TCR Italy reigning champion Nicola Baldan made up for the disappointing season’s start he had endured at Imola two weeks ago, and converted his pole position to victory at Le Castellet.
In the first half of the race, Baldan and his Pit Lane Competizioni Hyundai i30 N had an exciting and fair fight with the BRC Racing’s Hyundai of Eric Scalvini. The latter had taken the lead at the start and managed to reject Baldan’s assault until the sixth lap.
Immediately after the lead change the safety car was deployed following a collision that eliminated Alessandro Thellung’s SEAT León and cost Turkish driver Çağlayan Çelik a 25-second penalty.
When the race resumed, Baldan was able to create a gap, while Scalvini had to defend the second place from Salvatore Tavano’s charging Cupra. Behind them the trio of Target Competition’s Honda Civic cars delivered a close battle for fourth position and eventually Marco Pellegrini was able to cross the finishing line inches ahead of Jürgen Schmarl and José Rodrigues. Andrea Larini and Federico Paolino ranked 7th and 8th, followed by Giovanni Altoè who beat Massimiliano Gagliano for victory in the DSG Trophy.
Luigi Ferrara, the point leader after his double win at Imola, retired from 7th due to an intercooler failure; however he is still on top of the standings with 41 points, six more than the pairing Tavano-Matteo Greco; Baldan has climbed to fourth, five further points adrift.
The second race will start tomorrow at 10:40; live streaming at www.tcr-series.com and www.tcr-series.tv.
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