Photo: TCR Europe

Baldan wins, Comte takes points lead in TCR Europe Race 1 at Zolder

Comtoyou Racing’s Nicola Baldan converted pole into victory in the first TCR Europe race at Zolder.

The TCR veteran shared the front row with SP Competition’s Aurélien Comte, who is now points leader after he finished the race in second place.

Baldan built a 0.558-second gap up front on lap one, briefly moving a second clear on lap three before Comte closed back in. On lap seven he grew his lead to over a second again, and maintained the gap until the 14th and final lap when Comte closed back in to finish 0.769s behind.

The win was Baldan’s first in TCR Europe, and came on his 30th start in the championship.

Monlau Motorsport’s Franco Girolami initially held third place, and was immediately dropped by the top two. On lap nine he started to come under attack from ALM Motorsport’s Ruben Volt, who on the next lap managed to get alongside him at the high-speed turn four and then pass him into the Kleine chicane.

Through the remainder of the race the gap between the pair grew, with Volt finishing 1.793s ahead but of Girolami but 5.97s behind the winner.

Girolami’s team-mate Viktor Davidovski ran in fifth throughout, and Goat Racing’s Felipe Fernández was in sixth until MA:GP’s Viktor Andersson passed him on lap seven. Fernández later also fell behind ALM driver Ignacio Montenegro and his brother and team-mate Rubén Fernández.

There was then a battle between the latter Fernández and Montenegro. They swapped positions multiple times and Montenegro prevailed by half a second.

ALM’s Levente Losonczy completed the top 10, Goat’s Santiago Concepdo finished 11th after starting from the pitlane and Comte’s team-mate Giovanni Scamardi ended the race a lap down after making a trip to the pits.

Race 2 takes place on Sunday at 12:30 local time (CEST), with Losonczy starting on reversed-grid pole.