Photo: ACI Sport

Langeveld passes slow-starting Iannotta to win at Imola in TCR Italy

Niels Langeveld took his first TCR Italy win since the season opener as he won the opening race of the weekend at Imola.

The Target Competition driver was beaten to pole position by Marco Iannotta, who made a decent start off the line but then bogged down in the second part of the launch and was already behind Langeveld’s Hyundai Elantra N TCR by the time they reached Tamburello.

Langeveld was firm in his defence of the lead through the next few corners before the safety car was called out as Ruben Volt had come to a stop and his Honda Civic needed recovering.

The drivers were free to race again by the end of the second lap, and Langeveld broke away up front as Iannotta got involved in multi-car battles behind. However he did have stronger pace than the leader, and once he had shaken off his own pursuers he was able to spend the second half of the race closing down the 2.172-second lead Langeveld had opened up.

He had got it close to a second when the race was red flagged and ended a lap early, as Damiano Reduzzi lost control of his Hyundai and had a heavy shunt that ripped the front-right off his car and left him stranded in the middle of the track.

Iannotta’s MM Motorsport team-mate Carlo Tamburini started and finished third, often being pressured by points leader Salvatore Tavano in the middle of the race but not to a degree where he had to truly worry about his position as Tavano often found that when he did want to attack he was very soon after switching to defence against Jimmy Clairet, who charged up from 13th on the grid, Mattias Vahtel, Nicola Baldan and Rammo Antti.

There was also a big battle for ninth between Cesare Brusa and Michele Imberti, with several moments of side-by-side drama between the pair before the position was settled in Brusa’s favour.

TCR Europe regulars Felice Jelmini and Giacomo Ghermandi both encountered issues that sent them into the pits, while other drivers had contact but continued racing with flapping bodywork.

It got heated between Sabatino Di Mare, Mauro Trentin and Nicola Guida for 22nd place late on, and despite some moments of the battling drivers going on to the grass they all emerged mostly unscathed.

The second TCR Italy race takes place on Sunday at 13:10 local time (CET).