TCR International Series: Epic fights at Red Bull Ring
TCR International Series races at Red Bull Ring will be remembered because of epic fights for the win and time penalty for Gianni Morbidelli (West Coast Racing) who crossed the finish line in Race 1 as the winner, but after penalty because of unsporting behaviour he dropped out of the points. In Race 2 situation wasn’t so tense, fights between drivers was fair and there was no need for penalties. Pol Rosell (Liqui Moly Team Engstler) achieved historic first win for new Volkswagen Golf.
In Race 1 Morbidelli started from pole but immediately at the start he dropped to third, after teammate Kevin Gleason and Stefano Comini (Target Competition). Gleason was overtooked in the first lap by following duo. Far away behind them Daniel Nagy (Zengo Motorsport) and Mikhail Grachev (Liqui Moly Team Engstler) make contact and the young Hungarian crashed into the wall at the last corner.
Morbidelli was chasing the leader Comini and in Lap 4 we saw their first contact. Morbidelli ‘kissed’ Comini’s rear bumper, Pepe Oriola (Craft-Bamboo Lukoil) used that and overtook Morbidelli. In Lap 6 Morbidelli retook the second and also Andrea Belicchi (Target Competition) overtook Oriola for third. In Lap 9 Comini and Morbidelli swaped places twice, after that in next lap Morbidelli and Belicchi fought for second. In Lap 13 Comini and Morbidelli runned door-to-door and make contact again, Comini runs wide at the last turn and Morbidelli takes the lead and the win.
Andrea Belicchi and Pepe Oriola had fight for third, Belicchi crossed the finishing line ahead by inches. The first four drivers were covered by only 1.2 seconds. Jordi Gene (Craft-Bamboo Lukoil) was fifth, ahead Kevin Gleason, Sergey Afanasyev (Craft-Bamboo Lukoil), Mikhail Grachev, Lorenzo Veglia (Liqui Moly Team Engstler) and Pol Rosell on tenth place.
The tough fight in the race was followed by a hot exchange of accuses between Comini and Morbidelli after the race. The Stewards deemed that Morbidelli behaved unsportingly, hitting several times the cars of Comini, Belicchi and Oriola, so he was stripped of his victory by 30-second penalty. That demoted him out of the points and changed championship positions.
In Race 2 Pol Rosell in Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Golf was started from pole and was leading from start to chequered flag. Two more Spanish drivers was behind him – Pepe Oriola and Jordi Gene. Their teammate in Craft-Bamboo Lukoil Racing Sergey Afanasyev was fourth ahead West Coast Racing’s Kevin Gleason.
Second Engstler’s driver Mikhail Grachev, who started from 2nd, finished sixth ahead team-mate Lorenzo Veglia and Target Competition’s guest driver Michela Cerruti. Stefano Comini gets 2 points at 9th, another guest driver Gabriele Marotta was tenth. Gianni Morbidelli didn’t finish the race. He attacked Grachev but spun at Turn 3, hitting rival Comini in the back. Incident caused retirement for Morbidelli and loss of time for Comini, who slipped down to tenth.
Oriola now leads the championship with 225 points, two points over Stefano Comini, with Gene a further 22 points adrift. Gianni Morbidelli and Andrea Belicchi remain on 186 points.
Next races of TCR International Series are scheduled for September 20th at Marina Bay, Singapore.
Check all the results at SnapLap result pages.