Mikel Azcona took a dominating victory on his return to the TCR Europe series at Spa-Francorchamps on Friday evening.
Azcona, who competes this weekend having missed out on the previous round at Zanvdoort due to his ETCR commitments, grabbed the lead on the opening lap of the race and didn’t look back on his way to the win.
The Spaniard had started the race in fourth but made a fine start that saw him lie second after exiting the La Source hairpin, before he then was able to move ahead of Mehdi Bennani on the run up to Eau Rouge.
Behind, Bennani held off Sébastien Loeb Racing teammates Felice Jelmini and Sami Taoufik in the opening race of the weekend.
Bennani simply couldn’t match the pace of race winner Azcona and had to settle for second place, despite the best efforts of pole sitter Jelmini behind to get ahead in the late stages of the race.
Fifth in race one went to former championship leader Franco Girolami.
The Argentinean driver managed to hold on to his race one position despite his PSS Racing Team Honda beginning to smoke badly late on with suspension damage.
Despite the damage getting worse towards the end of the final lap however, he managed to cross the finish line ahead of the ComtoYou Racing Audi of Nicolas Baert.
Teddy Clairet finished seventh in the leading Team Clairet Sport Peugeot, with Niels Langeveld, who had started race one in twelfth, Isidro Callejas and Tom Coronel completing the top 10.
The opening lap of the race saw the safety car deployed after several of the field had to avoid a spinning Martin Ryba as he lost his Brutal Fish Racing Honda coming out of Bruxelles after running closely with Niels Langeveld.
Both Sylvain Pussier and Jáchym Galáš were also involved and were collected as a result of them avoiding the Honda driver, with both forced to retire as a result.
Klim Gavrilov was also involved in the incident however was able to continue, and the race two pole sitter recovered to finish Friday’s race in 11th.
Jack Young, who had earlier crashed out in qualifying, couldn’t make up for his poor session and had a race to forget.
The Irish driver was another man to get involved in the incident with teammate Ryba although he was able to avoid any serious damage, but he would go on to suffer more problems later in the race.
After colliding with Evgenii Leonov at the entrance to the Campus chicane, it was then revealed he had dived up the inside of two cars under safety car conditions and was then given a penalty as a result.
Having then served his penalty, lap eight saw him retire from the race on the exit of Bruxelles after a mechanical issue.
Race two in Belgium takes place at 10:10 BST (11:10 CEST) on Saturday morning.
|1||96||Mikel AZCONA||Volcano Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||10||28:00.936||2:31.171||4|
|2||250||Mehdi BENNANI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||10||2.605||2:31.728||2|
|3||44||Felice JELMINI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||10||4.977||2:31.788||1|
|4||25||Sami TAOUFIK||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||10||5.918||2:31.831||5|
|5||72||Franco GIROLAMI||PSS Racing Team||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||10||14.243||2:32.815||7|
|6||8||Nicolas BAERT||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||10||14.480||2:32.681||6|
|7||20||Teddy CLAIRET||Team Clairet Sport||Peugeot 308 TCR||10||15.747||2:32.577||8|
|8||10||Niels LANGEVELD||Sébastien Loeb Racing||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||10||15.792||2:31.910||12|
|9||26||Isidro CALLEJAS||Brutal Fish Racing Team||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||10||19.963||2:33.398||9|
|10||32||Tom CORONEL||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||10||20.618||2:33.638||11|
|11||14||Klim GAVRILOV||VRC-Team||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||10||21.139||2:33.187||10|
|12||162||Dušan BORKOVIĆ||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||10||25.215||2:33.516||16|
|13||21||Jimmy CLAIRET||Team Clairet Sport||Peugeot 308 TCR||10||26.583||2:32.904||15|
|14||70||Mat’o HOMOLA||Janík Motorsport||Hyundai i30 N TCR||10||31.812||2:33.237||3|
|15||16||Evgenii LEONOV||Volcano Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||10||32.137||2:32.926||13|
|16||17||Martin RYBA||Brutal Fish Racing Team||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||10||42.895||2:33.734||14|
|17||66||Gilles COLOMBANI||Team Clairet Sport||CUPRA TCR||10||49.583||2:36.713||18|
|18||62||Jack YOUNG||Brutal Fish Racing Team||Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR||7||+ 3 LAPS||2:32.715||20|
|R||77||Sylvain PUSSIER||Team Clairet Sport||CUPRA TCR||0||DNF||N/A||17|
|R||24||Jáchym GALÁŠ||Janík Motorsport||Hyundai i30 N TCR||0||DNF||N/A||19|