Pauwels heads another Audi 1-2-3 in Sunday’s race at Le Castellet

Pauwels heads another Audi 1-2-3 in Sunday’s race at Le Castellet

After John Filippi, Nicola Baldan and Kobe Pauwels took the podium places in yesterday’s Race 1 at the Circuit Paul Ricard at Le Castellet, it was another all-Audi top three in Race 2 at the French circuit with Pauwels, Baldan and Tom Coronel locking out the podium for the Comtoyou Racing team. While Race 1 was relatively processional, Race 2 was anything but. There were passing moves on almost every one of the ten laps and the two race results have meant that the battle for the Drivers’ Championship has tightened up with just two events remaining.


At the start, the MA:GP Lynk & Co 03 of Viktor Andersson made a poor getaway from second on the grid, while the two Audi RS 3 LMS cars of Nicola Baldan and Kobe Pauwels were swiftly up into third and fourth places behind Viktor Davidovski in another Audi after starting from seventh and eighth on the grid respectively. At the chicane halfway down the Mistral Straight, Davidovski passed pole-sitter Levente Losonczy for the race lead, although Losonczy retook the position in the final complex of corners and Pauwels passed Davidovski for second place.


At the start of Lap 2, Pauwels passed Losonczy for the lead, but was forced to take to the runoff area at Turn 2 to do so. Baldan and Davidovski then both passed the Aggressive Team Italia Hyundai, with Losonczy soon dropping back through the field. The Stewards later announced that they would be taking no action over Pauwels’ passing move.


By Lap 3, Lewis Brown was fighting with Ruben Volt for P6 while the SP Compétition CUPRA of Aurélien Comte and Tom Coronel’s Audi had closed up on Davidovski. Comte passed Davidovski for third place in the run down to Turn 1 on Lap 4, but Davidovski refused to give up the place and swiftly retook P3. Coronel then passed Comte for fourth place, followed by Volt passing Comte for P5. Race 1 winner John Filippi had started from tenth place on the reversed grid but was now up to seventh after passing Lewis Brown’s Volcano Motorsport Audi.


The top three were becoming increasingly spread out, with Pauwels opening up a lead of over two seconds by the race’s halfway point. Coronel, however, had closed on Davidovski and the Dutch driver passed the Macedonian for third place going through the final corner of Lap 5. Volt then passed Davidovski for P4 on Lap 6 while Filippi was attacking Comte for sixth position.


On Lap 7, Losonczy pulled into the pits but the Elantra would rejoin the race and eventually finish in last place behind the unfortunate Andersson. On the same lap, first Comte passed Davidovski for P5 and then Filippi passed Davidovski for P6. That was the beginning of a battle for fifth place between the pair that would last until the chequered flag.


With large gaps having opened up between the top four, there were no further changes in the podium positions. Instead, it was the scrap for fifth place that dominated the final few laps, with Filippi trying but failing to find a way past Comte. When the flag fell, Comte had held onto the position, with the pair separated by just over two tenths of a second.


By way of contrast, Kobe Pauwels crossed the line over four seconds clear of Nicola Baldan, who finished in second place for the second time during the weekend. Coronel finished third ahead of Volt, Comte, and Filippi, with Davidovski, Brown, Sacha Bottemanne and Daniel Tkachenko completing the top ten.


In the TCR Europe Drivers’ Championship, Coronel’s lead over John Filippi is now 37 points with Pauwels having closed to within just 2 points of Filippi. The weekend’s results also mean that Davidovski has moved into fourth place in the standings ahead of Dušan Borković.


Race 2 result

1. Kobe Pauwels (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS) 10 laps

2. Nicola Baldan (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS)  +4.012

3. Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS)  +7.455

4. Ruben Volt (ALM Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R FL5)  +11.176

5. Aurélien Comte (SP Compétition, CUPRA Leon Competición)  +14.304


TCR Europe Drivers’ Championship points

1. Tom Coronel 357pts; 2. John Filippi 320pts; 3. Kobe Pauwels 318pts; 4. Viktor Davidovski 195pts; 5. Dušan Borković 190pts.


Following its traditional summer break, the next TCR Europe event will be held at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy over the weekend of September 22nd – 24th.


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