Claiming a fourth place in Race-2, the French driver of Leopard Racing WRT Team leaves Bahrain as the new leader of the TCR International Series with one point advantage over Serbia's Borkovic, today's winner on his Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
Final day at the Bahrain International Circuit for the TCR International Series. The spectacular racetrack designed by Hermann Tilke, hosting the second round of the 2017 championship, witnessed today a very eventful Race-2 with many twists and a great ending.
With the reverse grid rule determining the starting order, Hungary's Ficza found himself in pole position but it was Borković taking the lead on the first corner following a blistering start while Jean-Karl Vernay immediately engaged in a fight for 4th place with Colciago and Tassi. On lap-2 Ficza ran wide in a corner allowing the Frenchman of the Leopard Racing WRT Team to take 3rd place, sandwiched between the two Seat Leon cars of Nash and Valente. The latter managed to pass him on the next lap while Comini and Morbidelli were battling it out behind them and Altoe was forced to retire because of a technical failure.
Halfway through the race, Borković was firmly in the lead while four other cars were fighting each other for podium honours, including Vernay's Golf GTI defending his fourth place from Colciago. Tough luck for Kajaia, out of the race again on the last lap after yesterday's retirement! Borković bagged the second win of the season for Alfa Romeo but the Leopard Racing WRT Team could celebrate as well: thanks to his hard-fought fourth place, Jean-Karl Vernay has gained the leadership of the drivers' standings with 52 points, one ahead of Borković (51 p.) and two ahead of Italy’s Colciago (50 p.), winner of yesterday's Race-1. Next up will be the Spa-Francorchamps round on May 4-6.
Jean-Karl Vernay, 1st – 52 points:
“It has been a great race today and it was good for the championship as we took some valuable points. Once again the start was a bit difficult for me, we will have to work on it as we need to have a better feeling with the clutch and the throttle. We must improve as we don't want to lose too much ground at the beginning of the race. The first two laps were really good and I was able to take P3, but then I couldn't manage to follow the Seats as they were a little bit quicker on the straight. There was no chance to overtake them and that was it.
We were hoping for another podium, unfortunately we couldn't get it but P4 is great for the championship. Our target was to score points as the Bahrain Circuit isn't very good for our car, but we bagged 27 points here and that's really good for the championship. The whole team was just exceptional again, we just need to continue this way, scoring points, and I am sure the win will also arrive. Now we are going to race on circuits which are better for our car, so let's keep pushing! I just want to thank everyone in the team and our partners.”
Bahrain International Circuit – Race 2:
1 - D. Borković / SRB / GE-Force / Alfa Romeo Giulietta / 9 Laps
2 - J. Nash / GBR / Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing / Seat Leon / +4.154
3 - H. Valente / FRA / Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing / Seat Leon / +4.861
4 - J.K. Vernay / FRA / Leopard Racing Team WRT / VW Golf GTI / +5.391
5 - R. Colciago / ITA / M1RA / Honda Civic Type-R / +5.690
6 - F. Ficza / HUN / Zele Racing / Seat Leon / +9.161
7 - P. Oriola / SPA / Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing / Seat Leon / +14.967
8 - A. Tassi / HUN / M1RA / Honda Civic Type-R / +15.154
9 - S. Comini / SWI / Comtoyou Racing / Audi RS3 LMS / +15.261
10 - G. Morbidelli / ITA / West Coast Racing / Volkswagen Golf GTI / +16.525
11 - G. Corthals / BEL / DG Sport Competition / Opel Astra / +17.494
12 - M. Cerruti / ITA / GE-Force / Alfa Romeo Giulietta / +18.224
13 - M. Homola / SVK / DG Sport Competition / Opel Astra / +22.286
14 - D. Ende / USA / Icarus Motorsport / Seat Leon / +34.009
15 - D. Kajaia / GEO / GE-Force / Alfa Romeo Giulietta / NC
16 - G. Altoe / ITA / West Coast Racing / Volkswagen Golf GTI / NC
2017 Drivers’ Classification
1 - J.K. Vernay 52 points
2 - D. Borković 51 p.
3 - R. Colciago 50 p.
4 - P. Oriola 45 p.
5 - D. Kajaia 39 p.
6 - H. Valente 38 p.
7 - A. Tassi 36 p.
8 - J. Nash 34
9 - F. Ficza 29 p.
10 - S. Comini 21 p.