Pellinen wins his first race. Drama for Comini and Tassi
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Rounds 5 & 6 – Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium – 5 / 7 May 2016
RACE 1 REPORT
Aku Pellinen signs maiden win under the Belgian sun
Aku Pellinen has joined the club of TCR race winners, after taking a clear win in Race 1 at Spa, on a sunny Friday afternoon. Once again, the young Finn of WestCoast Racing took an excellent start from row 2 and kept the lead throughout the entire race with his Honda Civic TCR.
Pepe Oriola and Dušan Borković concluded in second and third, after the Spaniard passed the Serbian on lap 1, both achieving their main goal of scoring heavy points. Mat’o Homola, Gianni Morbidelli, Kevin Gleason and Davit Kajaia took positions from 4th to 7th, after Jean-Karl Vernay and James Nash had ended their duel with a contact that cost several positions to the Briton (he eventually finished 8th) and a drive-through to the Frenchman, who dropped from fourth to 14th.
The last points were scored by Sergey Afanasyev and Antti Buri who both had stalled at the start. It was an even worse day for Stefano Comini, as the reigning champion’s car was stopped by a broken driveshaft before joining the grid.
The young Attila Tassi had a scary shunt in the last lap, caused by a puncture, but luckily he escaped unhurt.
Today’s result have closed the gap at the top of the points standings, with Morbidelli leading now only by 2 points on Oriola and 6 on Nash.
Race 2 will start tomorrow morning at 12:35.
Grid – Comini’s car stops at the bottom of the pitlane and is pushed back to the pits with a drive-shaft problem
Start – Excellent start of Pellinen from row 2; the Finn takes the lead ahead of Borković , Oriola, Nash, Homola and Tassi; Afanasyev and Buri stall on the grid
Lap 1 – Oriola passes Borković for second ; Tassi drops 4 positions.
Lap 2 – Vernay passes Homola for 5th at les Combes; Morbidelli is already behind them
Lap 3 – Pellinen leads by 2.5 seconds from Oriola, Borković , Nash, Vernay, Homola, Morbidelli, Gleason and Tassi; Hezemans, Corthals, Afanasyev and Guilvert fight for the 11th position
Lap 4 – Hezemans is given a drive-through for a track limits infringement; Corthals pits with turbo issues
Lap 5 – Vernay is putting pressure on Nash for 4th; Tassi is also given a drive-through penalty for track limits
Lap 6 – Both Hezemans and Tassi serve their drive-through
Lap 7 – Vernay and Nash make contact at the Bus Stop; Nash goes wide and rejoins in eighth position
Lap 8 – Oriola closes the gap on Pellinen; Vernay is given drive-through for the incident with Nash and drops to 14th
Lap 9 – Pellinen wins from Oriola and Borković , while Kajaia passes both Afanasyev and Nash for 7th; Tassi pèrovides the last thrill, crashing into the barriers at turn 12