship, as second-placed Matteo Greco finished outside the points in his DSG-equipped Cupra. Tavano still leads on 122.5 points, but the gap to second-placed Ferrara is now down to 29.5 as the V-Action driver’s count goes up to 93. Greco stays on 86,5.

Action will resume tomorrow at 11:25 CEST for the second and final race of the weekend.