Photo: TCR Europe

Tyre gamble the key to Race 1 win says Mikel Azcona

Mikel Azcona praised a “difficult decision” to use a combination of wet and slick tyres on his Volcano Motorsport Cupra after taking victory in the opening TCR Europe race at Spa-Francorchamps.

The Spaniard, making his first start in the series since winning the title on home soil in 2018, stormed through the field from a relatively lowly 13th place on the grid to steal victory from Boutsen Ginion Racing’s Tom Coronel with two laps remaining.

It is the first Cupra victory in TCR Europe since Alex Morgan at the Oschersleben last season, and now means that all five brands have recorded a race win this season.

“I am very happy to win the race after starting from 13th position, we decided to make a very good combination of tyres, so we put slicks on the front and wets on the rear but of course the track was wet,” said Azcona.

Azcona made a good start off the line to gain six places by the end of the first lap, and quickly made further progress after that.

He soon picked off Target Competition’s John Filippi in the closing stages before reeling in Coronel’s Honda with three laps to go.

The gap reduced by almost two seconds and Azcona knew he had to make his move quickly if he was to secure the win.

“It was a difficult decision [to make] but finally in the end it worked. I could put more temperature in the front tyres and…it was a good decision,” he added.

“I am very, very happy to win this race.”

Azcona also said that his surge up the order was due in part to good tactics in the first corner on the opening lap and that his penultimate-lap overtake on Coronel, in which he slide his Cupra sideways through the high-speed corner had been pre-planned.

“For me, the start was the most important part,” Azcona told TouringCarTimes.

“I knew that off the line, it would be difficult to get the traction but I got good traction.

“Then I saw everybody going to the right, for the inside line so I decided to go to the outside, brake later and I think I made four or five places there.

“[On the second last lap] I saw Coronel defend a lot so I went for it around the outside, he was fair and I knew I needed to slide the car a bit so that I wouldn’t crash into Tom. It was deliberate I think you can say.”