Jean-Karl Vernay rounded off his perfect TCR Europe weekend at Monza with a second victory and pocketed the maximum score of 55 points over the two days. With these results, the Leopard Lukoil Team driver definitely relaunched his hopes in the battle for the title. He has now moved to second in the standings, 19 points behind Mikel Azcona and one ahead of Dušan Borković.
The young Spaniard collected a valuable fifth place, but he’s under investigations for a rough overtaking manoeuvre on Francisco Abreu that ended in a clash, sending the Portuguese into a slide. As for Borković, he retired due to a pucture.
Teammates Josh Files and Attila Tassi joined Vernay on the podium as they worked together to get the better of a very determined Maxime Potty in the final lap.
Tassi is still in contention for the title fight, but has a massive gap of 43 points to recover; with 55 points on offer in the final event, mathematically Dániel Nagy is yet another contender, although his gap has increased to 50 points after he remained scoreless in Monza. Even Files, 55 points off the leader, has still a chance, but he needs more than a miracle…
Just like in yesterday’s Race 1, the race was packed with incidents, the most serious one happened at the Ascari chicane where Benjamin Lessennes crashed into the barriers after colliding with Abreu. This cost the Portuguese a 30-second penalty that deprived him of a fifth place and sent the young Belgian to the hospital for medical checks. Danny Kroes was given a drive through after sending Jens Reno Møller off.
The Stewards are still investigating the collision between Azcona and Abreu and that between Kris Richard and Nicola Baldan.
The final event of the TCR Europe Series will be at Barcelona’s Circuit Catalunya on October 19/21.
Warm up lap – both the Subaru cars of Barberini (power steering) and Russo (driveshaft) return to the pits and retire
Start – Abreu sprints from the pole ahead of Lessennes, Borković, Files, Potty, Vernay, Tassi and Azcona
Lap 1 – Stefanovski drives on the gravel at Lesmo; Vernay overtakes Potty for 5th; Comini and Paulsen retire with a gearbox failure and a broken damper respectively
Lap 2 – Borković jumps over the kerb at the first chicane and forces Lessennes wide; Vernay benefits from the commotion to move up to 2nd; Potty overtakes Files for 3rd
Lap 3 – Vernay takes the lead from Abreu; Borković retires in the pits; Møller and Kroes make contact and the former crashes
Lap 4 – the safety car is deployed
Lap 6 – the race resumes; Azcona overtakes Tassi for 5th
Lap 7 – Abreu and Potty make contact, the Belgian cuts the chicane and moves up to second; Azcona and Abreu collide at Lesmo; Abreu and Lessennes collide at Ascari, Lessennes crashes into the barriers
Lap 8 – the safety car intervenes again
Lap 10 – racing resumes for the two final laps; Terting overtakes Abreu for 5th; Files and Tassi overtake Potty for 2nd and 3rd; Kroes serves the drive through
Lap 11 – Abreu and Azcona overtake Terting for 5th and 6th; Vernay encores yesterday’s victory from Files, Tassi, Potty, Abreu and Azcona, but Abreu is dropped to 21st by a 30-second penalty for his incident with Møller