Mikel Azcona claims TCR Europe title with race one win in Barcelona

Mikel Azcona wrapped up the TCR Europe drivers’ championship with a race to spare after an emphatic race one win in Barcelona, as his chief rival Franco Girolami failed to score.

Azcona claimed a lights-to-flag win in the safety-car interrupted race, with the Volcano Motorsport driver never really being challenged for the lead.

At the start Azcona opened up a comfortable margin, as behind the CUPRA driver Teddy Clairet got the jump on Sami Taoufik to claim second in his Peugeot.

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Further around the lap, Franco Girolami appeared to nudge Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Felice Jelmini into Tom Coronel at Turn 10, which broke Jelmini’s front-right suspension.

As Jelmini limped on to Turn 11 he was unable to control his Hyundai, in turn making contact with the innocent Felipe Fernández, who was biffed into the gravel.

With Jelmini’s car stopping on track and Fernández in the gravel, the safety car was called on. It ended up being a prolonged six-lap pause as the trackside marshals struggled to shift Jelmini’s car due to its broken suspension, and they ultimately elected to cover the stranded Hyundai with a yellow flag for the next two laps after racing resumed on lap eight.

At the restart, Azcona was able to break free of Clairet, who in turn settled into a solid second, the Frenchman able to claim his third podium finish of the season.

Taoufik was the final podium finisher, having dropped several seconds back from Clairet late in the race.

Comtoyou Racing’s Nicolas Baert claimed fourth, ahead of Brutal Fish Racing’s Isidro Callejas in fifth. Callejas, who gained two places at the start, turned out to be one of the main movers late in the race, passing team-mate Martin Ryba on lap ten and then SLR’s Niels Langeveld on the final lap.

Langeveld was sixth, elevating the Dutchman to third in the drivers’ standings, ahead of Ryba in seventh.

The top ten was completed by the third Brutal Fish Honda of Jack Young in eighth, Jimmy Clairet in ninth and SLR’s Mehdi Bennani in tenth, the latter having dropped back two places in the final laps.

Klim Gavrilov was 11th, the Volcano Motorsport driver having passed Russian compatriot and team-mate Evgenii Leonov when racing resumed on lap eight, holding the position thereafter.

Indeed, Leonov had gained a place to tenth at the start, but the CUPRA driver fell back in the second half of the race, ultimately taking the chequered flag in 16th.

Leonov’s slip down the order promoted Viktor Davidovski to 12th, ahead of Janík Motorsport’s Mat’o Homola in 13th.

Tom Coronel was 14th, having passed Jáchym Galáš on the final lap, with the Slovakian racer claiming the final point for 15th.

After starting last, Girolami’s title hopes, which took their main hit when his water pump failed in qualifying, finally evaporated as he made limited progress in the race to finish outside the points in 17th.

Neither Dušan Borković nor Gilles Colombani took the start, the former having suffered an engine issue before the start of the race whilst the latter endured a broken driveshaft whilst leaving the pits.

Race result

POS NO CL NAT DRIVER ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 96 Mikel AZCONA Volcano Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 14 29:47.563 1:55.904 1
2 20 Teddy CLAIRET Team Clairet Sport Peugeot 308 TCR 14 1.369 1:56.352 3
3 25 Sami TAOUFIK Sébastien Loeb Racing Hyundai Elantra N TCR 14 4.517 1:56.380 2
4 8 Nicolas BAERT Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 14 7.279 1:56.344 4
5 26 Isidro CALLEJAS Brutal Fish Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 7.864 1:56.552 9
6 10 Niels LANGEVELD Sébastien Loeb Racing Hyundai Elantra N TCR 14 8.650 1:56.545 6
7 17 Martin RYBA Brutal Fish Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 10.530 1:56.588 5
8 62 Jack YOUNG Brutal Fish Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 12.105 1:56.926 8
9 21 Jimmy CLAIRET Team Clairet Sport Peugeot 308 TCR 14 12.419 1:56.555 12
10 250 Mehdi BENNANI Sébastien Loeb Racing Hyundai Elantra N TCR 14 15.352 1:56.751 7
11 14 Klim GAVRILOV Volcano Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 14 17.313 1:57.664 10
12 110 Viktor DAVIDOVSKI PSS Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 17.886 1:57.737 18
13 70 Mat’o HOMOLA Janík Motorsport Hyundai i30 N TCR 14 18.226 1:57.741 17
14 32 Tom CORONEL Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 14 18.382 1:57.061 15
15 24 Jáchym GALÁŠ Janík Motorsport Hyundai i30 N TCR 14 18.811 1:57.410 14
16 16 Evgenii LEONOV Volcano Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 14 20.219 1:57.878 11
17 72 Franco GIROLAMI PSS Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 21.375 1:57.381 24
18 77 Sylvain PUSSIER Team Clairet Sport CUPRA TCR 14 23.273 1:58.167 19
19 3 Giacomo GHERMANDI Lema Racing CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 14 44.520 1:59.563 22
20 101 Sergio LÓPEZ RC2 Junior Team CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 12 + 2 LAPS 1:57.919 13
R 44 Felice JELMINI Sébastien Loeb Racing Hyundai Elantra N TCR 1 DNF N/A 16
R 19 Felipe FERNÁNDEZ Gil RC2 Junior Team CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 1 DNF N/A 20
NS 162 Dušan BORKOVIĆ Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR DNS N/A 21
NS 66 Gilles COLOMBANI Team Clairet Sport CUPRA TCR DNS N/A 23
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