Coronel holds off Borković to win Pau Race 2

Coronel holds off Borković to win Pau Race 2

After a thrilling battle over the final nine laps, Tom Coronel held off a determined challenge from Dušan Borković to win Race 2 at the Pau Ville street circuit. Borković, the winner of yesterday’s opening race, came from eighth on the grid to finish second ahead of John Filippi while Kobe Pauwels was fourth and the best TCR Europe Rookie driver.


At the start, pole-sitter Coronel got away cleanly and led the field through the right-hand kink of Turn 1 and down to the Turn 2 hairpin. Rain had fallen during the formation lap, which may have contributed to a contact between the Volcano Motorsport Audi of Isaac Smith and the Comtoyou Racing RS 3 LMS of local legend Eric Cayrolle going down to Turn 2. Cayrolle stopped on the exit to Turn 2, while Smith limped back to the pits with damage to the front of the car. The Safety Car was deployed while Cayrolle’s car was recovered and Smith was soon forced to join Cayrolle on the retirement list.


Racing resumed at the start of Lap 4 and Coronel managed the restart well, staying ahead of John Filippi and Viktor Davidovski. Borković had managed to gain four places, helped by the incident involving Cayrolle and Smith, and the Target Competition Hyndai Elantra was now fourth behind the three Audi cars.


On Lap 7, Davidovski picked his moment and edged past Filippi at the Turn 2 hairpin. The Macedonian driver quickly moved up behind Coronel and for a while it looked as though we were set for a battle between the pair for the lead, but a puncture put paid to that possibility, forcing Davidovski into the pits. He would soon rejoin the race and ultimately finished seventh.


As Coronel was able to pull away, a three-way battle for second to fourth places began to develop. Borković closed up on Filippi, but Kobe Pauwels was right behind Borković and so the Serbian driver couldn’t afford to make any errors. On Lap 13, Borković squeezed past Filippi for second place and began his pursuit of Coronel, who by now had opened up a lead of over two seconds. The MA:GP Lynk & Co 03 of Viktor Andersson, meanwhile, had closed right up on Pauwels and the young Swedish driver was keen to salvage something from the weekend after suffering a broken driveshaft on the start line of Race 1 while he was on pole.


On the next lap, Olivier López pulled his CUPRA into the pits and retired. The race duration had been extended to 22 laps because of the Safety Car period, which left nine laps for Borković to hunt down Coronel. The Hyundai was soon right behind the Audi and by Lap 16 the gap was down to under seven-tenths. On the same lap, Andersson briefly nosed ahead of Pauwels, but Pauwels had the better line and immediately re-took fourth position.


The battles between Coronel and Borković and Pauwels and Andersson continued for the remaining laps, but there were no further changes in position. Coronel used his experience of the Pau circuit wisely and was untouchable in the final sector, so Borković settled for second place and a huge points haul from the weekend. Filippi finished third ahead of Pauwels and Andersson.


The result means that Coronel has opened up a thirteen-point lead over Filippi in the TCR Europe Drivers’ Championship, with Borković’s two podium finishes in Pau elevating him to third in the standings, sixteen points behind Filippi and three ahead of Pauwels.


Race 2 result

1. Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS) 22 laps

2. Dušan Borković (Target Competition, Hyundai Elantra N)  +0.566

3. John Filippi (Comtoyou, Audi RS 3 LMS) +5.132

4. Kobe Pauwels (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS)  +5.673

5. Viktor Andersson (MA:GP, Lynk & Co 03)  +8.038


TCR Europe Drivers’ Championship points

1. Tom Coronel 141pts; 2. John Filippi 128pts; 3. Dušan Borković 112pts; 4. Kobe Pauwels 109pts; 5. Isaac Smith 79pts.


The next TCR Europe event will be at the iconic Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium over the weekend of May 26th - 28th.


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