Rob Huff leaves the current season of the TCR International Series on a high note. The former World Champion claimed victory at Zhejiang Circuit in a race that will be remembered as one of the toughest ever in Touring Car competitions.
The drivers delivered close and thrilling battles for every position and – rather exceptionally – all these clashes, contacts, pushing and paint-swapping did not result in major incidents. All the drivers were able to keep on racing, demonstrating great skill in handling their battered cars.
Gianni Morbidelli finished the race in second position, overtaking James Nash on the last lap. Nash had bravely led most of the race in his SEAT before being forced to concede to the fastest Volkswagen cars.
Alain Menu was fourth in a Hyundai that was hit by an increase in weight and a reduction of power after Tarquini’s display of strength in Race 1.
As far as the title fight was concerned, the event favoured Jean-Karl Vernay who leaves China with a leading margin of 21 points in the Drivers’ championship ahead of Attila Tassi who remains the only credible contender, while Stefano Comini and Roberto Colciago are 42 and 46 points behind respectively with 55 still on offer.
The TCR International Series’ final event will take place at Dubai on November 17 and 18.
Grid – Borković, Dupont and Lloyd are missing following damage obtained in Race 1
Start – Vervisch on pole and Nash start well and swerve to the left before Kajaia; there is commotion in the first turns, Nash takes the lead from Kajaia, Vervisch, Tassi, Morbidelli, Oriola and Colciago; Vernay is pushed wide by Comini and drops to 15th
Lap 1 – Colciago and Huff overtake Oriola for 6th and 7th
Lap 2 – Nash pulls away, while Vervisch, Kajaia and Morbidelli have a tough fight behind him; Colciago overtakes Tassi for 5th
Lap 3 – Tassi is given a drive-through penalty for a jump start
Lap 4 – the fight for second heats up, Vervisch, Morbidelli, Kajaia and Huff make several contacts, eventually Kajaia clashes with Huff and retires
Lap 5 – Huff elbows his way past Morbidelli for third
Lap 6 – there are more contacts between Vervisch, Huff and Morbidelli; Huff overtakes Vervisch for second
Lap 7 – Menu overtakes Colciago and Oriola for fifth; Vernay overtakes Panis for 10th
Lap 8 – Oriola overtakes Colciago for 6th; Tarquini overtakes Colciago for 7th; Vernay overtakes Zhang for 9th
Lap 9 – Tarquini overtakes Oriola for 6th
Lap 11 – Vernay overtakes Colciago for 8th
Lap 12 – Tarquini and Menu overtake Vervisch who drops to 7th
Lap 14 – Vernay, Vervisch and Colciago collide; Vervisch retires, Vernay pits to replace a rear flat tyre
Lap 15 – Huff has completely eliminated Nash’s leading gap
Lap 16 – Huff overtakes Nash for the lead
Lap 17 – Morbidelli overtakes Nash for second; Menu overtakes Tarquini for 4th
Lap 18 – Oriola overtakes Tarquini for 5th
Lap 19 – Huff wins from Morbidelli, Nash, Menu and Oriola; Zhang claims a brilliant 7th position