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Mat’o Homola scores maiden win in eventful race one

Mat’o Homola scored a maiden win in the first race of the TCR International Series at Oschersleben in Germany, finishing ahead of B3 Racing team-mate Dušan Borković in an eventful race in mixed weather conditions.

Homola scored both his and B3 Racing’s first win in the series with a controlled drive from second on the grid, inheriting the lead on the third lap of the race when early leader Borković slid off the circuit and through the gravel on the slippery, slightly wet, circuit.

Barely a lap then passed without the positions in the top ten changing for the remainder of the race, with Borković’s off-track excursion initially dropping him down to third behind the LMS Racing SEAT of Antti Buri.

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On lap eight Buri slide wide himself, handing Borković second and allowing Craft-Bamboo Racing’s James Nash up to third. But the positions didn’t stay that way for long, with Borković then sliding off the circuit for a second time to hand Nash second, and Buri third on lap nine, before the Finn slid off the circuit again on the following lap and dropped to fourth.

That dropped Buri into the clutches of championship protagonists Stefano Comini and Pepe Oriola, who were at the time running in fifth and sixth respectively. On lap 11, Oriola tried to pass Buri at Turn 3 for fifth, but the duo made contact as Oriola exited the corner, pitching him off the circuit and into the tyre barriers.

The following lap also saw the demise of Comini, who went straight on at Turn 1 with a possible technical issue on his Volkswagen, almost immediately followed by WestCoast Racing’s Mikhail Grachev, who appeared to lose control and gently spun into Comini’s car.

That incident brought a second safety car period for two laps to recover the Honda (the first had been after just three laps when Attila Tassi spun into the gravel whilst trying to pass Comini around the outside).

When the race resumed, Homola was able to extend enough of a lead over the battle for second to take a first win, whilst Borković passed Nash for second into Turn 1 on the final lap, leaving the Brit to settle for third.

The second Craft-Bamboo Racing SEAT of Sergey Afanasyev took fourth, despite the Russian seemingly having made contact with team-mate Oriola on the opening lap of the race.

Buri eventually took the chequered flag in fifth, having fluctuated in all of the positions from second to sixth throughout the race, ahead of Leopard Racing’s Jean-Karl Vernay in sixth.

WestCoast Racing’s Gianni Morbidelli was seventh, although the Italian finished the race under investigation by the stewards after contact with Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Gary Sheehan earlier in the race, even though Sheehan eventually slid off the circuit into the gravel on the penultimate lap.

Engstler Motorsport duo Davit Kajaia and Niklas Mackshin took eighth and ninth respectively, whilst Oriola managed to rejoin the race after his earlier off and took a consolation point home in tenth.

There was heartbreak for the Mulsanne Racing team, with both Michela Cerruti and Petr Fulín retiring from the race with just a handful of laps to go, the duo having been running in seventh and eighth at one stage. Fulín was the first to retire his Alfa Romeo Giulietta in the pits, with Cerruti pulling off the circuit just one lap later.

Homola’s win elevates him from sixth in the standings to the overall lead in the championship on 131 points, just one point ahead of Nash in second.

Race two takes place at 14:15 CEST (13:15 BST).

Race result

1 70 Mat’o HOMOLA B3 Racing Team Hungary SEAT León TCR 19 34:32.066 1:36.468 2
2 62 Dušan BORKOVIĆ B3 Racing Team Hungary SEAT León TCR 19 1.438 1:36.552 1
3 54 James NASH Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL SEAT León TCR 19 2.383 1:36.671 3
4 77 Sergey AFANASYEV Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL SEAT León TCR 19 3.08 1:36.716 5
5 48 Antti BURI LMS Racing SEAT León Cup Racer 19 3.741 1:36.620 4
6 2 Jean-Karl VERNAY Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR 19 5.031 1:37.063 7
7 10 Gianni MORBIDELLI West Coast Racing Honda Civic TCR 19 5.533 1:36.930 6
8 7 Davit KAJAIA Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR 19 11.085 1:37.888 10
9 46 Niklas MACKSHIN Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR 19 11.562 1:37.684 14
10 74 Pepe ORIOLA Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL SEAT León TCR 19 26.593 1:36.906 8
R 47 Gary SHEEHAN Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR 17 2 Laps 1:38.073 15
R 88 Michela CERRUTI Mulsanne Racing Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 16 3 Laps 1:38.018 16
R 22 Petr FULÍN Mulsanne Racing Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 15 4 Laps 1:37.713 11
R 8 Mikhail GRACHEV West Coast Racing Honda Civic TCR 12 7 Laps 1:37.887 13
R 1 Stefano COMINI Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR 11 8 Laps 1:36.943 9
R 9 Attila TASSI B3 Racing Team Hungary SEAT León TCR 9 10 Laps 1:37.003 12

Complete race results

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