Jean-Karl Vernay has taken his maiden win in the TCR Europe. In a warm afternoon at Spa, the Frenchman of Leopard Lukoil Racing drove his Audi RS3 LMS to a lights-to-flag victory from pole position. The only one who could resist his pace was local hero Maxime Potty (Comtoyou Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI), who took a first podium finish in the series.
With a solid race, Mikel Azcona (PCR Sport Cupra) took third and most importantly, became the new leader in the overall standings, 5 points clear of Dušan Borković who was classified fourth with a Target Competition Hyundai i30 N. In the final laps, the Serbian had to defend fiercely his positions from the attacks of Julien Briché (JSB Compétition Peugeot 308), one of the drivers that put the show on the Belgian track.
Others, like Stefano Comini, Josh Files or Jens Reno Møller were less lucky and had to retire as a consequence of the tough battles. The Dane had a scary moment at the Raidillon after a contact with Attila Tassi, but luckily he managed to stop before crashing into the barriers.
Race 2 will start tomorrow at 14:55, with Reece Barr on pole on the top-ten reverse grid. Live streaming on www.tcr-series.com and www.tcr-series.tv.
Grid – Mora does not make it to the grid, because of an electrical problem; Davidovski’s Honda is also missing after suffering from extensive damage in the Qualifying session
Start – Vernay and Potty keep the advantage at La Source and there is no drama in the group
Lap 1 – Vernay leads from Potty who is very close they are followed by Azcona, Borković, Comini, Files, Kroes and Richard
Lap 2 – Briché fights in the middle group after a poor start; he has a contact after Blanchimont and goes off-track, but manages to rejoin; Paulsen passes Richard and Kroes for 7th; Barr pits after a contact with Paulsen
Lap 3 – Files and Comini have close fight for 5th; Ryba and Baus-Coppens make contact at the Bus Stop chicane
Lap 4 – Vernay’s lead is 0.8 seconds, with Potty keeping the pressure; Comini passes Files after the Bus Stop
Lap 5 – The Comini-Files run abreast at La Source, Paulsen tries to sneak in between the two and there is turmoil up to Le Combes
Lap 6 – Files and Comini make contact and retire; Briché benefit from the commotion and climbs to fifth of Paulsen, Richard, Kroes and Nagy
Lap 7 – The four top positions are stable, with Vernay leading from Potty, Azcona and Borković; the gaps between them increase
Lap 8 – Nagy and Abreu have a close fight for ninth; the Portuguese manages to pass the Hungarian; Møller, Tassi, Piro and Cencetti are fighting for 11th
Lap 9 – Tassi and Møller go side by side through the Eau Rouge and Raidillon; they clash and Dane skids off-track but is able to stop his car without crashing; Tassi keeps on fighting with Piro and Cencetti
Lap 11 – Vernay wins by a slim margin over Potty; Azcona is third while Borkovic successfully defends fourth place from an unchained Briché; Altoè win the DSG trophy in 13th position overall