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Roberto Colciago praises Stefano Comini for ‘fair fighting’

Roberto Colciago, winner of the opening TCR International Series race in Malaysia, has praised his rival Stefano Comini for their ‘hard but fair’ battle for the lead during the race.

Cociago started the race from pole position, but got off to a poor start and was passed by WestCoast Racing’s Mikhail Grachev before turn one.

Whilst the veteran Italian was able to retake the position just two corners later, his main challenge thereafter came from the Leopard Racing Volkswagen of Stefano Comini.

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The reigning champion had worked his way up to second by the end of the opening lap, and the duo started to battle for the lead in anger after the restart on lap four, following an earlier two-lap safety car intervention.

Comini was never more than a few car lengths behind Colciago’s Honda, and the Swiss driver even briefly took the lead at the end of lap four with a late lunge into the final corner.

The lead would not last for Comini, however, as Colciago immediately re-passed at the next opportunity, and he held on to win the race from Comini, despite the pair making contact at the final corner.

In the end, the margin of victory of 0.176 seconds proved to be the closest finish in the TCR International Series to-date.

“I am really happy for everyone at Target Competition, for Giancarlo Bruno my engineer and the mechanics who gave me such a good car,” said Colciago, who joins an exclusive club of drivers to win in their début race.

“I have to say it was a really great battle with Comini, so thanks to him for fighting so fairly. I know him well, so I know how much the win would have meant to him.

“It was the first time I made a start with the five lights system, so I was on the throttle too much and I touched Grachev just after the start.

“The thing is, I am a little bit old these days and so I have to fight at the start of the race, not the end!”

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