Photo: TCR Europe

Dusan Borković wins TCR Europe’s first race in Pau

Target Competition’s Dušan Borković won TCR Europe’s first ever race in Pau after poleman Viktor Andersson suffered an awful start.

Andersson fell all the way down to twelfth and last, and brought his Lynk and Co 03 TCR into the pits at the end of the opening lap as the driveshaft had failed as he’d launched off the line. The MA:GP team inspected the engine bay once he pitted, and then did not send Andersson back out as they set about getting the car ready with a replacement driveshalft for Race 2.

Borković had qualified second in his Hyundai Elantra N TCR and so immediately inherited the Race 1 lead at the start. Comtoyou Racing’s Kobe Pauwels moved into second, but could not quite match Borković’s pace and the Serb pulled away for his fourth series win.

His only challenge during the race came on lap nine when he had to lap Olivier Lopez and Christian Philippon. Although blue flags helped to some degree, he encountered the pair at the long turn six right-hander while the rest of the field managed to lap them as they came onto the pit straight. Borković lapped the pair again just before the final lap began.

Pauwels quickly gapped himself in second place from fellow Audi RS 3 LMS II TCR driver Isaac Smith in the early laps, but Smith then started to match Pauwels’ pace and kept within a second of him until the final third of the race.

At the same time the cameoing Eric Cayrolle, in a Comtoyou-run Audi, started to close in on Smith and with three laps to go got onto Smith’s rear. But it was clear there was no room to get past and he settled for fourth. However he is under investigation for jumping the start.

Cayrolle’s team-mate Viktor Davidovski made a fast start and trailed Cayrolle through the race, while Smith’s Volcano Motorsport team-mate Lewis Brown pressured Davidovski at times but mostly was focused on holding off Tom Coronel for sixth until an off at turn two on lap 16 of 20 sent him down to eighth.

Coronel had strategically qualified tenth to earn pole for the reversed-grid Race 2 on Sunday, but after making up three places on the opening lap he found himself stuck in seventh before Brown’s error.

Also profiting from that off was Coronel’s title rival John Filippi, who at one point was over ten seconds behind his Comtoyou team-mate but closed that gap to 3.533s by the finish.

Julien Nougaret was a distant ninth but avoided being lapped, and was the second highest non-Audi driver. He will miss Race 2 as he hands his Cupra León TCR over to team-mate Dorian Duthil.