Tom Coronel takes a lights to flag victory in Race 1 at Le Castellet

Tom Coronel takes a lights to flag victory in Race 1 at Le Castellet

Tom Coronel, driving a Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS TCR, took an emphatic victory in Race 1 at the Circuit Paul Ricard at Le Castellet, with Franco Girolami making it a 1-2 for the team by finishing second. Felice Jelmini was third in a Target Competition Hyundai Elantra N but a number of incidents further down the order were reported as being under investigation at the finish.


Starting from pole, Coronel made a good start and led the field in the run to Turn 1. Jelmini had started alongside Coronel and was still in P2, but Girolami had made another of his trademark great starts and had made up two places to lie in third place as the field streamed through the first few corners. Josh Files, in contrast, made a poor start thanks to a launch control issue and had dropped from P3 to P8, later getting involved in contact with Pepe Oriola that dropped him a further place. Also in trouble off the startline was the CUPRA of Isidro Callejas, with waved yellow flags indicating a problem. The incident meant Callejas had dropped to the back of the field and so began a fight back from P19 to eventually finish eleventh.


The first few corners of Lap 2 saw contact between HYUNDAI | Janík Motorsport teammates Jáchym Galáš and Mat’o Homola, with the latter forced to run wide as a result. Pepe Oriola was threatening Jack Young for P6 and although the Spaniard briefly passed the British driver, Young quickly struck back and retook the position. The two Honda cars then battled throughout the race. Girolami, meanwhile, had passed Jelmini for second place and set off in pursuit of Coronel. Jelmini then came under attack from fourth-placed John Filippi, while there was contact in the final corner involving Files, Galáš and Homola.


On the next lap, Homola passed his teammate for P9 and then there was contact between Galáš and the CUPRA of Evgenii Leonov after the Volcano Motorsport driver dived up the inside of the Hyundai at Turns 11/12 and Galáš dropped to P16 as a result. Leonov later received a three-place grid penalty for Race 2 for causing the collision. By Lap 5, Viktor Davidovski’s Audi had closed up on the battle between Oriola and Young, while further down the order Leonov was dropping back. On the next lap, Leonov was passed by several cars and there was contact between his car and the Lema Racing CUPRA of Giacomo Ghermandi going through the chicane. Both drivers received reprimands from the Stewards for their part in the incident.


Files passed Homola for P9 on Lap 6 and on the next lap, Young ran wide and Davidovski was able to pass Oriola. Files then closed up on Oriola and the pair began battling for P8. Young looked as though his sixth place was secure, but the Halder Motorsport Honda slowed on the final lap with a rear puncture and Young was forced to retire.


There were no such last-minute dramas for Coronel, however. Despite Girolami steadily closing the gap to the leader over the final few laps, Coronel was able to take a lights-to-flag victory of just under eight-tenths of a second ahead of his teammate. Jelmini completed the podium places, with Davidovski rounding off a near-perfect race for the Comtoyou Racing team by finishing in sixth place and winning the Diamond Trophy class in the process.


Race 1 result

1.     Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS TCRR)   10 laps

2.     Franco Girolami (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS TCR)   +0.798

3.     Felice Jelmini (Target Competition, Hyundai Elantra N)   +1.483

4.     John Filippi (Sébastien Loeb Racing – Bardahl Team, CUPRA Leon Competición)  +1.851

5.     Klim Gavrilov (Volcano Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición)   +4.684

6.     Viktor Davidovski (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS TCR)   +11.457


Championship points

1.Girolami 106pts; 2. Coronel 96pts; 3. Files 77pts; 4. Gavrilov 74pts; 5. Filippi 69pts


Race 2 is scheduled to start at 12.15CEST on Sunday and will be streamed live via the TCR Portal, on TCR TV and the TCR Europe series’ social media platforms.


Race 2 -


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