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Michel Nykjær takes race two win in Salzburg

Target Competition’s Michel Nykjær scored his second TCR International Series win of the season in race two at the Salzburgring, ahead of Craft-Bamboo Racing’s Pepe Oriola and WestCoast Racing’s Gianni Morbidelli.

Nykjær got off to a strong start from second on the grid, beating poleman Igor Skuz into the first corner. The Dane was followed by team-mates Andrea Belicchi and Stefano Comini in the early stages of the race.

Things then deteriorated for Nykjær’s Target team-mates, as third-placed Comini was handed a drive-through penalty for a jump-start, explaining how the Swiss racer got from eighth to third at the start.

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Comini’s penalty dropped him to 11th, leaving Belicchi to challenge Nykjær for the lead. However, on lap nine Markus Östreich pulled off the circuit just after turn 11, having left oil on the circuit. That cuahgt out Belicchi, who slide wide into the gravel and rejoined the circuit in sixth position.

Craft-Bamboo’s Oriola also slid on the oil but held the slide, gifting the Spaniard second place, ahead of points leader Morbidelli in third. The Italian spent the last few laps of the race applying heavy pressure to Oriola, but he was unable to find away past.

Sergey Afanasyev finished in fourth, benefitting from a battle between Jordi Gené and Lorenzo Veglia on lap eight. As Veglia tried to pass Gené into the turn one chicane, he locked up and skipped straight over, but rejoined in the path of Gené, who ran into the back of the Liqui Moly Team Engstler driver. That allowed Morbidelli to pass, and Afansyev also benefitted.

Gené would be forced to pit for a replacement front-left tyre as a result of the contact, whilst Veglia was given a drive-through penalty, but ultimately retired a couple of laps later.

Belicchi went on to finish in fifth after his earlier off, ahead of WestCoast Racing’s Kevin Gleason in sixth, who spent much of the race battling to get past seventh-placed Mikhail Grachev.

After his earlier penalty, Comini finished in eighth ahead of Bas Koeten Racing’s Bas Schouten. The Dutchman had earlier made contact with the Honda of Skuz at the end of the opening lap, which saw the Ukrainian crash heavily into the barriers.

Gené completed the top ten after his earlier tyre change and was the last finisher.

Neither Zengő Motorsport’s Zsolt Szabó nor Campos Racing’s Fernando Monje started the race. The former suffered damage to the front-left corner of his car as a result of a race one puncture, whilst the latter continued to suffer from engine problems.

Race result

1 17 Michel NYKJÆR Target Competition SEAT León Racer 15 22:17.434 1:28.200 2
2 74 Pepe ORIOLA Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL SEAT León Racer 15 0.436 1:27.821 7
3 10 Gianni MORBIDELLI West Coast Racing Honda Civic TCR 15 1.429 1:27.883 9
4 77 Sergey AFANASYEV Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL SEAT León Racer 15 1.838 1:27.927 5
5 33 Andrea BELICCHI Target Competition SEAT León Racer 15 2.598 1:27.873 4
6 24 Kevin GLEASON West Coast Racing Honda Civic TCR 15 3.026 1:27.454 10
7 8 Mikhail GRACHEV Liqui Moly Team Engstler SEAT León Racer 15 17.8 1:28.446 3
8 25 Stefano COMINI Target Competition SEAT León Racer 15 19.459 1:27.866 8
9 34 Bas SCHOUTEN ST Motorsport / Bas Koeten Racing SEAT León Racer 15 25.106 1:28.189 12
10 88 Jordi GENÉ Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL SEAT León Racer 15 1:22.753 1:28.190 6
11 7 Lorenzo VEGLIA Liqui Moly Team Engstler SEAT León Racer 13 — 13 laps — 1:27.934 11
R 16 Markus ÖSTREICH Campos Racing Opel Astra OPC 8 — 8 laps — 1:28.937 13
R 20 Igor SKUZ West Coast Racing Honda Civic TCR 1 — 1 lap — 1:40.844 1
NS 46 Zsolt Dávid SZABÓ Zengő Motorsport SEAT León Racer DNS N/A 14
NS 19 Fernando MONJE Campos Racing Opel Astra OPC DNS N/A 15

Complete race results

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