TCR International Series: Pepe Oriola wins season-opening race in Bahrain
The Spaniard Pepe Oriola (Craft-Bamboo Lukoil) wins the season-opening race of the TCR International Series at Bahrain International Circuit. The last year’s vice-champion started the race from the fifth place on the grid but already during the opening lap he took the lead ahead of two teammates James Nash and Sergey Afanasyev. Oriola’s Seat Leon TCR stayed in front until the end of the race.
Borković dropped to ninth after bad start
B3 Racing’s Dušan Borković missed the opportunity for podium result after a bad start and he dropped from second place on the grid to ninth place at the end of the first lap. On lap 4 Borković was attacked by Stefano Comini in turn 1.
Comini’s Volkswagen Golf pushed Borković’s Seat Leon but the victims of that collison were Jean-Karl Vernay (Leopard Racing) and Kevin Gleason (West Coast Racing). They were hit by B3 Racing’s Seat and had to retire with damaged cars. Until then Vernay was on good fifth place.
Hungarian rookie Attila Tassi missed the race
However, collision promoted Borković to sixth place, behind West Coast Racing’s Civic of Aku Pellinen. Stefano Comini (Leopard Racing), Mato Homola (B3 Racing), Davit Kajaia (Liqui Moly Team Engstler) and Mikhail Grachev (Liqui Moly Team Engstler) rounded Top 10.
Eighteen drivers participated in the race. The young Hungarian Attila Tassi (B3 Racing) missed the race after he crashed in free practice and the team wasn’t able to repair the damage on his Seat Leon.
Leons and Civics fastest despite extra kilos
According to the Balance of Performance regulations for 2016, all Honda Civics and Seat Leon TCR cars have been given 40 extra kilos that bring their running weight from 1285 to 1325 kilos, including the driver. The Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR carried 30 kilos of ballast.
The Opel Astra TCR cars and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR have been left at the minimum weight fixed by the TCR Technical Regulations: 1285 kilos, while the Subaru STi TCR has been given a 20-kg weight break and runned at 1265 kilos. The two SEAT León Cup Racer cars were the lightest cars in the field at 1250 kg.