Back-to-back TCR title for Stefano Comini after chaotic finale at Guia Circuit
Stefano Comini clinches back-to-back TCR International Series title after a dramatic finale at Macau Guia Circuit. His main rival James Nash crashed out in the first race and didn’t take any points, while Comini was the winner of Race 1. The winner of the Race 2 was a guest driver Tiago Monteiro, with Comini in the 4th place and Nash finishing 8th. At the end, Comini collected 267.5 points, 3.5 more than Nash.
Tipically for Macau, the first race turned into a complete chaos. After a number of incidents and two Safety car interventions, only five laps were completed, so half of the points were awarded.
At the start Comini was fastest, taking the lead ahead of Monteiro and pole-sitter Jean-Karl Vernay. Vernay overook Monteiro at the Lisboa bend, moving to second. Three local drivers crashed at Turn 1 while Gianni Morbidelli crashed at Mandarin, caused the first Safety car period.
The race resumes after one lap behind the safety car, but not for long, because Mato Homola hit the barrier at the Lisboa bend, blocking the track and few drivers behind him. On the same lap, James Nash hit the wall and broke the rear left suspension. After the race was resumed, the drivers were slowed down by the full course yellow and soon after that the red flag came out. Comini has won, ahead of Vernay, Monteiro, Dušan Borković and Pepe Oriola. With Stefano Comini taking a victory and James Nash eliminated as he hit the wall and retired, the gap between the two was reduced to only half-a-point before the final race, with the Briton still in the lead.
Another chaotic followed soon after. Monteiro sprinted from the second row and took the lead from Comini and Vernay. Borković and Oriola followed in fourth and fifth positions. James Nash appeared on the grid, after the Craft-Bamboo crew performed a miracle and repaired his car. He progressed to the 8th place, overtaking Sritrai and Belicchi.
On Lap 4, once again a pile up caused by the drivers from the Chinese championship forced the clerk of the course to suspend the race that resumed with only two laps to go. Once again half points were awarded. Monteiro remained in the lead, ahead of Vernay and Oriola, who both overtook Comini. For the Swiss driver in the Leopard Racing’s Volkswagen Golf, it was good enough to take his second TCR title.
“Champion again, that’s simply great! Last year I won with my guts, this time with my head… It was a difficult challenge but we made it, and it has really been a collective effort. I want to thank everybody at Leopard Racing, at WRT and at Volkswagen Motorsport, and give special thanks to Jean-Karl, whose help was really crucial this weekend to get the success. It has been a tough season, we had a difficult start with the car, but then we improved race after race. At this moment, I can only say that I am very, very happy”, Stefano Comini said.