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Gabriele Tarquini wins as Aurélien Comte scoops TCR Europe Trophy

Hyundai’s Gabriele Tarquini claimed victory in the second TCR Europe Trophy race at the Adria International Raceway in Italy, but it was DG Sport Compétition’s Aurélien Comte who took the title after Josh Files was hit with a drive-through penalty.

Reverse-grid pole man Florian Thoma initially made a strong start, but the Liqui Moly Team Engstler driver went wide at Turn 1, handing Comte the lead early on, ahead of LMS Racing’s Antti Buri.

WRT’s Maxime Potty made a strong start from fifth on the grid to move into third early on, whilst early points leader Files ended the first lap in seventh, from tenth on the grid.

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Target Competition’s Files had moved up to fourth by lap ten, but disaster struck as the three-time TCR champion out-braked himself during an attempted pass on Potty. The Honda overshot, making contact with the left-rear corner of Buri’s Audi and breaking the latter’s suspension.

The stewards had no choice but to hand Files a drive-through penalty for the move, which came three laps later after he had passed Comte for what was then second.

Comte had lost the lead to Tarquini on lap 11, with the Italian, invisible in the points, then managing a comfortable gap at the front of the field to record the i30 N TCR’s second outright TCR win, after victory in the TCR International Series earlier in the month.

The latter stages of the race saw Comte in second fending off Target Competition’s Giacomo Altoè for the position which would merit maximum points. The duo knew that whoever came out on top would win, and in the end Altoè couldn’t find a place to make a pass on the Frenchman, giving the TCR Europe Trophy to Comte. The duo actually finished equal on points, but Comte took the title due to having secured a better result over the weekend.

Potty took fourth, having fallen away from the leading trio, ahead of Thoma in fifth, who settled into the position after being passed by Altoè on lap six.

V-Action Racing’s Luigi Ferrara was seventh in his Alfa Romeo Giulietta, ahead of the recovering Files in seventh, who made up two places in the closing laps after serving his penalty. Files missed out on the title by a mere two points.

Team Novadriver’s Francisco Abreu took eighth, the Portuguese driver having lost out most at the start when he dropped four places with a slow getaway.

Liqui Moly Team Engstler’s Luca Engstler was ninth, with Giovanni Altoè completing the top ten.

Sandro Pelatti took the final point for 11th, although the Italian had a boisterous race which saw him make contact with Lev Tolkachev on lap six, forcing his way past the SEAT at Turn 1.

Comte wins a TCR road car for taking the TCR Europe Trophy to add to his fourth place overall in the 2017 TCR Benelux Series earlier in the month.

Race result

1 30 Gabriele TARQUINI BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 20 27:33.484 1:21.040 10
2 7 Aurélien COMTE DG Sport Compétition Peugeot 308 Racing Cup 20 1.792 1:21.478 2
3 21 Giacomo ALTOÈ Target Competition Honda Civic Type-R TCR 20 2.178 1:21.033 8
4 88 Maxime POTTY WRT Racing Team Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 20 3.875 1:21.418 5
5 39 Florian THOMA Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 20 7.659 1:21.423 1
6 16 Luigi FERRARA V-Action Racing Team Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 20 8.481 1:21.982 6
7 99 Josh FILES Target Competition Honda Civic Type-R TCR 20 9.547 1:21.197 9
8 11 Francisco ABREU Team NOVADRIVER Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 20 13.989 1:22.028 3
9 8 Luca ENGSTLER Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 20 16.196 1:22.038 7
10 52 Giovanni ALTOÈ Giovanni Altoè Volkswagen Golf GTi DSG 20 17.591 1:22.240 12
11 53 Sandro PELATTI Sandro Pelatti Volkswagen Golf GTi DSG 20 29.960 1:22.759 17
12 54 Ermanno DIONISIO Ermanno Dionisio Audi RS3 LMS TCR DSG 20 30.238 1:22.416 18
13 15 Lev TOLKACHEV Innocenti – AMG Motorsport SEAT León TCR DSG 20 38.608 1:22.784 14
14 77 Denis GRIGORIEV Innocenti – AMG Motorsport SEAT León TCR DSG 20 43.691 1:23.118 16
15 4 Olli KANGAS LMS Racing SEAT León TCR 20 46.233 1:23.209 15
16 76 Daniele CAPPELLARI Daniele Cappellari SEAT León TCR DSG 20 49.654 1:23.337 19
17 44 Plamen KRALEV Kraf Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 17 + 3 LAPS 1:22.393 11
R 10 Antti BURI LMS Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 10 DNF 1:21.518 4
NS 5 Kevin GIACON Tecnodom Opel Astra TCR DNS N/A 13
NS 55 Giovanni BERTON Giovanni Berton Audi RS3 LMS TCR DSG DNS N/A 20
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