Photo: TCR Media

Aurelién Comte leads another Cupra 1-2 at Vallelunga

Aurelién Comte won the second TCR Europe race at Vallelunga and the Frenchman came home ahead of Cupra colleague Franco Girolami to duplicate yesterday’s top two, although in reversed order.

Felipe Fernàndez completed the podium for Honda team GOAT Racing.

Pole sitter Dusan Borkovic made a bad start which allowed Felipe Fernàndez to take the lead ahead of Levente Losonczy, who was immediately challenged and passed by Comte.

Borkovic slipped down to fourth ahead of Girolami, Viktor Andersson, Viktor Davidovski and Nicola Baldan.

Fernàndez and Comte opened a gap as Losonczy fought hard to defend his third place from Borkovic and Girolami. The fight allowed the leading duo to escape, opening up a three-second gap by the end of the second lap.

On lap three Comte made a clean move on Fernàndez stick and jumped into the lead in his new Cupra Leon VZ TCR.

All hell broke lose at the Esse corner as Borkovic and Losonczy collided, leaving the door open for Girolami, Andersson and Baldan to pass.

More contact between Ruben Volt and Rubén Fernàndez meant the Spaniard was out on the spot, parking his Honda outside of Cimini, while the Estonian stopped a few hundred metres later.

Girolami broke free from the fight and set about closing the gap, which was now five seconds, as Andersson fought to keep Baldan at bay for fourth. At this point, however, the safety car came in and neutralized all the gaps.

At the restart Baldan was all over the back of Andersson, with Montenegro behind them ready to exploit any mistakes. Meanwhile Girolami was attacking Fernandez hard, looking for a clear path to race leader Comte, who quickly opened a small gap of one second from the duo.

Baldan had become increasingly frustrated by lap ten as he was not able to overtake Andersson despite an obvious pace difference.

On lap 12 the fight reached its peak, with Giovanni Scamardi taking advantage of the fight ahead of him to pass both Davidovski and Losonczy after the two made contact at Tornantino.

By this stage the intense fight for fifth had allowed Andersson to open a gap of more than three seconds, while Girolami finally managed to overtake Felipe Fernàndez for second and set about closing the 2.5-second gap to Comte in the remaining four laps.

In the end Comte controlled the gap to comfortably win ahead of Girolami.

Fernàndez finished third ahead of Andersson, who produced a masterful defensive drive to claim fourth for MA:GP.

Nicola Baldan was fifth ahead of Montenegro, Scamardi and Losonczy. Viktor Davidovski came home ninth in his Monlau Motorsport Cupra, while Borkovic finished tenth and two laps adrift in a crippled Honda following his contact with Losonczy, which also cost the Serbian a five second penalty.

The next TCR Europe race takes place at Zolder on May 17-19.