Craft-Bamboo Racing CEO Richard Coleman has criticised the driving standards of Rob Huff and Stefano Comini in the season finale of the TCR International Series in Macau, claiming that his team lost out in both title races as a result.
The Anglo-Hong Kong team lost out in both the drivers’ and teams’ championships to Target Competition in Macau, with Stefano Comini ultimately lifting the inaugural drivers’ title in the former Portuguese colony.
After Comini out-qualified Pepe Oriola for race one, further extending his advantage to four points, the Swiss driver then went on to finish a position ahead in race one with third.
“We did OK in the first race, we got Jordi ahead of our rival Comini and tried to use that to control him, but unfortunately Pepe’s engine temperature was really high in the slip stream,” said Coleman. “It was very difficult but we lived to fight for race two [albeit] seven points behind.”
That left Oriola with one goal in race two; to beat Comini. Unfortunately for Craft-Bamboo Racing, who were still in contention for the teams’ title heading into the final race, Jordi Gené made contact with Rob Huff at turn one, triggering a huge, multi-car pile-up on the exit of Reservoir Bend.
Coleman insists that Huff was to blame for the accident, which effectively ended the team’s title hopes as Sergey Afanasyev was also caught up in the drama.
“That was a crazy move; Huff was totally in the wrong place,” insisted Coleman. “It was Jordi’s corner into turn one, which started a huge chain reaction and that put two of cars out.
“For the restart our rivals had three cars in the top five and we had one. So we had to focus on the drivers’ championship and that was going OK but Pepe just couldn’t find a way past.
“Comini broke very early into Lisboa and that damaged Pepe’s radiator and forced retirement, so I’m very disappointed to have no cars finish the race and crushed that we lost out of the championship. I’m sure we will pick ourselves up again and second is still a good effort from all the boys.”
Oriola himself was philosophical about his defeat, insisting that he was happy to have finished as the runner-up in a ‘wonderful year’ for his career.
“I have fought for the title until the end,” added Oriola. “Although I had a handicap of 30 kilos, Macau is a very difficult circuit where overtaking is almost impossible. In the first race I did not want to take risk unnecessarily and suffer an accident that could keep me out.
“I am very happy because I am runner-up of the TCR Series and this is already a great prize. Certainly, it has been a wonderful year for my career.”
Jordi Gené was later adjudged to have been at fault for the race two incident and was fined $1,000.