Photo: TCR Europe

Tom Coronel in control at sunny Nürburgring in sole TCR Europe race

Comtoyou Racing’s Tom Coronel converted pole into a comfortable victory in TCR Europe’s sole race on the Nürburgring’s Sprint layout.

Race one was postponed to Sunday due to heavy fog preventing any TCR action taking place on Saturday, and also meant the weekend’s second race was called off. Practice times set the grid, and it meant Audi RS 3 LMS driver Coronel started on pole.

Alongside him on the front row was Target Competition’s Nicola Baldan, with Halder Motorsport’s Jack Young and points-leading Comtoyou team-mate Franco Girolami on the row behind.

They all had more momentum than Coronel going into the heavy braking zone of the first corner, as he stuck to the tighter and slower inside line, but nobody could get level with him by the apex of the corner and after that he worked on building an advantage at the front.

The gap between Coronel and Baldan grew to 2.5 seconds in the first half of the race, then gradually decreased in the second half but by no margin for Coronel to worry about and on the final lap he pulled away again to finish 2.423s ahead.

The fight for third was settled in the first two corners as Young had two bouts of contact, first at the apex of turn one and then more door-to-door rubbing with Girolami as they approached turn two. It proved costly for Young as he started to slow and then retired in the pits at the end of the lap with steering damage while Girolami went on to take the final place on the podium and extend his points lead.

Behind them was a quartet of Hyundai Elantra Ns and Volcano Motorsport’s Isidro Callejas, but it became an all-Hyundai battle for fourth once Callejas’s Cupra León Competición spun around the front of Aggressive Team Italia’s Pepe Oriola on the way to turn six on lap four.

Oriola also got dicey with Target Competition’s Felice Jelmini as they were hounded by Jelmini’s team-mate Josh Files and Janík Motorsport’s Jáchym Galáš, but eventually had the pace to break away and secure fourth place.

Files and Galáš made contact in their battle and had several side-by-side moments but did not lose ground to Jelmini until late on when the Comtoyou-supported Élite Motorsport Audi of Marco Butti got involved in their fight for position. He had passed Sébastien Loeb Racing’s John Filippi early on and almost cleared Galáš but by the final laps had settled for eighth place behind them.

There was a late change of position ahead though, as Jelmini lost five seconds in the final sector of the last lap and lost fifth place to Files. After the race the pair admitted the change of positions was to help Files’ distant title hopes.

Completing the top 10 were Filippi and the recovering Callejas, and there were six drivers who didn’t see the finish. Klim Gavrilov went off on lap one, Michelle Halder came to a stop off-track on lap two with a driveshaft failure, Giacomo Ghermandi had a drive-through penalty for jumping the start then pitted again to retire mid-race after a propshaft brke, and Mat’o Homola had contact that led to a broken suspension wishbone that dropped him to the back before he retired. The last driver to not see out the race was Viktor Davidovski, whose rear-right suspension broke on the penultimate lap following contact.

The next TCR Europe round is at Monza on 23-25 September.