Teddy Clairet praises Felice Jelmini after battle on opening lap at Paul Ricard

Race one winner Teddy Clairet praised Sebastien Loeb Racing’s Felice Jelmini for giving him enough room during the opening stages of the race at Paul Ricard.

Clairet, driving the Team Clairet Sport Peugout 308 took a dominant victory at the French circuit, but did have to hold off the Italian driver in the first few corners of the race.

“My start was not really good but fortunately for me, [Mehdi] Bennani was also not very good and so Jelmini took a little bit longer to get to me,” said Clairet.

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“It was quite hot in that first corner but he was respectful – he gave me some space and I gave him some in return.

“I didn’t really think about the tyres, to be honest, as I just wanted to focus on my race. I felt good in the car and just wanted to do lap after lap after lap and enjoy it.”

After a close start to the race, Frenchman Clairet was able to pull away from the chasing Hyundai man and took his first victory in TCR Europe as a result.

Clairet also admitted that he was delighted to take his first win in the series as he went on to explain. “When you do a race like that, from the outside view its seems easy because everything is okay,” he added.

“But I pushed as hard as I could over ten laps because I didn’t want to make any mistakes to give an opportunity to Jelmini. So no, it’s never easy to win a race and so I’m very happy. “

Race two at Paul Ricard takes place on Sunday at 12.40 CEST (11:40 BST).

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