Leopard Racing endured a challenging weekend in the TCR International Series at Oschersleben in Germany, as the team managed just two sixth-placed finishes in the weekend’s pair of races.
With reigning champion Stefano Comini, the WRT-run Leopard Racing squad arrived in Germany as the joint championship leaders. But it was Jean-Karl Vernay who ended up with the maximum 30 kg of success ballast from the previous event, thanks to being the most successful driver in Salzburg.
Despite the extra weight, though, Vernay was able to out-qualify Comini and put his Volkswagen Golf in seventh on the grid for the first race, from where he managed to secure sixth in an eventful race.
Unfortunately for the Frenchman, race two lasted less than a lap when there was contact whilst defending from Dušan Borković and he was forced to retire from the race.
“Considering I had to carry 30 kg of success ballast, I was having a good weekend and did reasonably well in race one,” said Vernay. “I started the second race from third place, but I was hit hard by the usual competitor and that threw me off the track and broke the steering box. It was a shame as the team did a great job and we deserved to finish on the podium.”
Comini had to stop early in the first race whilst running in seventh position with a broken radiator on his car, caused as a result of contact with his rivals.
Race two for the Swiss saw a determined drive, with Comini rising up the order from the back of the grid, from where he was forced to start due to the neutralisation of the parc fermé regulations to allow for the repairs to be made to his car.
Comini eventually finished in sixth, although he leaves Germany now 17 points adrift of the championship lead.
“In race one we were well placed but my radiator got damaged in the fighting,” said Comini. “The WRT mechanics worked miracles to change it in record time, so that I could start race two.
“Starting from the back row, I got held up when [Gianni] Morbidelli spun and then I began to move up the order, which eventually ended with a sixth place finish.
“We could have done better at this track, but we were prevented from so doing by some bad luck.”