2017 TCR International Series: Monza

TCR returns to Italy’s ‘Temple of Speed’

The fourth race meeting of the 2017 TCR International Series takes place on Monza’s super-fast Autodromo, which is known worldwide as the ‘Temple of Speed’ another legendary motorsport venue visited by the series, after Spa-Francorchamps where rounds 5 and 6 were run last week.

The International Series has already competed at Monza, in 2015, providing two very lively races in which groups of cars were running abreast into every corner.

2017-2017 Monza Friday---10 Gianni Morbidelli_55

Local hero Gianni Morbidelli scored a double victory at the wheel of a WestCoast Racing Honda Civic, but he had to fight hard to recover and beat his competitors.

In Race 1, Morbidelli had a poor start from pole and eventually emerged as the winner after a four-way fight with the SEAT cars of Pepe Oriola, Andrea Belicchi and Stefano Comini.

The second race was even more thrilling, as Fernando Monje took the lead in his Opel Astra. The Spaniard was chased by a group of six cars that included Morbidelli, Belicchi, Oriola, Comini, Jordi Gené and Kevin Gleason. Positions were swapped several times and contacts were made. Finally Morbidelli beat Gené and Monje to the line by mere inches, with the latter giving Opel its best result so far in the series.

Will Monza produce a seventh different race winner?

2017-2017 Monza Friday---23 Pierre-Yves Corthals_47

After the first three events of the season, Leopard Racing’s Jean-Karl Vernay has been able to build a cushion of points between himself and his rivals. The Frenchman has scored in all of the six races held so far, finishing on the podium three times, including his first victory of the year in the second race at Spa.

Vernay’s margin amounts to 25 points ahead of Stefano Comini, while Attila Tassi,Dušan Borković and Roberto Colciago rank from third to fifth with gaps of 38, 40 and 41 points respectively.

However, considering how level is the performance between the top cars and drivers, it’s a safe prediction that the title fight will be very hard-fought.

A look at the statistics explains everything. The six races held so far have produced six different winners at the wheel of five different models of cars: Alfa Romeo, SEAT, Honda, Audi and Volkswagen (in chronological order).

Only the Opel Astra has not won a race yet, but has already shown its potential with the 1-2 in Bahrain Qualifying and the victory claimed by Mat’o Homola in TCR Benelux a couple of weeks ago. In fact, Homola and his DG Sport Compétition teammate Pierre-Yves Corthals have frequently been handicapped by bad luck .

Along the straights of Monza, outright speed will be a factor, which could be an advantage for the Honda and the SEAT cars, while Comini and Vernay will have to cope with the extra weight of the Success Ballast.

With such a close field, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Monza produces a seventh different race winner, or even an eighth…

Colciago, Morbidelli and Alfa Romeo: the Italian Factor

2017-2017 Monza Qualifying---16 Davit Kajaia_108

The Autodromo is one of the favourite places for Italian motorsport fans, especially when they can cheer representatives of the national colours, either drivers or cars.

Roberto Colciago in the M1RA Honda Civic Type-R will be one of the men to watch. Monza is his – and JAS Motorsport’s – home racetrack and the reigning TCR Italy champion is eager to make up for a disappointing Belgian weekend, when the Success Ballast greatly affected the performance of his Civic on the steep slopes of Spa.

TCR International Series Monza 12 - 14 May 2017

Gianni Morbidelli too has a special feeling with the Autodromo, where he won both races on the occasion of the TCR’s first visit in 2015. And on top of this, the former F1 racer is eager to make up for a disappointing start of the season that saw him struggling to set up the WestCoast Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI.

However, quite possibly the Tifosi’s strongest support will go to the Romeo Ferraris-built Alfa Romeo Giulietta cars driven by Davit Kajaia and Dusan Borković. Both the Georgian and the Serbian have already savoured the sweet taste of victory in the previous rounds, but success in Monza would have a very different meaning.

In fact, the last time an Alfa Romeo won a Touring Car race at the Autodromo dates back to 2006…too long a wait!

Success Ballast for Comini and Vernay

TCR International Series Monza 12 - 14 May 2017

In the Monza event, Success Ballast will only be carried by Stefano Comini and Jean-Karl Vernay, the race winners of the previous event at Spa-Francorchamps.

Comini was the best scorer in Belgium, with pole position, victory in Race 1 and third in Race 2 that brought him 45 points, but also 30 kilos of Success Ballast. Vernay, the current points leader, scored 39 points in Spa and so will be given 20 extra kilos.

TCR International Series Monza 12 - 14 May 2017

The 10-kilo Success Ballast for the third best scorer will not be allocated, as Benjamin Lessennes (who pocketed 31 points in his home race meeting) will not race at Monza.

As a result, Comini’s Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS will weigh 1360kg (1285kg minimum weight + 30kg Success Ballast + 45kg B alance of Performance adjustment), while the running weight of Vernay’s Leopard Racing WRT Volkswagen Golf GTI will be 1315kg (1285kg + 20kg SB + 10kg BoP).

Jaap van Lagen replaces Rob Huff at Monza

TCR International Series Monza 12 - 14 May 2017

Jaap van Lagen will replace Rob Huff at the wheel of the Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI for this weekend’s race meeting at Monza.

Huff, who joined the team last week at Spa, is forced to skip Monza because of a previous commitment and will be back from the following event at the Salzburgring.

With Jean-Karl Vernay currently leading the TCR International Series standings, the team did not want to miss the opportunity of fielding its second car and picked van Lagen who is both experienced and fast enough to provide good support to the Frenchman.

“I’m very much looking forward to my first TCR event ever at Monza! Especially because I’m joining a top team and I will be driving a competitive car. For me it’s a good opportunity to come back to Touring Car racing after a few years with LADA Sport. I hope I will be able do a good job and score important points for the team!” van Lagen said.

Cappellari joins the TCR International Series in Monza

2017-2017 Monza Qualifying---76 Daniele Cappellari_1

Daniele Cappellari, a regular competitor in TCR Italy, will join the International Series for the Italian event at Monza.

At a time when big articulated trucks line up behind the garages at each racetrack and hospitality suites fill the paddocks, Cappellari and his partner and team manager Fabiola bring their SEAT León on a trailer and sleep in a camper van like in the ‘good old days’, proving that the category is really affordable for independent teams and drivers.

And competing with a family-run team in this way does not affect results, as was proved by finishing in fifth position in last year’s TCR Italy.

Now, Daniele is looking forward to his first international appearance at Monza: “I feel very excited and I’m sure I will remember the Monza weekend for the rest of my life. I love Touring Car racing and when I was a boy I never missed a Super Touring race on TV, but I couldn’t even dream of taking part in an International event at Monza! Whatever will be, I will be happy. But I also hope to show off and find some support for the future. It will be a dream come true and I dare to hope that it will not be a one-off…”

Gabriele Tarquini, a spectator with an interest…

TCR International Series Monza 12 - 14 May 2017

Touring Car legend Gabriele Tarquini was a very attentive spectator in the Monza paddock over these two days, and had many hands to shake…

It’s nice to see so many friends, but I am not here only to socialize, I have come to see the future rivals…” admitted the Italian with a big smile.

“Il ‘Cinghio’ came to Monza from Misano, where he completed another test with Hyundai’s future TCR racer, the New Generation i30.

“The development and testing phase are going on smoothly and positively,” explained the former World Champion and official test driver of the Korean brand.

“I can say it is a well-born car. Things are definitely being done in the proper way. It is still premature to say anything about a race debut, but the time will come for sure!”

Qualifying – Frédéric Vervisch took his maiden pole

2017-2017 Monza Friday---06 Frederic Vervisch_48

In a very close Qualifying, Frédéric Vervisch took his maiden pole position in the TCR International Series. The Belgian was impressive throughout the whole session, in his only second Touring Car appearance.

It was also the second consecutive pole for Audi and Comtoyou Racing, after the one claimed by Stefano Comini at Spa. Six brands were represented in the top 7, all covered by seven tenths, proving the competitiveness of the field.

The M1RA Honda Civic cars of Roberto Colciago and Attila Tassi dominated most of the two parts of the session, but were eventually beaten by the Audi.

Davit Kajaia was an excellent fourth-fastest with the GE Force Alfa Romeo Giulietta, preceding the DG Sport Compétition Opel Astra of Mat’o Homola, the best of the Lukoil Craft-Bamboo SEAT León cars of Pepe Oriola and the best of the Volkswagen Golf GTI cars, the Leopard Racing Team WRT machine of Jean-Karl Vernay.

Stefano Comini was only 8th, after a difficult session, ahead of James Nash and Hugo Valente. The two Lukoil Craft-Bamboo drivers will fill the front row of the top-ten reverse grid for Race 2.

Qualifying 1: Colciago was fastest at home

2017-2017 Monza Friday---05 Roberto Colciago_63

The session started under the sun and with perfect conditions. It was immediately a slipstreaming exercise, with the three Lukoil Craft-Bamboo SEAT cars of Oriola (2:01.078), Valente and Nash, leading in that order.

Shortly afterwards, it was the DG Sport Compétition Opel Astra cars taking the advantage with Corthals (2:00.946), but Oriola retook the lead (2:00.153) before being beaten by the Honda Civic cars of Tassi (2:00.063) and Colciago (2:00.090).

With six minutes to go, Vervisch put his Audi on top (2:00.021). Shortly afterwards, the Hungarian young boys made a hit, with Tassi back on top (1:59.610) ahead of Ferenc Ficza (1:59.895) in the Zele Motorsport SEAT León.

In the dying moments of the session, though, Colciago pipped everybody with a lap of 1:59.601. The Italian beat Tassi, Ficza, Vervisch, Oriola, Vernay, Homola, Kajaia, Valente and Nash. The last two promoted to Q2 were Comini and Jaap van Lagen.

Those who did not make the cut were the two WestCoast VW Golf cars of Morbidelli and Altoè, the GE Force Alfa Romeo of Borković, Corthals, Paulsen, Cappellari and Møller.

Qualifying 2: Vervisch beat the Honda boys

TCR International Series Monza 12 - 14 May 2017

As Valente went straight at the Roggia on the first fast lap, Colciago confirmed immediately his leadership (1:59.859), ahead of Homola, Comini and van Lagen. In the second fastest lap, Colciago improved (1:59.246) and Tassi moved up to second (1:59.361), with Kajaia third.

It was then Tassi who took the provisional pole on his last lap (1:59.131) before being beaten by Colciago (1:59.097). Eventually it was Vervisch (1:58.997) who went faster than the two Honda cars. Kajaia (1:59:469) was an excellent fourth, flowed by Homola, Oriola, Vernay, Comini, Nash and Valente who took pole for Race 2.

What the fastest drivers said after Qualifying

TCR International Series Monza 12 - 14 May 2017

Frédéric Vervisch (1st): “Before the weekend, everybody knew that the Audi had good top speed but you still have to do it, the speed has to be there and Monza is not an easy track. I’m really, really pleased that Audi and the team gave us such a good car and I hope we can have a bit more pace than we had at Spa in the race. We discussed slipstreaming and we tried it yesterday, but it didn’t really work and so we decided not to do it.”

TCR International Series Monza 12 - 14 May 2017

Roberto Colciago (2nd): “Until this morning, I didn’t know if I could even go in the car; I’m surprised I could drive, let alone be P2! I think I have a problem with the discs in my back, which I damaged yesterday going across the kerbs. It started at Spa but I had a massage during the week, which helped. After FP2 yesterday I was really bad and I didn’t sleep much, so I don’t know what will happen in the race.”

TCR International Series Monza 12 - 14 May 2017

Attila Tassi (3rd): “It feels good. We worked a lot during Free Practice yesterday to set up a good car for Qualifying and for the races. Of course, I have a really experienced teammate who is at his home track so that is a big plus for me because he has taught me lots of small things about Monza. In the race, I will try to do the same kind of start I did at Spa and then defend hard.”

Colciago and Tassi make it a 1-2 finish for Honda as Vernay maintains his lead in the standings

2017-2017 Monza Race 1---Podium Race1_4

Roberto Colciago was the first driver to take a second win in this year’s TCR International Series. The Italian, who lives a few kilometres from the Autodromo, completed a brilliant performance in a very lively Race 1 at Monza to beat his young teammate Attila Tassi and giving M1RA and the Honda Civic an impressive 1-2 finish.

Pepe Oriola, with the Lukoil Craft-Bamboo SEAT León, finished third ahead of Jean-Karl Vernay (Leopard Racing Team WRT Volkswagen Golf GTI) who had a relatively quiet race and scored useful points that helped him to maintain the championship lead with a 24-point margin ahead of Colciago. Ferenc Ficza (Zele Motorsport SEAT León) was classified fifth, beating pole sitter Frédéric Vervisch (Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS) by inches.

Once again, Monza provided the ingredients for a spectacular race, with plenty of duels and contacts that jeopardized the hopes of potential contenders such as Valente, Homola, Comini and Borković. They were all able to salvage some points at least, something that Nash, Morbidelli, van Lagen and Kajaia could not.

RACE ONE

Start: Vervisch starts well from pole, but Colciago and Tassi pass him before the first chicane

2017-2017 Monza Race 1---05 Roberto Colciago_162

Lap 1: Homola and Oriola make contact at the first chicane, also involving Comini and Morbidelli. Homola spins and rejoins whilst Altoè goes out in the gravel at the Curvone following a contact with Valente. Colciago leads from Tassi, Vervisch and Kajaia

Lap 2: Kajaia touches Vervisch at the first chicane as Vernay goes straight on

Lap 3: Colciago is being chased by Tassi, Oriola, Vernay, Nash, van Lagen, Ficza and Valente whilst Vervisch has dropped to 10th ahead of Homola. There is contact between Valente and Ficza at the Parabolica

Lap 4: Ficza and Nash go straight on at the chicane as Vervisch makes contact with Valente and cuts the Roggia chicane, gaining two positions

2017-2017 Monza Race 1---06 Frederic Vervisch_146 (1)

Lap 5: There is a battle for 6th between Vervisch, Valente, Nash, Borković, Homola, and Morbidelli, with plenty of contact involved.

Lap 6: At the first chicane, Borković hits Morbidelli then Comini overtakes them both for 9th as Homola passes Vervisch and Nash for 6th.

Lap 8: Vervisch, Valente, Borković and Morbidelli keep fighting as Colciago has a four-tenths lead over Tassi who is trailed by Oriola, Vernay and Ficza  

TCR International Series Monza 12 - 14 May 2017

Lap 9: Tassi and Oriola get closer to Colciago, but the Hungarian goes wide at Lesmo 2 handing the second place to Oriola as Corthals and Kajaia retire in the pits

Lap 10: Tassi attacks Oriola and re-takes the second place at the Roggia however there is contact and a fender of Oriola’s SEAT rubs against a rear tyre as Vernay closes the gap from the Spaniard

Lap 11: Colciago wins ahead of Tassi, Oriola, Vernay, Ficza, Vervisch, Valente, Homola, Comini and Borković

Fizca drops to tenth after penalty

2017-2017 Monza Qualifying---55 Ferenc Ficza_78

The many investigations that followed the first race ended up in only one driver being penalised: Feren Ficza.

The young Hungarian was given a 10-second time penalty for gaining an unfair advantage. In fact Ficza’s Zele Racing SEAT León cut through the first chicane during the fourth lap of today’s Race 1 and moved up a couple of places in the process.

Ficza eventually finished in fifth position, but the penalty dropped him down to tenth.

Quotes from the Race 1 podium finishers

2017-2017 Monza Race 1---05 Roberto Colciago_130

Roberto Colciago (1st): “This morning, I didn’t know if I could race because my back was aching so badly, but luckily I had no pain once I was in the car. I couldn’t get away from the others because the tow is so important here in Monza and so I just concentrated on not making any mistakes. Attila pressured me from the start, so it’s good for the team that he has the same pace as me. When I was in Spa, it looked like I was racing with the ambulance because of the Success Ballast, so I’m really happy to win at my home track.”

TCR International Series Monza 12 - 14 May 2017

Attila Tassi (2nd): “It’s a great result for the team and for me as well. The start was just how I imagined it and I ended up behind Roberto. I was then a bit less aggressive and so the others could catch up with us. I made a mistake two laps from the end and Pepe overtook me, but then at the end he damaged his rear bodywork in the chicane so I overtook him on the straight and then defended the position. Roberto has been racing here in Monza for thirty years – nearly twice as long as I am old – and so he knows every little thing about the place which is really useful for me.”

2017-2017 Monza Race 1---74 Pepe Oriola_198

Pepe Oriola (3rd): “I had a really good start and I came into the first chicane side by side with two or three cars; I got a push and hit Homola, he spun and I’m really sorry, it wasn’t my intention. When I was up to third, I was trying to catch the Honda cars but it was really tough to follow them. Then I waited for a mistake and it arrived, but then Attila and I then had a little touch. I think SEAT has to work on the rear fenders of the car; it was only a little contact but this doesn’t have to happen. It was impossible to stop Attila, in the last 250 metres of the straights the top speed of the Hondas is amazing.”

Comini wins after a close but fair fight with Colciago as Only eighteen points cover the top three in the standings

TCR International Series Monza 12 - 14 May 2017

Stefano Comini won his second race of the year in a breathtaking Race 2 at Monza. The reigning double champion of TCR International clinched the win in his Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS at the end of a thrilling battle. Comini made a great start, managing to take the lead on the first lap, but could never build a substantial gap. In the final part of the race he had to defend himself from the attacks of Roberto Colciago.

The winner of Race 1, at the wheel of the M1RA Honda Civic, made a stunning charge through the field, climbing from ninth on the grid up to P2. He even managed to pass Comini on the penultimate lap, but the Swiss responded immediately afterwards and then was able to defend P1 until the chequered flag. With the first 11 cars finishing within 4 seconds, it was a typical, exciting and close Touring Car race at Monza, with plenty of action and duels. Frédéric Vervisch took third with the second Audi RS3 LMS, completing the excellent day for Comtoyou Racing, preceding the Lukoil Craft-Bamboo SEAT León of James Nash and the Leopard Racing Team WRT Volkswagen Golf GTI of Jean-Karl Vernay.

The Frenchman still leads the standings with 113 points, but Colciago and Comini are now only 16 and 18 points behind respectively. The title fight is just starting to heat up!

RACE TWO

Grid: The engine on Van Lagen’s car was changed after Race 1, which demoted the Dutchman to the back of the grid

2017-2017 Monza Race 2---Start Race2_12

Start: Comini makes an excellent start from row 2, overtaking Valente, who comes off the worst in a first chicane incident with Vernay and Oriola as Tassi is also pushed into a spin and collects Borkovic, who retires

Lap 1: Comini leads from Nash, Vernay, Oriola, Homola, Colciago and Vervisch

2017-2017 Monza Race 2---01 Stefano Comini_316

Lap 2: Homola and Oriola fight for fourth

Lap 3: Vervisch and Colciago move up to fifth and sixth overtaking Homola; Colciago overtakes Vervisch for fifth

Lap 4: Colciago passes Oriola for fourth

Lap 5: Vervisch passes Oriola for fifth

TCR International Series Monza 12 - 14 May 2017

Lap 6: Colciago passes Vernay for third at Lesmo 1 as Comini manages to build a small margin

Lap 7: Vervisch and Vernay are fighting for fourth; the Belgian passes at La Roggia, while Homola passes Oriola for sixth at the same spot; Colciago takes second from Nash; Kajaia takes seventh from Oriola

TCR International Series Monza 12 - 14 May 2017

Lap 8: Tassi passes van Lagen for 11th as there is a contact at the braking point of the first chicane, Morbidelli spins and Altoè cuts straight. Paulsen pits with a steering wheel issue

Lap 9: Colciago completely cuts Comini’s advantage and sticks to the Audi’s rear bumper

Lap 10: The first seven cars are covered by 1.5 seconds; Colciago takes the lead by passing Comini from the outside at the first chicane, with Vervisch doing the same with Nash for third; at the braking for La Roggia, Comini retakes the lead

TCR International Series Monza 12 - 14 May 2017

Lap 11: Vernay cuts the first chicane but retakes his previous position; Colciago makes a last attempt at the braking point before the Parabolica, but Comini keeps the inside line and wins by 0.170 second. Third is Vervisch, ahead of Nash, Vernay, Homola, Kajaia, Oriola, Tassi and Ficza, with Van Lagen 11th…all those within 4 seconds!

Colciago gets grid penalty for the next race

2017-2017 Monza Race 2---05 Roberto Colciago_235

Roberto Colciago will be dropped five places on the starting grid for the first race at the Salzburgring.

The Stewards deemed that the Italian driver caused an incident on lap four of today’s Race 2 at Monza. In the collision Frédéric Vervisch was pushed into the back of Mat’o Homola’s car and then straight-cut the Ascari chicane. 

No further action were taken after the other investigation on the first lap incident at the first chicane that involved Jean-Karl Vernay, Pepe Oriola and Vervisch.

Quotes from Race 2 podium finishers

TCR International Series Monza 12 - 14 May 2017

Stefano Comini (1st): “Yesterday was really a bad day for me; Valente hit me and accelerated to make me spin, but today was great. It was a funny first lap but I knew with the Success Ballast I had to get into the lead as soon as possible. It was difficult to keep the position, but it was fun. The solution to the brake problem was to get into the lead, so more cool air goes into the brakes. Yesterday was really dangerous, and in the last three laps today I had to use all my strength to brake because the car wasn’t slowing down.”

2017-2017 Monza Race 2---05 Roberto Colciago_244

Roberto Colciago (2nd): “I was impressed with Stefano today because he was really fast; I was in the slipstream but I couldn’t stay with him. My Honda was perfect in every single corner and this was the maximum I could do today. I don’t even want to think about Spa, which is the worst circuit to have ballast, and it’s why I was so impressed by Stefano today. He doesn’t live very far from me, so both of us wanted to win in Monza this weekend – it’s very special to win here. I tried my best to overtake him but it was impossible.”

2017-2017 Monza Race 2---06 Frederic Vervisch_185

Frédéric Vervisch (3rd): “Congratulations to Stefano, who did an amazing job, and I think the job from the whole team was really great. We’ve had the pace from the beginning and it was disappointing in Spa that I didn’t have the pace in the race. Yesterday was a bit ‘stock car’ but I’m very happy today and the next step is to go for victory. Apart from the result, all the races have been great fun; the category is like karting! I still have to get used to it but the Audi is a great car and so I hope the next time I will be where my mate is.”

The series will resume in Austria, at the Salzburgring, on June 10 / 11 for rounds 9 and 10.

TCR International Series Monza 12 - 14 May 2017

After watching the fun and frolics from Monza, the main subject that was the talk of the event was driving standards during the weekend.

There were two important points on this subject.

Many fans were upset over the contact that saw Mato Homola lose several places as others cut the first chicane and that he did not gain those places back. A protest was lodged by both Homola and DG Sport Competition after the second race.

2017-2017 Monza Race 2---21 Giacomo Altoe_113.jpg

The other talking point related to the poor driving standards was the release sent out by WestCoat Racing, whose drivers Gianni Morbidelli and Giacomo Altoe both saw their races ruined by contact.

Team Manager James Nixon was quite clear on his thoughts from the weekend’s activities…

“It appears the International series has some of the worst driving standards currently in any series I watch.”

“Sadly, most of these incidents seem to go un-noticed by the people that count! We were passed yet again more times off the track than on, but no positions given back. Maybe it’s better to have no rules but it’s not the kind of motorsport we want for the team. As a team we need to look at our options and decide if we continue to support this philosophy of racing.”

Whilst WestCoast Racing have had a difficult year so far as they adapt to the VW Golf TCR, it fair to say that the loss of this team from The TCR International Series would be a big blow. I expect that there will be some stern words said at the Salzburgring next month about driving standards…

2017-2017 Monza Race 2---01 Stefano Comini_316

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as the members of the TCR Talk Facebook Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from the series.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

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2017 TCR International Series: Spa-Francochamps

Legendary Belgian track welcomes back the TCR drivers

The third race meeting of the 2017 TCR International Series takes place on the demanding racetrack of Spa-Francorchamps in the Belgian region of the Ardennes: A legendary circuit in motorsport history. 

For the second consecutive year the series runs at Spa as a support event to the 6 Hours race, the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017

In 2016 Honda and Volkswagen shared the honours, with Aku Pellinen and Jean-Karl Vernay claiming one victory apiece. 

On Saturday afternoon in the first race, Pellinen led from lights to flag in a WestCoast Racing Honda Civic and led home the SEAT León cars of Pepe Oriola and pole-sitter Dušan Borković .

On the Sunday morning, the second race was dominated by the trio of Leopard Racing WRT Volkswagen Golf GTi cars, with Vernay winning ahead of Stefano Comini and Antti Buri.

The event also marked the debut in TCR of two 1.6-litre Peugeot 308 Racing Cup cars run by the Sébastien Loeb Racing and driven by Jimmy Clairet and Grégory Guilvert. 

A twenty-four-car field and six brands represented

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017

The TCR International Series has already raced twice in the current season, at Rustavi International Motorpark – the first international race meeting ever hosted by Georgia – and at the Bahrain International Circuit, one of two appearances with Formula One.

For its first European event, the series presents itself in top form, with a strong field of 24 cars – including Touring Car superstars Rob Huff and Tom Coronel.

Jean Karl-Vernay of Leopard Racing arrives at Spa as the points leader with a tally of 52, but the Frenchman is shadowed by GE-Force’s Dušan Borković and M1RA’s Roberto Colciago who are lying only one and two points adrift respectively.

Just a handful of points behind are Pepe Oriola of Lukoil Craft-Bamboo (45),Borković’s teammate Davit Kajaia (39), Oriola’s teammates Hugo Valente (38) and James Nash (34) and Colciago’s teammate Attila Tassi (36).

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017

There are four different car models in the top eight positions: Volkswagen Golf, Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Honda Civic and SEAT León.

However, in Spa it will be wise to keep an eye on the Audi SR3 LMS and the Opel Astra. The performance of both cars is definitely improving, as it was recently proved by Stefano Comini and Mat’o Homola. The Swiss and his Comtoyou Racing Audi won two TCR Benelux sprint races at Spa ten days ago and on the same weekend Homola drove the DG Sport Compétition Astra to set pole position and win another sprint race. The young Slovak had already claimed an impressive pole in Bahrain.

The same Success Ballast for Borković and Colciago

2017-2017 Spa Thursday---05 Roberto Colciago_69

Dušan Borković and Roberto Colciago, the race winners of the previous event in Bahrain, will both carry 30 kilos of Success Ballast at Spa.

The Serbian drove his Alfa Romeo Giulietta to victory in Race 2 after finishing fourth in Race 1, which gave him 37 points, while the Italian and his Honda Civic Type-R scored the very same amount of points by Qualifying fifth, winning Race 1 and finishing fifth in Race 2.

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017

The running weights of their cars will be 1345 kilograms for Colciago’s Honda (1285kg minimum weight, plus 30kg of Success Ballast and 30kg of Balance of Performance adjustment) and 1315 kg for Borković’s Alfa Romeo (1285kg + 30kg SB).

Hugo Valente, who Qualified fourth in Bahrain and then was classified second and third in the races with his SEAT León, scored 36 points, only one short of his rivals. And that point is worth 20 kilos, as the Frenchman will carry the 10 kilos of ballast imposed to the third best scorer, for a running weight of 1325kg (1285 + 10 SB + 30 BoP).

Rob Huff joins Jean-Karl Vernay at Leopard Racing

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017

In Spa the spotlight was on Rob Huff, who joins championship-winning squad Leopard Racing Team WRT for the remainder of the TCR International Series.

The 2012 FIA World Touring Car champion has already had his first experience with the team, sharing a Volkswagen Golf GTi with his new teammate Jean-Karl Vernay at the opening round of the TCR Benelux series ten days ago, also in Spa. There, Huff and Vernay took four podium finishes from four sprint races on Sunday.

Huff will compete in seven of the eight remaining events alongside current championship leader Vernay, with the task of supporting the Frenchman’s title bid.

Huff said: “It’s fantastic to join Leopard Racing Team WRT in this year’s TCR International Series. The deal came after the Benelux race event, which was a success despite having to learn a new team, a new car and category. I had a great time getting to know the team at Spa, and I think we’re going to have a great rest of the season together. TCR is also a brilliant championship to be involved in. There’s a lot of future Touring Car talent rising up through there, and also great door-to-door racing. As the levels of the cars are balanced, it’s a lot less about the car but the driver. For someone who started racing in mono-brand trophies, like me, it’s extremely appealing. It’s also very nice to again be in a series launched and run by Marcello Lotti and his team, who know the business inside-out and are like a family.”

Tom Coronel makes a one-off appearance at Spa

2017-2017 Spa Thursday---64 Tom Coronel_1

Touring car specialist Tom Coronel will make his first appearance in the TCR International Series this weekend at Spa-Francorchamps. 

The Dutch driver will be at the wheel of a second Honda Civic Type-R car run by the Boutsen Ginion Racing team, alongside that of his 17-year old teammate Benjamin Lessennes. One of Coronel’s commitments during the current season is taking part in the TCR Benelux in which he shares a Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda with the series’ reigning champion Stéphane Lémeret.

At Spa his car will be officially backed by Honda Benelux, who are determined to make Tom Coronel one of their top ambassadors, as confirmed by Paul Tomanek, the President of Honda Benelux: “The Dutch market is an extremely important market for Honda; we are thrilled to be able to count on his popularity and his talent behind the wheel to boost the dynamism of the brand in the Netherlands.”  

The Dutchman does not hide his ambitions: “TCR is a fairly new category but one that all drivers closely follow. After a race in the Benelux championship, taking part in an event of the TCR International Series is naturally very exciting, especially since Spa isn’t too far away for my fans and the level looks particularly high so the races should be extremely thrilling.”

Paulsen and Møller begin their European campaign

2017-2017 Spa Thursday---11 Jens Reno Moller_33

The third race meeting in Spa will represent the beginning of the European campaign for Stian Paulsen and Jens Reno Møller; they both will take part in the International Series European events with the aim of competing in the TCR European Trophy final at the Adria International Raceway in October.

Paulsen, 29 years old from Norway and 2012 winner of a FIA European Touring Car Cup, will be driving a SEAT León TCR run by his own team.

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017

“I am very excited by this programme. Looking further ahead I will be working to add a couple of overseas events in 2018 and eventually taking part in the full International Season in 2019,” he said.

A regular participant in both the Danish and the Scandinavian Touring Car championships and winner of the 2009 DTC Independent title, Møller will be at the wheel of a Honda Civic Type-R for Reno Racing.

 “I am excited for coming back to racing after a five-year break and can’t wait to work with JAS Motorsport again, as they have built a very competitive car. The new TCR category is really attractive for privateers and provides top class racing, with a lot of very quick drivers. I expect to struggle in the first part of the season, but I will work hard to be in the right part of the field during the season.” said Møller.

Six local drivers for the joy of Belgian fans

2017-2017 Spa Thursday---63 Benjamin Lessennes_43

Belgian fans will have reasons to rejoice, as six of their favourite drivers will be racing in Spa. Besides Pierre-Yves Corthals who drives the DG Sport Compétition Opel Astra, five of the TCR Benelux competitors will be making their first appearance in the TCR International Series for their home race meeting: Benjamin Lessennes, Frédéric Vervisch, Maxime Potty and the brothers Edouard and Guillaume Mondron.

Benjamin Lessennes teams up with Coronel 

2017-2017 Spa Thursday---63 Benjamin Lessennes_1

17-year old Benjamin Lessennes will drive the very same Honda Civic Type-R car run by Boutsen Ginion Racing he regularly uses in the Benelux championship.

After finishing eighth in the 2016 championship and claiming his first victory in the season’s finale at Mettet, Lessennes has just begun the new season with a couple of podiums last weekend at Spa: second in Race 1 and third in Race 2.

And it was perhaps an omen that in both the sprint races he was joined on the podium by Stefano Comini and Jean-Karl Vernay, guest stars of the TCR Benelux event.

“This is a real opportunity to see where I am facing the elite of the TCR International Series. The challenge is great, but I hope that I will be at their level and achieve a good result during this prestigious race meeting!” said Lessennes.

Comtoyou Racing add a second car for Vervisch

2017-2017 Spa Thursday---06 Frédéric Vervisch _24

After running a solitary Audi RS3 LMS for Stefano Comini in Rustavi and Bahrain, Comtoyou Racing will add a second car from the next weekend in Spa.

The team, that enjoyed success in the first event of the TCR Benelux scoring three victories out of the four sprint races (two with Comini and one with Sheldon van der Linde) has signed Frédéric Vervisch for the rest of the season.

The 30-year old Vervisch faces his first commitment in Touring Cars, after many seasons in single-seaters and GT racing.

The Mondron brothers with Delahaye Racing

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017

Guillaume and Edouard Mondron are used to sharing the car in TCR Benelux, which they did last week in Spa where they won the Qualifying Race at the wheel of a SEAT León run by Delahaye Racing.

However, for their first appearance in the International Series, they will spit. Guillaume will keep on driving the SEAT, while Edouard will switch to a Volkswagen Golf GTi.

Edouard’s Golf will sport a special livery dedicated to the 25 Hours VW Fun Cup that will celebrate its twentieth anniversary at Spa on 6 to 9 July.

“This time we won’t share the wheel, but we will face each other on the track,”Edouard commented and Guillaume added: “We won’t make it easy for each other, and may the best driver win!”

Michaël Mazuin Sport fields a Golf for Maxime Potty

2017-2017 Spa Thursday---52 Maxime Potty_30

Michaël Mazuin Sport in collaboration with the Belgian VW Club and with the technical assistance from WRT, will field a Volkswagen Golf GTi car for Maxime Potty at Spa .

The 17-year old Potty is another teenager who drew attention to himself with his performances in the TCR Benelux. After some promising results in karting, Potty debuted in car racing last year with a WRT Golf and finished a respectable tenth in the TCR Benelux, scoring one victory in the Qualifying race at Colmarberg where he shared driving duties with Stefano Comini.

On the occasion of the 2017 TCR Benelux first event at Spa, ten days ago, Potty was able to complete an outstanding recovery in the fourth sprint race, from last on the grid to second under the chequered flag.

Comini and Vervisch made an Audi 1-2 in Qualifying

2017-2017 Spa Thursday---01 Stefano Comini_43

The two Audi RS3 LMS cars of Comtoyou Racing will start Race 1 from the first row, as Stefano Comini and Fred Vervisch were the fastest in an exciting qualifying session and gave the German car its first pole position in the International Series.
The reigning double champion and the debuting local hero emerged as the winners from a close fight with Benjamin Lessennes, a brilliant and close third in the Boutsen Ginion Honda Civic. The Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI cars of Jean-Karl Verney and former World Champion Rob Huff completed the top 5.

The only two incidents in the Qualifying session involved Belgian drivers, with both Guillaume Mondron (Delahaye Racing Team SEAT León) and Maxime Potty (Mazuin Racing VW Golf) hitting the barriers, the first in Q1 and the second in Q2. This did not prevent Potty to take P10, which grants him the theoretical pole for Race 2, if the car is repaired.

Q1: Ferenc Ficza on top of the field

2017-2017 Spa Thursday---55 Ferenc Ficza_22

Ferenc Ficza confirmed his speed qualities by taking fastest time in a hardly-fought Q1 session. The young Hungarian, now at the wheel of a Zengő Motorsport SEAT León, stopped the watches in 2:31.205, beating Comini (2:31.344) by a tenth and a half. Tom Coronel (Boutsen Ginion Honda) took third, despite a scary moment at Les Combes, ahead of Huff, Lessennes and Verney.

Again, the TCR Benelux drivers did well, with only Guillaume Mondron out of the top 12; the young Belgian, who had led the session at the beginning, lost the car in the chicane after Les Combes, crashing into the barrier.

The list of drivers not making it to Q2 included some big names, like Morbidelli, Nash, Colciago, Borkovi ć and Valente.

Even longer was the list of drivers who had at least one lap disallowed for not respecting track limits; Homola, Corthals, Ficza, Kajaia, Morbidelli, Valente, E. Mondron, Paulsen, Ende, Vernay and Oriola.

Q2: Comini nails down the pole position

2017-2017 Spa Qualifying---01 Stefano Comini_90

Comini took the pole in Q2, after a good fight with local heroes Vervisch and Lessennes. The Swiss was able to beat his new teammate by a mere 0.067 seconds, while Lessennes was left a further 0.244 seconds adrift.

Potty had a scary moment as he lost his Golf in the Eau Rouge, hitting the barriers on the right side. Despite that, the young Belgian kept P10 and the pole for Race 2.

Two drivers concluded the session without clocking a valid lap time: Davit Kajaia (GE-Force Alfa Romeo Giulietta) had both his laps disallowed for not respecting the track limits, while Ficza was sidelined by a broken driveshaft.

What the fastest drivers said after Qualifying

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017

Stefano Comini (1st): “Comtoyou Racing did an amazing job in such a short time and we worked hard to improve the setup. We knew the Audi RS3 LMS has a huge potential and we showed that potential with this pole position. It’s very emotional to do it in Spa and to do it with two cars on the front row. I’m very happy for Fred Vervisch, for Comtoyou and for Audi. Sorry I didn’t manage to take Eau Rouge flat out as I promised, but it was very slippery and we ran with almost no wing and so it was a very nervous car. I tried, but it was too dangerous.”

2017-2017 Spa Thursday---06 Frederic Vervisch _37

Frederic Vervisch (2nd): “Yesterday, I really didn’t expect we would be P2 in Qualifying. Okay, we were quick, but the new guys have the new tyres and so it’s difficult to see what is really happening. Today, we were in contention to have pole but I had a bit of traffic at the end. I’m very happy for the team as it’s quite rare to have two cars on the front row and we just have to enjoy the moment. I’ve never done a racing start in a front wheel drive car, even though I made a few practice starts yesterday, so that might be my weak point.”

2017-2017 Spa Thursday---63 Benjamin Lessennes_46

Benjamin Lessennes (3rd): “We had a lot of work to do after the TCR Benelux races two weeks ago but the car was really good today. My engineer Kevin Boutsen has found a really good setup and I think we’ve found something good with the car now. It’s a very good setup for every track, I think, so we should also be good in the next races. We may find it a little difficult to warm up the rear tyres at the beginning of the races, so I think the fight will happen towards the end – let’s wait and see.”

Stefano Comini gives maiden win to Audi and Comtoyou  whilst Vernay stretches his leading margin in the standings

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017

Reigning champion Stefano Comini claimed his first win of the season this afternoon in Race 1 at Spa, in a newsworthy success as it also meant the maiden win in the TCR International Series for both the Audi RS3 LMS and Belgium’s Comtoyou Racing.

Comini, who started from pole, dominated the race after re-taking the lead in lap 2 from Attila Tassi, who took a stunning start. The young M1RA Honda Civic driver shone again in the final laps, defending from a charging Jean-Karl Vernay (Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf).

The Hungarian was rewarded with the third position on the podium, behind another young gun, Benjamin Lessennes, who finished a brilliant second in the Boutsen Ginion Honda Civic.

2017-2017 Spa Thursday---63 Benjamin Lessennes_1.jpg

The battle for fifth was intense and thrilling as a long queue of cars was trailing the other Comtoyou Audi of Frédéric Vervisch. The Belgian managed to keep everybody at bay, finishing ahead of Rob Huff, Edouard Mondron, Tom Coronel, Pepe Oriola and Pierre-Yves Corthals.

Vernay stretched his leading margin in the points standings to 15, while Comini climbed to second on equal points with Tassi and Dušan Borković.

RACE ONE:

Grid: Kajaia starts from the last position because of an engine change after the Bahrain event as Paulsen starts from the pit lane

Start: Comini is not super-fast and Vernay dives in-between the two Audi cars, but it is Tassi who pips everybody on the outside line and takes the lead. Colciago spins at La Source as behind Tassi, Lessennes is second, followed by Comini, Vervisch, Vernay, Huff and E. Mondron

2017-2017 Spa Race 1---Start Race1_3

Lap 1: Comini passes Lessennes for second at Les Combes. Homola and Potty make contact and the Opel driver pits with a broken wheel whilst Comini attacks Tassi but the young Hungarian resists well.

Lap 2: Coronel passes Oriola for seventh and attacks E. Mondron. Comini manages to take the lead from Tassi at turn 3

Lap 3: Comini pulls away and Lessennes passes Tassi for second as Ficza passes Morbidelli for 11th at the chicane

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017

Lap 4: Vervisch (4th) is under very strong pressure from Verney and Huff, which allows E. Mondron and Coronel to join the fight

Lap 5: Vernay passes Vervisch at La Source but the Belgian retakes the position at Eau Rouge; they continue fighting and the Frenchman passes the Belgian again at Blanchimont. E. Mondron hits Coronel, who goes off-track but rejoins whilst Ficza takes 10th from Nash 

Lap 6: In the fight for 5th, Vervisch is chased by a group of ten cars

Lap 7: Vernay is behind Tassi and attacks his third place whilst Vervisch gets a warning for track limits. Ficza drops to 13th after going wide after La Source as Corthals takes 11th from Morbidelli

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017

Lap 8: Corthals passes Nash for 10th

Lap 9: Comini wins from Lessennes; Tassi manages to save the third place beating Vernay by three tenths. Vervisch, Huff, E. Mondron, Coronel, Oriola and Corthals fill the other points positions.

Quotes from the Race 1 podium finishers

2017-2017 Spa Race 1---01 Stefano Comini_186.jpg

Stefano Comini (winner): “It’s fantastic to win here and to give the Audi RS3 and Comtoyou their first pole and their first win on such a great track and in the team’s home country. I am really very, very happy. I adore Spa, as everybody knows, and the car today was simply perfect. I really want to thank Jean-Michel Baert, from Comtoyu, he saved my 2017 season, and it’s nice to able to thank him this way, and also my engineer Corrado Àvila, who is doing a fantastic job.”

2017-2017 Spa Race 1---63 Benjamin Lessennes_99

Benjamin Lessennes (second): “It was a great result for me and the Boutsen Ginion Racing team. At the start I was able to dive inside Comini at La Source, but Tassi overtook all of us on the outside. Then I tried to overtake him at Les Combes, but it did not work. After Comini overtook me, I finally managed to pass Tassi, but the Audi was too fast today and I couldn’t catch up. I am confident for tomorrow’s Race 2, because my car is very good in the second part of the race and I think we can aim for a fourth or a third place.”

2017-2017 Spa Race 1---09 Attila Tassi_135.jpg

Attila Tassi (third): “I think I can be happy and proud of my race today. I took a very good start and could lead for one lap and a half, but the Audi had much more top speed and it was impossible to resist to Stefano. Later, I was under pressure from Vernay, but I could resist up to the end. I think it was a nice fight, very clean and I hope everybody enjoyed the show. I worked a lot during the winter, on simulator but also following the “Fit for race” training program put in place by Norbert Michelisz, which was very helpful for improving reactions, stress management, car control and this kind of things. I think it meant a real progress for me…” 

Vernay and Huff make a 1-2 finish for Leopard Racing

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Jean-Karl Vernay confirmed his special relationship with Spa-Francorchamps by taking a superb win in Race 2 on the Belgian track, where last year he had obtained his maiden TCR victory. The Frenchman took the lead with authority in lap 5, passing Edouard Mondron and Rob Huff in one move, and pulled away.

The success allowed him to further reinforce his lead in the championship standings. By finishing second, Rob Huff took a podium finish in his first appearance as a full-time competitor in the series and completed the triumphant day for the Volkswagen Golf cars of Leopard Racing, in what can be deemed as a home win, the team being based in nearby Luxembourg and assisted technically by Belgium’s Team WRT.

One year ago the team’s Golf cars had dominated the second race as well, placing Vernay and Stefano Comini first and second.

This time Comini took a valuable third place in the Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS that – together with yesterday’s victory in Race 1 – promoted him to second in the standings, though 25 points behind his former teammate.

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017

Once again the TCR International Series competitors delivered a very lively race, with many exciting battles. A trio of Belgian drivers took the positions from 4th to 6th: Edouard Mondron (Delahaye Racing Volkswagen Golf), Benjamin Lessennes (Boutsen Ginion Honda Civic) and Frédéric Vervisch (Comtoyou Audi RS3 LMS) finished in the order.

Davit Kajaia, with the GE-Force Alfa Romeo Giulietta, took 7th place after an entertaining fight with James Nash (Lukoil Craft Bamboo SEAT León) and Attila Tassi (M1RA Honda Civic).

It was a weekend to forget for the two race winners of the previous weekend in Bahrain. Both, Roberto Colciago (M1RA Honda Civic) and Dušan Boković (GE-Force Alfa Romeo Giulietta) struggled to be on the pace, their cars laden by 30 kilos of success ballast.

Nash was the best of the SEAT drivers in 8th, while his teammate Pepe Oriola saw his hopes swept away in the incident caused by Tom Coronel at the start. As for the two Opel Astra cars of DG Sport Compétition, they were both stopped by a loss of power while Pierre-Yves Corthals and Mat’o Homola were lying 10th and 11th respectively.

RACE TWO:

Start: Potty and E. Mondron start well, but Coronel punts Oriola before La Source, the Spaniard spins and collects the pole sitter Potty whilst at the back of the field Møller pushes Valente into a spin, they are both out of the race and Coronel as well. Oriola’s car is smoking and drops down

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017

Lap 1: E. Mondron leas from Huff; Lessennes and Vernay pass Tassi for third and fourth as Paulsen stops along the track

Lap 2: Lessennes passes both E. Mondron and Huff at Les Combes but runs wide at the chicane and drops to third again. Huff takes the lead and Comini overtakes Vervisch for sixth

Lap 3: Lessennes passes E. Mondron for second at the chicane whilst Morbidelli and Colciago make contact

Lap 4: Kajaia passes Vervisch at La Source for 7th as Lessennes attacks Huff on the outside at Les Combes, they clash and the young Belgian is forced out of the track and rejoins in 5th position

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017

Lap 5: Vervisch re-passes Kajaia with the latter making contact with Ficza who spins. At Les Combes, Vernay attacks both Mondron and Huff and takes the lead. Corthals, who was 10th, stops in the pits

Lap 6: Homola and Oriola stop in the pits as well as Vernay pulls away and builds a 1-second leading margin on Huff

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017

Lap 7: Comini passes E. Mondron for third whilst there is big battle for 7th between Tassi, Kajaia and Nash.

Lap 8: Lessennes puts a lot of pressure on E. Mondron but without success

Lap 9: Vernay wins from Huff and Comini, E. Mondron, Lessennes and Vervish. In the battle for 7th Tassi goes wide at the ‘double gauche’ and drops to 9th behind Kajaia and Nash; Altoè overtakes Borković for 10th at the last turn.

Quotes from the Race 2 podium finishers

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017

Jean-Karl Vernay (winner): “My start wasn’t that great, but the incident at first corner compensated… In the first laps, I had a terrible understeer, I even thought that I had punctured a tyre, but tried to stay calm and things improved progressively. When I attacked Edouard Mondron for 2nd, I certainly did not plan to pass Rob as well, but I took the lead and from then on, everything went smoothly. It’s a very good result for the team, who is doing a perfect job, and for the championship where we lead despite not having the fastest car. It’s my second win at Spa, but contrarily to many drivers, I am not a fan of this track…”

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017

Rob Huff (second): “At the start, I realized looking at the mirrors that Coronel was braking too late and I tried to leave room and avoid trouble. I could pass Edouard Mondron to take the lead but then I got under attack from Lessennes. He hit me on a wheel at Les Combes and he went off track, but after that my steering was a little bit bent. When I saw Jean-Karl coming back on Mondron and me, I braked a little bit earlier to let him more room and take the lead, and the rest is history. It’s a very good weekend for the team and I am really happy to be able to contribute its success.”

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017

Stefano Comini (third): “A very good weekend for us, maybe even too good! I am saying this because we are going to have some heavy success ballast at Monza, my home race, next weekend. But I am not complaining. Today, I knew I had to push hard in the first laps to get close to the top, but I got stuck behind my teammate who was making his race. I just killed my tires trying to pass him and after that the front guys were too far away. This said, it has been an excellent weekend for the Audi, Comtoyou Racing and myself, so I am very happy.”

The TCR International Series will resume in a few days at Monza for rounds 7 and 8 on May 13 and 14. 

TCR International Series Monza 12 - 14 May 2017

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as the members of the TCR Talk Facebook Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from the series.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!