It did not take much time to James Nash to find his way to victory in his return to Touring Car racing. After an excellent weekend in Bahrain, the Brit of Team Craft Bamboo Lukoil took his maiden win in the TCR International Series in Estoril.
The SEAT driver dominated Race 2 from lights to flag, beating Stefano Comini, who continued improving with the Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf Gti and Gianni Morbidelli, with the WestCoast Racing Honda Civic.
The Italian brilliantly won a couple of duels, notably with Jean-Karl Vernay and Sergey Afanasyev, to take a second podium finish this weekend and grab the leadership in the points standings, albeit by a single point over Nash.
Afanasyev claimed an excellent 4th ahead of Vernay, Aku Pellinen, Davit Kajaia, Mat’o Homola and Francisco Mora, while Pepe Oriola finished only 10th, after struggling the entire race with a car damaged in a contact with Loris Hezemans at the start.
Start – Nash takes the best start after fighting with Pellinen, Comini, Vernay and Oriola; Hezemans stops after few meters, following contact with Oriola
Lap 1 – Morbidelli passes Pellinen for 6th; Nash leads from Comini, Vernay, Oriola, Afanasyev and Morbidelli; Kajaia passes Grachev for 8th
Lap 2 – Nash pulls away and creates a 2-second lead
Lap 3 – Homola passes Grachev for 9th; Borkovićand Tassi make contact and the former retires with a pierced radiator
Lap 4 – Oriola’s car is out of balance after the contact with Hezemans at the start; the Spaniard loses positions to Afanasyev, Morbidelli, Pellinen and Kajaia, dropping from fourth to eighth
Lap 7 – Homola passes Oriola, taking 8th
Lap 8 – Mora overtakes Tassi for 11th
Lap 9 – Vernay in P3 is chased by Afanasyev and Morbidelli
Lap 10 – Morbidelli takes 4th from Afanasyev
Lap 11 – Mora passes Oriola for 9th
Lap 12 – Vernay and Morbidelli are in a close fight, eventually the Italian passes the Frenchman for third
Lap 13 – Afanasyev passes Vernay as well
Lap 15 – Nash starts to lift off a bit but has everything under control and wins ahead of Comini, Morbidelli, Afanasyev and Vernay
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