Mikel Azcona, driving a Volcano Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición, took a dominant victory in Race 1 at the Slovakiaring, beating the Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS of Nicolas Baert to the chequered flag by 3.370 seconds.
Local fans received an early disappointment when the Hyundai i30 N of Mat’o Homola had to be pushed off the grid due to a possible recurrence of the fluid leak that had earlier forced the Slovakian driver to miss the second stage of Qualifying.
At the start, Azcona got away more cleanly than pole-sitter Tom Coronel and led the field into Turn 1. The Spaniard was then never headed and set off into the distance leaving several drivers to battle for the other podium places. Coronel’s team-mate Dušan Borkovič also made a relatively poor start and dropped from fourth on the grid to tenth. An incident early on the opening lap saw Russia’s Klim Gavrilov caught up with a number of other cars and the VRC-Team Audi was forced to retire.
Coronel was running in second place until Lap 4, when he was passed by Nicolas Baert in the other Comtoyou Audi. Then on the following lap, Coronel lost more positions when Dániel Nagy and Niels Langeveld both overtook him. Mehdi Bennani, who’d started from P10, moved into seventh place when he passed Felice Jelmini in a sister Sébastien Loeb Racing Hyundai Elantra N.
On Lap 6, Isidro Callejas had a huge scare when he ran onto the grass and the rear of the car was kicked into the air when he hit a large bump. Although the car initially seemed undamaged by the incident, Callejas would be forced to pull up in the race’s final moments with broken suspension.
Together with Borkovič steadily recovering and moving up the field, the attention over the final few laps was on the battle for third place. Langeveld had recovered superbly after starting from P13 on the grid and was threatening Nagy for third position, but the Hungarian driver held on to claim a podium finish behind Azcona and Baert.
Race 1 result
1. Mikel Azcona (Volcano Motorsport, CUPRA León Competición) 10 laps
2. Nicolas Baert (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS3 LMS) +3.370
3. Dániel Nagy (Zengo Motorsport, CUPRA León Competición) +4.660
4. Niels Langeveld (Sébastien Loeb Racing, Hyundai Elantra N) +5.581
5. Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS3 LMS) +12.166
1. Azcona 49 pts; 2. Baert 43 pts; 3. Nagy 36 pts; 4. Coronel 34 pts; 5. Langeveld 27 pts
Race 2 is scheduled to start at 13.55 CET on Sunday and will be streamed live on TCR TV and the series’ social media platforms.