TCR International Series: One more victory for Pepe Oriola in Bahrain
The Spaniard Pepe Oriola (Team Craft-Bamboo Lukoil) claimed one more victory in the opening round of the 2016 TCR International Series. After he won in Saturday’s night race at the Bahrain International Circuit, Pepe was again the most successful of 18 drivers in Sunday’s race at the 5.4-km long circuit. Oriola won ahead his teammate James Nash and they put the Craft-Bamboo Lukoil in the first place of the teams’ standings after two races.
Catastrophic end for two West Coast Racing drivers
The young Finn Aku Pellinen (West Coast Racing) finished third after both his teammates Kevin Gleason and Gianni Morbidelli had a catastrophic end of the race. Gleason jumped to the lead at the start of the race and he was leading until Lap 8 when Pepe Oriola overtook him. Shortly after that Nash passed Gleason and then it seemed that we would have two Lukoil Seats in the front and three West Coast Racing’s Civics behind them in the final order. But, the real drama just started.
Gleason and Morbidelli had a slight collision during Lap 9, which was enough to damage both cars. Gleason completely stopped at the end of the penultimate lap while Morbidelli crossed the finish line with a punctured front left tire and took at least two points with ninth place.
Borković promoted to third after Pellinen’s penalty
The Serbian driver Dušan Borković had a clever race in the B3 Racing’s Seat Leon TCR, he made a few smart moves and avoided all problems to finish fourth. He was promoted to third after Aku Pellinen received post-race 30-second time penalty for jump start. The same penalty was also imposed to Mato Homola, who had finished the race in sixth. As a consequence, Pellinen was dropped to 10th and Homola to 11th.
Davit Kajaia (Liqui Moly Team Engstler), who started from pole due to reversed grid, finished fifth. Third Lukoil’s driver Sergey Afanasyev finished sixth. The younger of Oriola brothers, Jordi, finished seventh and get first points for Target Competition’s Opel Astra TCR. Luigi Ferrara also scored points with Top Run’s Subaru Impreza.
Reigning champion Stefano Comini and his Leopard Racing teammate Jean-Karl Vernay had one more bad race. Vernay started from the front row and he was running good, but he was black-flagged and excluded on Lap 5 because his car was too damaged car and body parts was flying around. Comini had a puncture on Lap 2 and he spun off. Michela Cerruti also retired with Alfa Romeo Giulietta two laps before the end.
After two races Pepe Oriola leads the championship with 51 points, 15 more than James Nash. Dušan Borković and Sergey Afanasyev collected 27 poimts. The next round of the TCR International Series is scheduled for April 24th at Estoril.