Photo: TCR Italy

Aurélien Comte claims his first win of the season in safety car affected Mugello race

SP Competition driver Aurélien Comte (Cupra) scored his first victory of the year in Race 1 at Mugello, host of the fourth TCR Italy round.

Marco Butti (Hyundai) claimed the lead from the pole position and was followed by Comte and Franco Girolami, who made a rocket start from eighth on the grid aboard his Audi RS 3 LMS of Aikoa Racing.

Niels Langeveld of MM Motorsport meanwhile made a slow start from second on the grid to drop down to sixth. The Dutch Honda driver soon recovered though, reaching third position before the first lap was completed.

Cesare Brusa (Hyundai Elantra N TCR) was sent into a spin and off the track after receiving contact from Felipe Fernández (Audi RS 3 LMS), causing the first safety car of the race. His team-mate Victor Fernández was also under trouble, spinning off the track and got stuck in the gravel trap.

The race was relaunched on lap four, with Comte successfully attacking Butti for the lead. This also enabled Langeveld to overtake the Hyundai driver for second place. And things went from bad to worse for Butti who received a ten-second time penalty for jumping the start.

The safety car was called into action for the second time on lap seven after an incident between Sandro Pelatti and Giovanni Scamardi.

The race was neutralised for two laps, with Comte retaining the lead at the restart.

The safety car was soon out on track again as Sergio López Bolotín stopped his Audi RS 3 LMS at the pit entrance with a broken suspension.

The race finished behind the safety car, with Comte taking his first victory of the season, ahead of Langeveld and Girolami, as Butti’s penalty put the Target Competition driver outside the top ten.

Felice Jelmini was fourth, ahead of Honda driver Ruben Volt. Felipe Fernández (Audi RS 3 LMS from Auto Club RC2 Valles) was sixth.

Junui Park (Hyundai) finished in seventh place, while Rubén Fernández Fernández rounded off the top eight.

“It’s a shame to finish behind the safety car, but I’m happy because we did a good race and to achieve my first win in the TCR Italy,” said Comte after the race.

Girolami continues leading the drivers’ championship with 197 points, 22 ahead of Langeveld.

Race 2 is scheduled for Sunday morning at 09:25 CEST.