Spa Race 1: Ehrlacher wins, Pauwels takes the TCR Europe points

Spa Race 1: Ehrlacher wins, Pauwels takes the TCR Europe points

The Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 of Yann Ehrlacher took a lights-to-flag win in Race 1 at Spa-Francorchamps, with Kobe Pauwels scoring maximum points in TCR Europe after finishing fourth overall in his Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS.


Pole-sitter Ehrlacher made a relatively slow start , but his teammate Ma Qing Hua failed to get away from second on the grid which allowed the ALM Motorsport Honda Civic Type R FL5 of Néstor Girolami into P2 and Pauwels into P3 after the pair started from the second row of the grid. Girolami was almost alongside Ehrlacher as the pair went through La Source at Turn 1 for the first time, but Ehrlacher pulled clear as the pair headed down the hill towards Eau Rouge. Then, as the field headed into Les Combes, Santiago Urrutia in another Lynk & Co passed the Audi of Rob Huff for P4. The opening lap saw a number of incidents, including the Target Competition Hyundai Elantra N of Dušan Borković making contact with the RC2 Racing Audi of Rubén Fernández.


At the start of Lap 2, Borković and Ben Bargwanna made contact going into La Source, with the Serbian driver then colliding with Mikel Azcona’s Elantra before both Borković and Bargawanna pulled up on the outside of the hairpin. Tom Coronel then passed Rob Huff for P5 before the Safety Car was deployed so that the Elantra and the Peugeot 308 stranded at Turn 1 could be recovered. Borković would later be taken to the local hospital with a hand injury.


Only one lap was completed behind the Safety Car before racing resumed on Lap 4. Urrutia passed Pauwels for third place at Les Combes and Frédéric Vervish passed John Filippi for eighth position. On the next lap, Vervisch was attacking Norbert Michelisz for P7 and the Audi duly passed the Hyundai while Thed Björk in a Lynk & Co 03 overtook Filippi’s Audi for P9.


By Lap 6, a four-way battle for third to sixth places had developed, involving Urrutia, Pauwels, Coronel and Huff. Coronel was right behind his young Comtoyou Racing teammate Pauwels, but the Belgian Rookie held the Dutch driver at bay. On Lap 7, Ma had recovered after dropping down the order at the start to pass Viktor Davidovski for eleventh place.


It looked as though there would be no further changes in position, but on the final lap – and after a reported discussion with the Comtoyou team on the radio – Tom Coronel allowed both the KUMHO TCR World Tour Audi Sport Team Comtoyou cars of Rob Huff and Frédéric Vervisch to pass. Since both drivers are ‘invisible’ in TCR Europe, the move didn’t cost Coronel any points but enabled Huff to finish fifth and Vervisch sixth in the overall results.


But the race victory belonged to Ehrlacher. Apart from the brief challenge from Néstor Girolami on the opening lap, the Cyan Racing Lynk & Co driver had controlled the race from the front, including the restart, and crossed the finish line over 1.6 seconds ahead of Girolami’s Honda with Santiago Urrutia completing the podium places in third position. After the race, the Stewards gave Borković a three-place grid penalty for his next race for the incident at La Source on Lap 2, together with a five-second time penalty for Ma Qing Hua for causing a collision with Mikael Karlsson. The penalty dropped the Cyan Racing driver three places in the final results.


By finishing fourth overall, Pauwels took the maximum 40 points for being the highest-placed TCR Europe driver, with Coronel picking up 35 points for finishing second and John Filippi 30 points for third. Viktor Davidovski was fourth in TCR Europe, which meant all four Comtoyou-run cars finished in the top four places, with the Volcano Motorsport RS 3 LMS car of Lewis Brown giving Audi cars a clean sweep of the top five. Coronel has extended his lead in the Drivers’ standings to 21 points while Pauwels has closed the gap on second-placed Filippi to just three points.


Yann Ehrlacher (race winner): “I feel really good. You know, winning at Spa is always a pleasure. It wasn’t an easy race to win and it was quite tough; we had a bad start but then we recovered it and pulled out a little gap. Then the Safety Car broke everything up and so we had to do everything again, but the car was amazing and I’m pleased I was able to do this for the team. We’re looking at how we can optimise this for Race 2 tomorrow, and so we will see what will happen.”


Race result

1. Yann Ehrlacher (Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03) 9 laps

2. Néstor Girolami (ALM Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R FL5)  +1.637

3. Santiago Urrutia (Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03) +5.236

4. Kobe Pauwels (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS)  +5.977

5. Rob Huff (Audi Sport Team Comtoyou, Audi RS 3 LMS)  +7.607


TCR Europe result

1. Kobe Pauwels (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS) 9 laps

2. Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS)  +2.894

3. John Filippi (Comtoyou, Audi RS 3 LMS)  +5.922

4. Viktor Davidovski (Comtoyou, Audi RS 3 LMS)  +10.054

5. Lewis Brown (Volcano Motorsport, Audi RS 3 LMS)  +10.680


TCR Europe Championship points

1. Tom Coronel 183pts; 2. John Filippi 162pts; 3. Kobe Pauwels 159pts; 4. Dušan Borković 114pts; 5. Viktor Davidovski 113pts.


Race 2 is scheduled for 11.40 CEST on Sunday and will be streamed live on, the TCR TV app and the TCR TV YouTube channel



TCR Euro Series
28a Hills Road
Cambridge CB2 1LA, United Kingdom

TCR Euro Series:

Mark James, Press Officer: tel. +44 7973 751660,