Roberto Colciago performed like Julius Caesar and completed a ‘veni, vidi, vici’ debut in the TCR International Series, claiming pole position and a race victory on the same day.
The race provided plenty of emotion, beginning with the fight for the lead between Colciago and Stefano Comini. They swapped positions, clashed and ran abreast, treating the spectators to some great entertainment.
Second place enabled Comini to retake the championship lead, albeit only one point ahead of James Nash. The young Englishman drove a sensible race, steering out of trouble but managing to recover from starting from eighth to record an important third place finish ahead of his teammate and rival Pepe Oriola.
There were close fights in the TCR Asia series as well, with Kevin Tse claiming the first victory in the season, both for him and TeamWork Motorsport. Tse managed to beat Andy Yan and Filipe de Souza, who finished second and third; Yan retained a comfortable margin in the standings.
Race 2 will start tomorrow at 15:30 local time, with Sritrai on pole on the reverse grid
Grid – Morbidelli’s car is pushed into the pit lane with a steering failure; Galiana does not even join the grid, his car plagued by the same engine issues as in Practice and Qualifying
Start – Colciago makes a good start, but Grachev does better and overtakes him on the outside before Turn 1
Lap 1 – Colciago passes Grachev for the lead; the Russian loses also second place to Comini; there is commotion at the back of the field at Turn 4, when five cars collide and Kajaia’s Volkswagen stops on the track
Lap 2 – the safety car is deployed; Pastorelli pits to fix a problem with an exhaust manifold
Lap 4 – the race resumes, Colciago leads from Comini, Grachev, Homola, Oriola, Nash, Vernay, Borković, Tassi and Afanasyev; Homola and Oriola make contact, Nash overtakes both and moves up to fourth; Comini overtakes Colciago at Turn 15
Lap 5 – Colciago and Comini run abreast; Colciago re-takes the lead; Sritrai pits with a loose turbo pipe
Lap 6 – Grachev is under pressure from Nash, they make contact and Grachev slows down and retires; Nash moves to third, pursued by Vernay, Oriola, Borković and Tassi
Lap 7 – Oriola overtakes Vernay for fourth at Turn 1
Lap 8 – Tse runs in 12th place, leading the TCR Asia field with a two-second advantage on Yan
Lap 9 – Oriola tries to find a gap and pass Nash; Ferraris pits with brake problems
Lap 11 – Comini tries to overtake Colciago at the last turn, they clash, but Colciago resists and wins by one tenth; Nash finishes third ahead of Oriola, Vernay, Borković, Tassi, Gleason, Afanasyev and Homola; Tse beats Yan and De Souza in the TCR Asia race
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