Jean-Karl Vernay controls opening TCR Europe race to take victory at Spa

Jean-Karl Vernay controls opening TCR Europe race to take victory at Spa

Photo: TCR Media

Leopard Lukoil Team’s Jean-Karl Vernay converted pole position into victory in race one of the TCR Europe weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.

The 2017 TCR International Series champion made a strong start and fended off early pressure from Belgian Maxime Potty to win by 0.7

Completing the podium was championship leader Mikel Azcona, who had a quiet race in third position, over ten seconds clear of Dušan Borković in fourth place.

Borković couldn’t keep up with the Volkswagen Group podium finishers, and was forced to defend late in the race from Julien Brichè’s Peugeot, which recovered to fifth after making a terrible start and dropping to tenth at the end of the first lap.

Next was Norwegian Stian Paulsen, who also struggled at the start as he bogged down on the grid and lost further places going across the run-off at Les Combes.

In seventh position was Kris Richard in the second of the Target Competition Hyundai’s, ahead of Danny Kroes’ CUPRA.

Dániel Nagy recovered to ninth from 14th on the grid, holding off Francisco Abreu, who made it two Peugeots in the top ten.

Early in the race, two-time TCR International Series champion Stefano Comini leapfrogged fellow Honda runner Josh Files, and a fierce battle ensued which eventually ended with both cars retiring from the race.

Files outbraked himself and cut the Bus Stop chicane, and upon giving the position back to Comini, Paulsen dived down the inside and both Files and Comini made hard contact into La Source as the latter was seemingly unaware of Paulsen on the inside of Files.

Late in the race Attila Tassi and Jens Reno Møller made contact at Eau Rouge, with Møller spinning at the top of Raidillon and eventually retiring from the race.

Reece Barr will start tomorrow’s race from reverse-grid pole, with Kris Richard for company on the front row.

Race two is set to get underway at 11:20 CEST (10:20 BST) tomorrow [10th June].

Race result

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 69 Jean-Karl VERNAY Leopard Lukoil Team Audi RS3 LMS TCR 11 28:03.224 2:31.425 1
2 88 Maxime POTTY Comtoyou Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 11 0.705 2:31.479 2
3 25 Mikel AZCONA PCR Sport CUPRA TCR 11 5.055 2:31.764 4
4 62 Dušan BORKOVIĆ Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 11 15.509 2:32.951 6
5 4 Julien BRICHÉ JSB Compétition Peugeot 308 TCR 11 15.552 2:32.615 3
6 34 Stian PAULSEN Stian Paulsen Racing CUPRA TCR 11 23.103 2:33.052 5
7 94 Kris RICHARD Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 11 25.314 2:33.490 9
8 38 Danny KROES PCR Sport CUPRA TCR 11 29.867 2:34.101 11
9 999 Dániel NAGY M1RA Hyundai i30 N TCR 11 30.546 2:34.749 14
10 23 Francisco ABREU Sports & You Peugeot 308 TCR 11 32.210 2:34.473 16
11 9 Attila TASSI Hell Energy Racing with KCMG Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR 11 45.409 2:34.690 15
12 13 Cedric PIRO Autodis Racing by Piro Sports Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR 11 45.907 2:34.581 17
13 63 Giovanni ALTOÈ Pit Lane Competizioni Audi RS3 LMS TCR DSG 11 47.468 2:34.851 19
14 35 Munkong SATHIENTHIRAKUL Monlau Competición CUPRA TCR 11 47.704 2:35.535 21
15 14 Loris CENCETTI Autodis Racing by Piro Sports Hyundai i30 N TCR 11 53.154 2:34.289 18
16 17 Martin RYBA Brutal Fish Racing Team Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 11 1:01.648 2:36.743 22
17 21 Marie BAUS-COPPENS JSB Compétition CUPRA TCR DSG 11 1:02.013 2:35.524 20
R 11 Jens Reno MØLLER Reno Racing Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR 9 DNF 2:34.334 12
R 8 Reece BARR Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 7 DNF 2:33.954 10
R 42 Stefano COMINI Autodis Racing by THX Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR 5 DNF 2:34.584 8
R 99 Josh FILES Hell Energy Racing with KCMG Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR 4 DNF 2:34.457 7
NS 10 Viktor DAVIDOVSKY PSS Racing Team Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR DNS N/A
NS 26 Francisco MORA M1RA Hyundai i30 N TCR DNS N/A