John Filippi takes all in the second race at Spa-Francorchamps

John Filippi takes all in the second race at Spa-Francorchamps

28 May 2023

John Filippi made a little piece of TCR history when he won Race 2 at Spa-Francorchamps, becoming the first TCR Europe competitor to win a round of the Kumho TCR World Tour. Norbert Michelisz finished second while it was another TCR Europe driver, Tom Coronel, who rounded off the podium positions in third place.

Filippi’s Comtoyou Audi RS 3 LMS started from pole on the reversed grid and was first at La Source. Felipe Fernández started alongside Filippi and was still second through the hairpin, but he was passed by Michelisz going down towards Eau Rouge and then overtaken by Coronel for third at Les Combes. Also on the opening lap, there was contact involving Ma Qing Hua, Néstor Girolami and Frédéric Vervisch that saw Vervisch spin and drop to P19 as a result.

On Lap 2, Santiago Urrutia passed Fernández for P4 going into Les Combes and on the following lap the Spanish driver started to come under attack from Kobe Pauwels. Race 1 winner Yann Ehrlacher had climbed to P7 after passing Rob Huff while Mikel Azcona passed Ma Qing Hua for P10. 

By now, there were two separate battles developing inside the top ten, with a three-way scrap between Michelisz, Coronel and Urrutia for P2-4 and a five-way fight for P8-12. On Lap 5, Pauwels pulled onto the grass going down towards Eau Rouge and retired from sixth place while on the same lap, the Honda Civic Type R FL5 of Girolami passed Huff’s Audi, with Huff later revealing that he’d been struggling with a broken damper throughout the entire race. 

On Lap 6, Azcona was alongside Huff going through the hairpin and although Huff held onto the position, Azcona’s Hyundai would finally pass the Audi for P8 at the same place on the next lap. At the end of Lap 6, Urrutia was alongside Coronel going into the Bus Stop, but he forced Coronel to cut the final corner and so the Dutch driver held onto third place.

On the final lap, there was contact between Lewis Brown’s Volcano Motorsport Audi and the Lynk & Co of Ma Qing Hua, with both Brown and his teammate Isaac Smith passing Ma for P11 and P12 respectively. 

Despite pressure from Michelisz throughout almost the entire race, Filippi held the Hungarian at bay to record a lights-to-flag victory by a margin of just over 1.6 seconds. Michelisz later admitted that the slipstream tow he’d received from Filippi had helped him to keep Coronel at bay. Behind the podium places, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co teammates Urrutia and Ehrlacher rounded off the top five.

Michelisz has retaken the lead in the Kumho TCR World Tour standings, three points clear of Ehrlacher, while Urrutia has moved into third, 18 points behind the leader and two ahead of Huff. 

In TCR Europe, Coronel still leads but Filippi has closed the gap to 16 points, with Pauwels now 43 points behind in third place. 

The next event for the Kumho TCR World Tour will be at Vallelunga on 9/11 June, then both series will join again at the Hungaroring one week later.


Spa-Francorchamps – Race 2 overall

1. John Filippi (Comtoyou, Audi RS 3 LMS), 8 laps

2. Norbert Michelisz (BRC Squadra Corse, Hyundai Elantra N), 1.636

3. Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS), 2.743


Spa-Francorchamps – Race 2 TCR Europe

1. John Filippi (Comtoyou, Audi RS 3 LMS), 8 laps

2. Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS), 2.743

3. Felipe Fernández (RC2 Racing Team, Audi RS 3 LMS), 6.318


Championship points – TCR World Tour

1. N. Michelisz, 94 pts; 2. Y. Ehrlacher, 91; 3. S. Urrutia 76 


Championship points – TCR Europe

1. T. Coronel, 218 pts; 2. J. Filippi, 202; 3. K. Pauwels, 159 


Picture: WSC Group



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