Photo: TCR Italy

Niels Langeveld claims first win with new Honda in incident-packed Race 1 at Misano

MM Motorsport Niels Langeveld claimed victory in TCR Italy Race 1 at Misano, marking the first win of the new generation Honda Civic Type R TCR in the Italian championship. The Dutchman won a race plagued by safety car interventions as the field battled high track temperatures.

The race presented an extra challenge for the drivers, with tyre wear a concern as track temperatures rose to 42º C before the start.

Pole sitter Marco Butti of Target Competition was slow off the blocks and went side-by-side with Audi driver Franco Girolami, with the two making contact on the main straight.

This enabled Langeveld to take the lead ahead of Girolami and Butti, with Denis Babuin (Audi RS 3 LMS) in fourth place.

Butti suffered a tyre issue on lap two and went wide, soon heading to the pits. Fellow Hyundai Elantra N TCR driver Damiano Reduzzi retired on the following lap due to a technical issue.

The safety car came into action on lap four as Victor Fernández (Audi RS 3 LMS) spun off of the track and was stranded in the gravel trap. Butti returned to the track during the safety car session, albeit a lap down.

The race was relaunched on lap five, with Girolami seeking to attack Langeveld for the lead. Babuin was in third place, followed by Cupra driver Aurélien Comte of SP Competition.

The safety car came into action a second time on lap seven as Francesca Raffaele hit the barriers after contact with fellow Audi driver Giacomo Ghermandi.

Butti headed back into to the pits, complaining of the damage sustained in the contact with Girolami at the start.

The track was green again on lap eleven, with barely ten minutes of racing left on the clock. Langeveld led ahead of Girolami, with Babuin coming under pressure from Comte. The Frenchman soon lost touch as he came under fire from the Hyundai i30 N TCR of Michele Imberti.

The Italian driver overtook the Frenchman on lap 12 for fourth place, with Comte returning the favour on the main straight.

The safety car came into action for the third time on lap 14 as Gennaro Manolio (Hyundai i30 N TCR) spun off the track and was stuck in the gravel trap.

The race was relaunched on lap 16 for one last lap of racing, with Langeveld keeping Girolami at bay. The Dutch driver claimed the win ahead of Girolami and Babuin, who completed the podium.

Imberti was fourth, followed by Comte and Audi driver Felice Jelmini.

Ruben Volt crossed the line in seventh place with the first of the older generation Hondas of ALM Motorsport, followed by Felipe Fernández, who claimed eighth place from Mattias Vahtel on the final lap. Sergio López Volotín, driving an Audi RS 3 LMS from RC2 Vallés, completed the top ten

“Yes, we did it!,” said Langeveld after the race. “The start was the key, but the race wasn’t easy with so many interruptions and also having to managing the tyres.”

Race 2 is scheduled for 10:55 CEST on Sunday morning.