After a thrilling battle over the final nine laps, Tom Coronel held off a determined challenge from Dušan Borković to win TCR Europe’s Race 2 at Pau. Borković, the winner of yesterday’s opening race, came from eighth on the grid to finish second ahead of John Filippi.
At the start, pole-sitter Coronel got away cleanly and led the field. Rain had fallen during the formation lap, which may have contributed to a contact between Isaac Smith and local legend Eric Cayrolle going down to Turn 2. Cayrolle stopped on the exit to Turn 2, while Smith limped back to the pits with damage to the front of the car. The Safety Car was deployed while Cayrolle’s car was recovered. Racing resumed at the start of Lap 4 and Coronel managed the restart well, staying ahead of Filippi and Viktor Davidovski. Borković had gained four places, helped by the incident, and was fourth behind the three Audi cars.
On Lap 7, Davidovski picked his moment and edged past Filippi at the hairpin. The Macedonian quickly moved up behind Coronel and for a while it looked as though we were set for a battle for the lead, but a puncture put paid to that possibility, forcing Davidovski into the pits.
As Coronel pulled away, a three-way battle for second to fourth places developed. Borković closed up on Filippi, but Kobe Pauwels was right behind and so the Serbian driver couldn’t afford to make any errors. On Lap 13, Borković squeezed past Filippi for second and began his pursuit of Coronel, who by now had opened up a lead of over two seconds.
In the final part of the race, Borković hunted down Coronel. The Hyundai was right behind the Audi and by Lap 16 the gap was down to under seven-tenths. The battle continued for the remaining laps, but Coronel used his experience wisely and was untouchable in the final sector, so Borković settled for second; Filippi finished third ahead of Pauwels and Andersson.
Coronel has opened up a thirteen-point lead over Filippi in the standings, with Borković’s two podium finishes in Pau elevating him to third in the standings, sixteen points behind Filippi and three ahead of Pauwels.
TCR Europe will resume at Spa-Francorchamps on 26/28 May with the Kumho TCR World Tour.
Pau – Race 2
1. Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS), 22 laps
2. Dušan Borković (Target Competition, Hyundai Elantra N), 0.566
3. John Filippi (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS), 5.132
1. T. Coronel, 141 pts; 2. J. Filippi, 128; 3. D. Borković, 112
Picture: WSC Group