Leopard Racing’s Jean-Karl Vernay took victory in a soaking second TCR International Series race at the Salzburgring, ahead of Craft-Bamboo Racing’s Sergey Afanasyev and Leopard team-mate Stefano Comini.
Vernay took the lead at the very start of the race after the front four drivers on the grid all made the incorrect decision to start the race on slick tyres. As the rain poured down on the warm-up lap the leading quartet were forced to pit before the race started, giving Vernay a clear run to Turn One from fifth on the grid.
The Frenchman led the early stages of the race from Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Davit Kajaia, before the Georgian racer was caught out by the conditions heading into turn one on lap seven, aquaplaning into the tyre stack and gravel on the exit of the corner.
That resulted in a trio of laps behind the safety car, before the race was able to resume with Leopard Racing holding first and second at the time.
That all changed when Stefano Comini went straight on at the Turn One chicane on lap 12, handing second to Afanasyev.
Then, just three laps later, Vernay made the same mistake, handing Afanasyev a brief lead before the Frenchman repassed the Russian along the back straight later in the lap.
Vernay was able to hold on to the lead thereafter to take his second victory of the season, whilst Afanasyev equalled his best-ever result in the TCR Series.
Comini held on to take third, ahead of Craft-Bamboo Racing’s James Nash in fourth, who moves to within eight points of joint championship leaders Pepe Oriola and Comini as a result.
The elder Oriola lost his 15-point championship advantage at the Salzburgring, with his race one retirement proving costly and preventing him from also starting race two, as Craft-Bamboo Racing struggled to identify the problem on his SEAT León racer.
B3 Racing’s Mat’o Homola took fifth, ahead of the leading WestCoast Racing Honda of Gianni Morbidelli in sixth, who had a relatively quiet race.
Jordi Oriola took seventh in his Target Competition Honda, ahead of 16-year-old Attila Tassi in eighth, who was one of the late switchers to wet tyres having originally been lined up to start from pole position.
WestCoast Raving’s Mikhail Grachev and Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Florian Janits completed the top ten, and indeed the entire list of finishers. The latter had been set for ninth before a mistake at the Ostschleife on lap 14.
Dušan Borković and Petr Fulín both failed to start the race as a result of damage sustained in the first race, the former as a result of a puncture which pitched him off the circuit in an incident with Nash.
The Mulsanne Racing Alfa Romeo of Michela Cerruti did manage to take the start of race two, but was subsequently black-flagged due to having received mechanical assistance to get her car going.
|1||2||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Leopard Racing||Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR||17||30:51.124||1:36.507||7|
|2||77||Sergey AFANASYEV||Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL||SEAT León TCR||17||0.955||1:36.864||15|
|3||1||Stefano COMINI||Leopard Racing||Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR||17||2.065||1:36.912||11|
|4||54||James NASH||Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL||SEAT León TCR||17||5.698||1:37.837||13|
|5||70||Mat’o HOMOLA||B3 Racing Team Hungary||SEAT León TCR||17||7.889||1:37.392||9|
|6||10||Gianni MORBIDELLI||West Coast Racing||Honda Civic TCR||17||8.297||1:36.845||5|
|7||33||Jordi ORIOLA||Target Competition||Honda Civic TCR||17||9.392||1:36.915||4|
|8||9||Attila TASSI||B3 Racing Team Hungary||SEAT León TCR||17||16.39||1:38.582||1|
|9||8||Mikhail GRACHEV||West Coast Racing||Honda Civic TCR||17||16.846||1:37.820||2|
|10||45||Florian JANITS||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR||17||31.036||1:39.298||10|
|R||7||Davit KAJAIA||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR||7||7 laps||1:39.096||12|
|R||43||Harald PROCZYK||West Coast Racing||Honda Civic TCR||6||6 laps||1:40.286||8|
|R||88||Michela CERRUTI||Mulsanne Racing||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||5||5 laps||1:45.639||14|
|NS||62||Dušan BORKOVIĆ||B3 Racing Team Hungary||SEAT León TCR||–||DNS||N/A||16|
|NS||74||Pepe ORIOLA||Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL||SEAT León TCR||–||DNS||N/A||6|
|NS||22||Petr FULÍN||Mulsanne Racing||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||–||DNS||N/A||3|