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Gianni Morbidelli unchallenged in incident-filled Oschersleben race one

Gianni Morbidelli led from lights-to-flag for Round 13 of the 2017 TCR International Series season at Oschersleben, remaining unchallenged for 19 laps around the 3.667-km circuit, with Craft Bamboo Lukoil’s Daniel Lloyd and Leopard Racing’s Rob Huff making it two Britons rounding out the podium.

James Nash was fourth in his SEAT Léon up from starting seventh on the grid, with Morbidelli’s team mate Giacomo Altoè making it another good result for WestCoast Racing.

Comtoyou Racing’s Stefano Comini was clearly on a charge, storming his way through the field from 17th up to sixth, as team mate Fréderic Vervisch started from the back of the grid following an engine change.

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M1RA’s Attila Tassi was the first notable casualty on lap four, having been hit from behind by Leopard Racing’s Jean-Karl Vernay into the final turn, almost collecting Dušan Borković in the process, which brought out the Safety Car.

The pair had earlier clashed into turn one on the first lap, with Tassi spinning out as a result and being lucky to be avoided by the entire grid. Vernay received a drive-through penalty on Lap 9 for the contact which ended Tassi’s race and he served it immediately. The Frenchman would later decide to park his car in the garage on lap 11.

Engstler Motorsport’s Luca Engstler would retire on lap 5, with his VW Golf GTi’s bonnet being raised after the 17-year-old pitted.

DG Sport Compétition’s Mat’o Homola and Leopard’s Jaap van Lagen kept the crowds entertained, as a three-way battle emerged for what would end up being seventh place, with Stian Paulsen eventually being black flagged with two laps remaining for excessive track limits abuse at Turn 9.

Ferry Monster Autosport’s Danny Kroes was ninth, ahead of the other resurgent Audi of Vervisch, who like Comini, was able to take advantage of clashes and incidents out on track.

Grégoire Demoustier brought home the second Opel Astra in 11th place, with Ferenc Ficza six tenths of a second behind in 13th. Duncan Ende, Robert Colciago, Aurélien Panis and Kajaia completed the finishing order.

But Panis would pull over after white smoke bellowed from the back of his Boutsen Ginion Honda Civic, following what appeared to be a fire in the engine bay on the last lap.

M1RA’s Colciago had earlier been running in seventh but the experienced Italian suffered from a puncture during the safety car period and dropped to the rear of the field after pitting for a replacement tyre.

Pepe Oriola’s race would be also compromised, with the Craft-Bamboo Racing driver having made contact with the rear of Van Lagen a lap after the restart into Turn 3, receiving the same penalty as Vernay. The Spainard would go way off track at turn two into the gravel on lap 16, before calling time on his race on lap 15.

GE-Force’s Dusan Borković would also retire on lap 11, as the Serbian’s Alfa Romeo suffered technical issues and retired to the pits with water and steam emanating from his car.

Tassi still leads despite his retirement, with the top four split by just 17 points after only Comini picked up points. The Swiss racer remains behind Colciago and Vernay, who also failed to finish.

Race two gets underway at 14:35 CEST (13:35 BST), lasting for 17 laps.

Race result

1 10 Gianni MORBIDELLI West Coast Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 19 31:28.263 1:32.610 1
2 17 Daniel LLOYD Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing SEAT León TCR 19 2.314 1:32.640 3
3 3 Rob HUFF Leopard Racing Team WRT Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 19 5.890 1:33.227 4
4 54 James NASH Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing SEAT León TCR 19 6.454 1:33.218 7
5 21 Giacomo ALTOÈ West Coast Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 19 9.938 1:33.489 6
6 1 Stefano COMINI Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 19 16.300 1:33.973 17
7 70 Mat’o HOMOLA DG Sport Compétition Opel Astra TCR 19 16.794 1:33.822 10
8 14 Jaap VAN LAGEN Leopard Racing Team WRT Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 19 16.992 1:33.285 2
9 38 Danny KROES Ferry Monster Autosport SEAT León TCR 19 23.892 1:34.129 19
10 6 Frédéric VERVISCH Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 19 27.858 1:34.513 23
11 66 Grégoire DEMOUSTIER DG Sport Compétition Opel Astra TCR 19 30.258 1:34.529 21
12 55 Ferenc FICZA Zengő Motorsport KIA Cee’d TCR 19 30.805 1:34.162 18
13 18 Duncan ENDE Icarus Motorsports SEAT León TCR 19 36.622 1:34.245 22
14 5 Roberto COLCIAGO M1RA Honda Civic Type-R TCR 19 37.614 1:33.353 8
15 28 Aurélien PANIS Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda Civic Type-R TCR 18 + 1 Lap 1:34.384 16
16 16 Davit KAJAIA GE-Force Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 18 + 1 Lap 1:33.585 15
17 34 Stian PAULSEN Stian Paulsen Racing SEAT León TCR 17 + 2 Laps 1:33.748 12
18 11 Jens Reno MØLLER Reno Racing Honda Civic Type-R TCR 17 + 2 Laps 1:34.747 20
19 74 Pepe ORIOLA Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing SEAT León TCR 15 + 4 Laps 1:33.359 5
R 62 Dušan BORKOVIĆ GE-Force Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 11 DNF 1:33.741 14
R 2 Jean-Karl VERNAY Leopard Racing Team WRT Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 9 DNF 1:34.560 9
R 8 Luca ENGSTLER Junior Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 4 DNF 1:34.197 11
R 9 Attila TASSI M1RA Honda Civic Type-R TCR 4 DNF 1:35.828 13
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