The TCR Benelux’s last-but-one race meeting took place in the Netherlands, at Assen, where the Boutsen Ginion Racing-run Honda Civic cars dominated the field and claimed victories in all the four sprint races. Renaud Kuppens won the first two races on a wet track, while guest stars Norbert Michelisz and Tom Coronel finished first and second in races three and four.
These results helped Stéphane Lémeret – who shared the car with Michelisz – to further stretch his leadership in the championship standings that is now of 81.5 points (with 200 still at stake) ahead of the DG Sport Compétition Opel Astra of Pierre-Yves Corthals and Frédéric Caprasse that scored only one point in today’s races.
The RACB National Team SEAT León of Sam Dejonghe and Dénis Dupont won the Qualifying Race on Saturday, while some of the top runners – Lémeret, Coronel and Loris Hezemans – retired due to engine issues. The pairing of Renaud Kuppens and Benjiamin Lessenes (Honda Civic) claimed second place despite a drive through penalty, ahead of the Opel driven by Caprasse and Corthals.
Race 1 – Kuppens claimed a lights-to-flag victory from Dejonghe, while Maxime Potty climbed from seventh on the grid to third. Caprasse had kept third place until mid race, but dropped down to tenth following two drive-through penalties, one for an incident with Didier van Dalen on the opening lap, and the second for speeding in the pit lane while observing the first penalty.
Race 2 – Kuppens encored while Dejonghe retired at the end of the first lap after being involved in a multi-car collision. Lémeret was also eliminated by a technical failure while a second incident involved van Dalen and Caprasse who eventually was excluded for causing the collision and lost his sixth place. Potty claimed second ahead of Meinardt van Buuren who was later demoted to seventh by a 30-second time penalty for clashing with another car.
Race 3 – Michelisz bid the field farewell from the start and claimed a comfortable victory ahead of Coronel, while Amaury Richard won the all-Volkswagen battle for third position from Toine Hezemans and Alexis van de Poele. Another multiple collision on lap 3 eliminated Dupont, Bas Schouten and title contender Corthals.
Race 4 – With Corthals and Dupont sidelined for good after their incident in Race 3, Michelisz led throughout the whole race once again, though he had to defend his leadership from Coronel who finished only 0.046 seconds behind. Richard survived a first-lap incident that eliminated Hezemans and grabbed another third place ahead of Lessenes and van de Poele.
The final race meeting will take place at Mettet, Belgium, next week.
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