TCR International - Sepang: Colciago and Gleason winners, Nash remains in the lead
Roberto Colciago (Target Competition, Honda Civic) and Kevin Gleason (WestCoast Racing, Honda Civic) are the winners of two TCR International Series races at Sepang International Circuit. As both winners are not regular drivers in 2016 TCR season, their victories didn’t effect the fight for the championship title. Ahead of last round, at Macau Guia Circuit, four drivers are still in contention for the title: James Nash, Stefano Comini, Pepe Oriola and Jean-Karl Vernay.
Victory for Colciago in his TCR International debut
The freshly-crowned TCR Italy champion Roberto Colciago was an absolute star of the TCR International grid on Saturday. First he took the surprise pole position and then he won the race in his debut participation in the series. It wasn’t an easy win for the 48-year-old Italian veteran in Target Competition’s #5 Honda Civic, as he fought against defending TCR champion Stefano Comini in the Leopard Racing’s Volkswagen Golf. They swapped positions and touched each other few times before the side-by-side finish, with Colciago crossing the line one tenth of a second before Comini.
Comini retook the championship lead for one day
The race started with a five-car collision on the opening lap. Davit Kajaia’s Volkswagen stopped on the track and the Safety Car was out. After the race resumed on Lap 4, Colciago and Comini had their own battle for the victory. Behind their back, Mikhail Grachev defended his third position from James Nash. On Lap 6, they made a contact which caused Grachev’s retirement while Nash took the podium spot and valuable points in the championship fight.
Pepe Oriola finished fourth, ahead of Jean-Karl Vernay and Dusan Borkovic. Other points scorers were Attila Tassi, Kevin Gleason, Sergey Afanasyev and Mato Homola. After the race, Comini jumped into the championship lead with 245 points, just one more than Nash.
Race 2: Nash second, Comini and Oriola without points
In the Race 2, the start was aborted after Nicky Pastorelli’s Ford Focus spilled oil on the start-finish line during the formation lap. The race was started behind the Safety Car, with Tin Sritrai in P1. He was in the lead until lap 4, when Kevin Gleason passed by him. In the same lap, Sritrai was pushed off by Stefano Comini and dropped out of points. Comini was later penalized with drive through penalty but as he didn’t go into pits, he gets 30 seconds penaly instead and finished 18th.
James Nash was driving clever, without incidents, and he earned his second podium of the weekend, finishing second. New points brings him back into the championhip lead. The West Coast Racing had two drivers on podium, as Gianni Morbidelli finished third. Dusan Borkovic, who started from 11th place, survived few on-the-limit situations and finished fourth, ahead of Jean-Karl Vernay. Pepe Oriola, one of the championship contenders, were fighting for P5 until the last lap, when contact with Homola damaged the suspension on his Seat Leon and Spaniard dropped to P13, earning no points.
With two Macau races on the schedule, four drivers have mathematical chances to take the TCR International Series title in its second season. James Nash is leading, with 262 points, seventeen more than Stefano Comini. Pepe Oriola has 229 points, six more than Jean-Karl Vernay.
The final round will take place on November 20.