Tom Coronel headed a Comtoyou Racing 1-2 in the opening TCR Europe race at Circuit Paul Ricard, leading home team-mate Franco Girolami for a lights-to-flag win.
Having claimed his first pole position of the season earlier in the day, Dutchman Coronel secured one of the most dominant victories of his career as he eased to the win.
Felice Jelmini initially chased as Coronel’s closest competitor, but on the second lap championship leader Girolami moved his Audi into second.
Despite that, the Argentine lacked the pace to close in on Coronel, who had opened up a two-second lead by this stage. Girolami reduced the deficit to 1.3 seconds at his closest, but was never near enough to challenge for the win.
Target Competition’s Jelmini completed the podium as the best Hyundai driver, the Italian unable to come back at the leading two.
Likewise, John Filippi had a quiet race to fourth, the Sébastien Loeb Racing driver finishing the race where he started and ending up as the best-ranked CUPRA driver.
Klim Gavrilov brought his Volcano Motorsport CUPRA home in fifth, also having a quiet race.
Halder Motorsport’s Jack Young would have claimed sixth, but the Honda driver slowed exiting the final corner on lap nine and pulled off to the side of the circuit with a mechanical issue on his car.
That promoted Comtoyou Racing’s Viktor Davidovski into the sixth, the Macedonian driver having pulled off a strong pass on Brutal Fish Racing’s Pepe Oriola for the position at Turn 11 on lap seven.
Oriola couldn’t come back at the Audi driver and took seventh as the best Honda driver, ahead of Target’s Josh Files in eighth.
Files had started third but the Brit made a poor start and dropped to eighth on the opening lap. He was then hit by fellow Hyundai driver Jáchym Galáš on the second lap, dropping to 11th.
Files recovered to tenth past Nicola Baldan on the next lap, and then passed Mat’o Homola for ninth at the chicane on lap six, before gaining one more place with Young’s demise.
The top ten was completed by the third Target Hyundai of Baldan and Halder Motorsport’s Mike Halder, the German having struggled for pace all weekend but gaining five places during the race.
Isidro Callejas just missed out on the top ten and was 11th, predominantly after the volcano Motorsport driver made a poor start and dropped to 18th on the opening tour from seventh on the grid.
Girolami maintains his lead at the top of the drivers’ standings with 106 points, followed by Coronel (96), Files (77), Gavrilov (74) and Filippi (69).
Race two is scheduled to get underway at 12:15 CEST (11:15 BST) on Sunday.
|1||33||Tom CORONEL||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021||10||22:31.824||2:13.586||1|
|2||72||Franco GIROLAMI||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021||10||0.798||2:13.939||5|
|3||44||Felice JELMINI||Target Competition||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||10||1.483||2:14.106||2|
|4||27||John FILIPPI||Sébastien Loeb Racing||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||10||1.851||2:14.311||4|
|5||14||Klim GAVRILOV||Volcano Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||10||4.684||2:14.194||8|
|6||110||Viktor DAVIDOVSKI||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021||10||11.457||2:14.434||10|
|7||74||Pepe ORIOLA||Brutal Fish Racing Team||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||10||12.404||2:14.970||9|
|8||99||Josh FILES||Target Motorsport||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||10||12.702||2:14.400||3|
|9||8||Nicola BALDAN||Target Competition||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||10||16.418||2:15.205||13|
|10||7||Mike HALDER||Halder Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||10||18.793||2:15.491||15|
|11||26||Isidro CALLEJAS||Volcano Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||10||22.594||2:15.657||7|
|12||24||Jáchym GALÁŠ||Janík Motorsport||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||10||22.998||2:15.516||14|
|13||81||Stéphane VENTAJA||Team Clairet Sport||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||10||25.617||2:15.964||17|
|14||17||Martin RYBA||Brutal Fish Racing Team||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||10||27.691||2:16.129||19|
|15||3||Giacomo GHERMANDI||Lema Racing||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||10||31.055||2:16.002||16|
|16||53||Michelle HALDER||Halder Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||10||32.741||2:16.306||18|
|17||16||Evgenii LEONOV||Volcano Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||10||34.303||2:15.358||11|
|18||70||Mat’o HOMOLA||Janík Motorsport||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||9||1 Lap||2:14.847||12|
|19||62||Jack YOUNG||Halder Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||9||1 Lap||2:14.859||6|
|20||66||Gilles COLOMBANI||Team Clairet Sport||CUPRA TCR||9||1 Lap||2:16.475||20|