Jean-Karl Vernay has admitted that he did not intent to go for the lead when he passed team-mate Rob Huff and Delahaye Racing’s Edouard Mondron in the second TCR International Series race at Spa-Francorchamps.
Having made up three places at the start when several front-runners made contact at Turn 1, Vernay found himself in fourth place after just one corner.
He then took the lead on the fifth lap of the race when he passed Leopard Racing team-mate Huff and fellow Volkswagen racer Mondron around the outside into Turn 5 in a sensational move.
The Frenchman admits that he didn’t plan to make the pass, but after the move he was never challenged again, as Huff acted to defend his team-mate from the rest of the field and allow Vernay to extend his championship lead to25 points.
“My start wasn’t that great, but the incident at first corner compensated,” said Vernay. “In the first laps, I had a terrible understeer, I even thought that I had punctured a tyre, but tried to stay calm and things improved progressively.
“When I attacked Edouard Mondron for second, I certainly did not plan to pass Rob as well, but I took the lead and from then on, everything went smoothly.
“It’s a very good result for the team, who is doing a perfect job, and for the championship where we lead despite not having the fastest car. It’s my second win at Spa, but contrarily to many drivers, I am not a fan of this track…”
Vernay had earlier on Friday taken fourth place with a solid drive, although he admits that it was a ‘tough drive’ with slipstreaming proving to be crucial at the Belgian circuit.
“[Race one] was pretty good. I had a good start but I was in the middle of some other cars and I couldn’t really take advantage of it. After that it was a tough race. Finally I was able to pass the guys ahead after a few laps but it came quickly; the car was amazing through sector two.
“I closed down on [Attila Tassi] very fast but again I couldn’t overtake him. All the cars are very fast in the straight and we can’t do much.”