Leopard Racing’s Rob Huff charged to a victory in the second TCR International Series race in China, overturning a 10-second deficit to James Nash to win ahead of WestCoast Racing’s Gianni Morbidelli.
At the start, reverse-grid front row men Frédéric Vervisch and Davit Kajaia failed to get a good getaway, allowing Craft-Bamboo Racing’s James Nash to leap from third on the grid to second and lead by the end of the opening lap after passing the Comtoyou Racing Audi at Turn 7.
GE-Force’s Davit Kajaia had then briefly got himself into second, but the Alfa Romeo driver would not hold the position for long as Vervisch got past on lap two and then contact on lap four broke the suspension on the car.
From there, Nash was able to open up a ten-second lead over the chasing pack, as Vervisch acted as a bottleneck to the field behind him. Further back, the other Audi of Stefano Comini forced Leopard Racing’s title contender Jean-Karl Vernay off the circuit at Turn 13, dropping the Frenchman to 16th.
The bottleneck began to ease on lap six when Rob Huff, who had started from tenth, got past Vervisch for second on lap six and set about cutting the lead to Nash.
In the space of just eight laps Huff slashed the gap, and on lap 16 he made his move on his fellow Brit at Turn 7, taking the lead and going on to open up a comfortable two-second margin to secure his first win of the season.
Morbidelli also got past Nash on the following lap to secure second, although the Brit was able to hold on to the final podium position thanks to a near-20-second margin over the rest of the battling pack.
Alain Menu was the leading Hyundai in fourth, with the additional 40 kg of ballast and 5% power reduction ahead of the race appearing to only slightly hold back the charge of the South Korean cars.
Craft-Bamboo Racing’s Pepe Oriola took fifth, having lost out to Menu on the final lap, ahead of the second Hyundai of Gabriele Tarquini in sixth. The Italian had at one stage been up to fourth, but lost out towards the end of the race.
ZZZ Racing’s Zhendong Zhang managed to stay out of trouble to claim a solid points finish in seventh, ending up as the leading Audi driver, ahead of M1RA’s leading Honda of Roberto Colciago in eighth.
The second M1RA car of Attila Tassi took ninth, despite a drive-through penalty for a jump start, and with Vernay having to pit for a new tyre on lap 13, it allowed him to claw back a vital six points in the title race to slightly close the gap to 21 points.
WestCoast Racing’s Rafaël Galiana completed the top ten in a race which featured a high rate of attrition.
Vervisch ultimately retired from the race after 13 laps, meaning both Comtoyou Audis didn’t take the chequered flag, with Comini also stopping after four laps.
Dušan Borković, Daniel Lloyd and Denis Dupont all failed to start the race, with Lloyd and Dupont suffering from accident damage picked up in race one.
|1||3||Rob HUFF||Leopard Racing Team WRT||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||19||19 LAPS||1:34.169||10|
|2||10||Gianni MORBIDELLI||West Coast Racing||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||19||2.403||1:34.111||7|
|3||54||James NASH||Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing||SEAT León TCR||19||5.511||1:35.418||3|
|4||33||Alain MENU||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||19||23.435||1:35.115||12|
|5||74||Pepe ORIOLA||Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing||SEAT León TCR||19||24.206||1:35.223||8|
|6||30||Gabriele TARQUINI||BRC Racing Team||Hyundai i30 N TCR||19||24.668||1:34.956||13|
|7||81||Zhendong ZHANG||ZZZ Team||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||19||25.442||1:35.565||16|
|8||5||Roberto COLCIAGO||M1RA||Honda Civic Type-R TCR||19||26.902||1:35.455||5|
|9||9||Attila TASSI||M1RA||Honda Civic Type-R TCR||19||36.852||1:35.342||4|
|10||99||Rafaël GALIANA||West Coast Racing||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||19||50.687||1:36.269||18|
|11||18||Duncan ENDE||Icarus Motorsports||SEAT León TCR||19||1:09.015||1:36.230||17|
|12||2||Jean-Karl VERNAY||Leopard Racing Team WRT||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||18||+ 1LAP||1:34.552||9|
|R||28||Aurélien PANIS||Boutsen Ginion Racing||Honda Civic Type-R TCR||15||DNF||1:35.730||11|
|R||6||Frédéric VERVISCH||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||13||DNF||1:35.689||1|
|R||71||Tengyi JIANG||ZZZ Team||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||10||DNF||1:37.044||19|
|R||1||Stefano COMINI||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||4||DNF||1:38.691||15|
|R||16||Davit KAJAIA||GE-Force||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||4||DNF||1:36.603||2|
|R||70||Mat’o HOMOLA||DG Sport Compétition||Opel Astra TCR||3||DNF||1:38.604||20|
|NS||62||Dušan BORKOVIĆ||GE-Force||Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR||–||DNS||N/A||14|
|NS||17||Daniel LLOYD||Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing||SEAT León TCR||–||DNS||N/A||6|
|NS||4||Denis DUPONT||Comtoyou Racing||SEAT León TCR||–||DNS||N/A||21|