Photo: Cyan Racing

Yann Ehrlacher wins in the TCR World Tour with lights-to-flag run at Spa

Cyan Racing’s Yann Ehrlacher comfortably claimed victory in the first TCR World Tour and TCR Europe race at Spa-Francorchamps.

Ehrlacher shared the front row with team-mate Ma Qing Hua, who stalled and fell down the order while ALM Motorsport’s Néstor Girolami followed Ehrlacher away up front.

The field was bunched back up together on lap two as the safety car was called out following a collision at La Source between Target Competition’s Dušan Borković and Team Clairet Sport’s Ben Bargwanna. BRC Racing’s Mikel Azcona also got spun in the incident but he kept going.

For Borković it was the third incident in little more than a lap as he had heavy contact with RC2 Racing Team’s Felipe Fernández on lap one at Stavelot, had an off after Blanchimont then almost had contact at the final corner.

Racing resumed on lap four and there was a change of names in third place as Cyan Racing’s Santiago Urrutia passed Comtoyou Racing’s Kobe Pauwels around the outside of Les Combes. He then spent the rest of the race, which was extended from eight to nine laps due to the early safety car period, in defence of the position and it allowed the top two to run away.

Ehrlacher won by 1.637 seconds over Girolami, with Urrutia a further 3.599s behind and Pauwels still a highly important fourth as he was the highest place of the drivers entered for TCR Europe points.

Tom Coronel was in fifth until the final moments of the race, as on the run to the chequered flag he slowed and dropped behind his Comtoyou team-mates Rob Huff and Frédéric Vervisch. Neither are racing in TCR Europe full-time, meaning Coronel still got the points for second place. It later came to light that Coronel was asked by the team on the final lap to slow down, and said he would only do so if they could organise a GT test for him. They agreed, so he aided his team-mates.

Vervisch had to fight past BRC Racing’s Norbert Michelisz to be in a position to benefit from Coronel’s slowing, while Cyan Racing’s Thed Björk triumphed in his lengthy battle with Comtoyou’s John Filippi for ninth place.

Ehrlacher heads the TCR World Tour standings on 45 points, four ahead of Azcona and seven ahead of Huff.

The second race of the weekend starts at 11:40 CEST on Sunday.