Pepe Oriola took a comfortable win from pole position in the opening TCR International Series race in Thailand, leading home Craft-Bamboo Racing team-mate James Nash at the Chang International Circuit.
Oriola led the race from pole after getting a good start, with WestCoast Racing’s Gianni Morbidelli initially settling into second.
The Spaniard, who is still nursing a foot injury this weekend, was untroubled for the lead in the 14-lap race, with Morbidelli’s challenge fading away around the mid-point of the race, allowing Nash to pass for second.
The Honda driver dropped to third, where he was able to easily hold on to the final podium position, as behind him the two Leopard Racing drivers of Stefano Comini and Jean-Karl Vernay squabbled for fourth, costing each other time in the process.
Reigning champion Comini got the better of his team-mate to take fourth, with Vernay in fifth, having been warned about track limits during the inter-team duelling.
Kantadhee Kusiri was the leading Thai local in sixth, the Honda Civic driver having made up two places at the very start of the race thanks to a strong getaway to pass both of the B3 Racing SEATs of Dušan Borković and Mat’o Homola.
Whilst Serbian racer Borković was able to take seventh, Homola was forced into retirement after just four laps when he suffered a problem with the right-front on his car, picking up a possible puncture.
That allowed the third B3 Racing Team car of Attila Tassi to take eighth, despite some fierce battling earlier in the race with Vattana Motorsport’s Narasak Ittiritpong and Craft-Bamboo Raving’s Sergey Afanasyev.
Late on in the race the Mulsanne Racing Alfa Romeo Giulietta of Petr Fulín suffered a failure and went straight on into the tyre barriers at Turn 3 at speed, retiring from eighth position. Tassi and Afanasyev subsequently moved up to eighth and ninth respectively, whilst Liqui Moly Team Engst’ers Davit Kajaia took the final points position as a result.
Oriola’s victory gives him 197 points and a 15-point advantage over second-placed Comini on 182 points, whilst Nash is now third on 179 points.
Race two takes place at 14:05 local time (08:05 BST, 09:05 CEST).
|1||74||Pepe ORIOLA||Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL||SEAT León TCR||14||24:32.596||1:44.533||1|
|2||54||James NASH||Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL||SEAT León TCR||14||1.280||1:44.537||6|
|3||10||Gianni MORBIDELLI||West Coast Racing||Honda Civic TCR||14||2.410||1:44.528||2|
|4||1||Stefano COMINI||Leopard Racing||Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR||14||6.633||1:44.901||4|
|5||2||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Leopard Racing||Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR||14||7.467||1:44.954||3|
|6||15||Kantadhee KUSIRI||Eakie BBR Kaiten||Honda Civic TCR||14||11.551||1:45.278||8|
|7||62||Dušan BORKOVIĆ||B3 Racing Team Hungary||SEAT León TCR||14||14.115||1:45.501||7|
|8||9||Attila TASSI||B3 Racing Team Hungary||SEAT León TCR||14||20.302||1:45.407||11|
|9||77||Sergey AFANASYEV||Team Craft-Bamboo LUKOIL||SEAT León TCR||14||22.446||1:45.552||9|
|10||7||Davit KAJAIA||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR||14||23.892||1:45.339||13|
|11||13||Narasak ITTIRITPONG||Vattana Motorsport||Honda Civic TCR||14||26.081||1:45.614||15|
|12||55||Munkong SATHIENTHIRAKUL||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||Volkswagen Golf Gti TCR||14||27.34||1:45.850||24|
|13||12||Alexander MIES||Kratingdaeng Racing Team||SEAT León Cup Racer||14||38.79||1:46.734||17|
|14||35||Rafaël GALIANA||West Coast Racing||Honda Civic TCR||14||44.808||1:46.491||16|
|15||58||CHEN Jian Hong||Kratingdaeng Racing Team||SEAT León Cup Racer||14||52.168||1:46.956||23|
|16||66||Nattachak HANJITKASEN||TBN MK Ihere Racing Team||Honda Civic TCR||14||52.444||1:47.308||20|
|17||53||Kari-Pekka LAAKSONEN||LMS Racing||SEAT León Cup Racer||14||53.234||1:46.734||18|
|18||97||Paritat BULBON||Sloth Racing||SEAT León Cup Racer||14||58.293||1:46.684||22|
|19||11||Grant SUPAPHONGS||Kratingdaeng Racing Team||SEAT León Cup Racer||14||1:23.558||1:46.355||21|
|20||8||Mikhail GRACHEV||West Coast Racing||Honda Civic TCR||11||3 Laps||1:45.970||10|
|R||22||Petr FULÍN||Mulsanne Racing||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||12||2 Laps||1:45.601||12|
|R||32||Luigi FERRARA||Top Run Motorsport||Subaru Sti TCR||8||6 Laps||1:47.331||19|
|R||70||Mat’o HOMOLA||B3 Racing Team Hungary||SEAT León TCR||5||9 Laps||1:45.502||5|
|R||44||Jack LEMVARD||Vattana Motorsport||SEAT León Cup Racer||1||13 Laps||No time||14|