Julien Briché and Aurélien Comte replayed their game as Peugeot fellow drivers and dominated the TCR Europe’s first race at Monza, finishing first and second like they had done in the morning Qualifying.
This was Briché’s fourth victory and helped him to cut another ten points off his gap from Josh Files in the standings. However, the Briton completed a great recovery from ninth on the grid to third under the flag, meaning that he has retained a 33-point lead before tomorrow’s final race in which 40 points are still on offer; and on top of this he will start from the front row of the reversed grid, with Briché in P10.
The Peugeot 308 proved the most competitive cars today and Comte respected the strategy, playing the perfect squire; he didn’t even need to protect Briché’s shoulders from overtaking attempts, because when Files managed to move up into third, the leading duo had built a gap too big to be closed.
Behind them, Santiago Urrutia was classified fourth ahead of a brilliant Mat’o Homola who elbowed his way through the field, recovering from the 17th starting position to fifth at the end.
Amongst the newcomers, is worth to point out the results achieved by Klim Gavrilov – though he lost a few positions in the final part of the race, dropping to 13th after having run as high as seventh – and young Moroccan rookie Sami Taoufik who finished 14th.
The second race will start tomorrow at 11:35 with Maxime Potty and Josh Files sharing the front row of the top-ten reverse grid; live streaming can be found at www.tcr-series.comand www.tcr-series.tv.
Grid – Homola is dropped by three positions (from 22nd to 25th) because of a penalty for a track limit infringement at Red Bull Ring; Bourdon (14th fastest in Qualifying) starts from the back following engine changes
Start – Briché starts well from the pole followed by Comte and Urrutia
Lap 1 – Magnus, Lloyd and Gavrilov make contact at Lesmo; Morbidelli and Engstler clash at the Parabolica and the German drops back; L. Filippi pits and retires with a smoking tyre
Lap 2 – Magnus overtakes T. Clairet for P4, Files overtakes T. Clairet and Magnus moving into P4; Briché and Comte pull away
Lap 3 – A. Bäckman cuts the first chicane; Lloyd overtakes T. Clairet for P6
Lap 5 – Lloyd passes Magnus for P5 at the first chicane
Lap 6 – Homola and A. Bäckman pass T. Clairet advancing to P7 and P8
Lap 7 – Morbidelli is given a drive through for an incident with Panciatici after the start; Homola overtakes Magnus for P6
Lap 8 – Files is on the tail of Urrutia’s car and passes him for P3
Lap 9 – Lloyd goes wide after a contact with Homola and drops from fifth to eighth behind Homola, Magnus and A. Bäckman
Lap 10 – Magnus overtakes Homola for fifth; Lloyd overtakes A. Bäckman for seventh
Lap 11 – Lloyd pulls up with a flat front tyre; Homola retakes fifth from Magnus
Lap 12 – Panciatici overtakes Gavrilov for P10
Lap 13 – Briché wins from Comte, Files and Urrutia; J. Filippi and Paulsen overtake Gavrilov for P11 and P12
1. Julien Briché (JSB Compétition, Peugeot 308), 13 laps
2. A. Comte (DG Sport Compétition, Peugeot 308), 0.409
3. Josh Files (Target Competition, Hyundai i30 N), 4.301
4. Santiago Urrutia (Team WRT, Audi RS 3 LMS), 8.113
5. Mat’o Homola (Target Competition, Hyundai i30 N), 14.162
1. Files 312 pts; 2. Briché 279; 3. A. Bäckman 217