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Kobe Pauwels charges to race two win at Circuit Paul Ricard

Kobe Pauwels continued to keep his TCR Europe title charge alive after race two at Circuit Paul Ricard, where the Comtoyou Racing driver came from eighth on the grid to claim victory.

At the start, reverse-grid pole-sitter Levente Losonczy held the lead through the first corners, as fellow front-row starter Viktor Andersson lost half a dozen places through the first corners, and Ruben Volt dropped almost to the back of the field from fourth on the grid.

Pauwels, meanwhile, leapt up the order, challenging Viktor Davidovski for second into the first corner from the fourth row of the grid.

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Nicola Baldan fought Pauwels off for third for a few corners, as the Belgian instead found himself embroiled in a battle with SP Compétition’s Aurélien Comte.

At the Montréal chicane half way around the opening lap, Davidovski dived inside Losonczy for the lead, but the Aggressive Team Italia driver reclaimed the place at the final corner of the lap, with Pauwels also following past into second.

Losonczy’s reclaimed lead lasted only a few hundred metres, as Pauwels looked to the outside at Turn 1, and a slight touch saw him forced to cut the corner, but emerge in the lead.

The stewards decided the incident required no investigation, and Pauwels was thereafter able to pull clear to claim a fourth TCR Europe win of the season.

Losonczy lost momentum in the move for the lead, allowing both Davidovski and Baldan through, with the latter claiming second a couple of corners later.

For much of the first half of the race, Davidovski held the final podium position, but the North Macedonian racer came under pressure from rival after rival later on.

First, Tom Coronel passed his team-mate for third on lap five, followed by the recording ALM Motorsport Honda of Volt claiming fourth a lap later.

Coronel would then hold third until the chequered flag, meaning the Dutchman preserves his position at the top of the drivers’ championship standings.

Volt took fourth, with Comte claiming fifth after passing Davidovski four laps from the finish.

Race one winner John Filippi brought his Comtoyou Audi home in sixth after following Comte through when the CUPRA racer passed the Audi, with Davidovski taking seventh.

Volcano Motorsport’s Lewis Brown was eighth, with SP Compétition’s Sacha Bottemanne and the second Volcano Audi of Daniel Tkachenko completing the top ten.

Losonczy ultimately finished 12th and last after making a pitstop on lap seven.

Race results

1 22 Kobe PAUWELS Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 10 22:34.906 2:14.312 8
2 8 Nicola BALDAN Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 10 4.012 2:14.508 7
3 34 Tom CORONEL Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 10 7.455 2:14.521 9
4 127 Ruben VOLT ALM Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FL5 TCR 10 11.176 2:15.078 4
5 76 Aurélien COMTE SP Competition CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 10 14.304 2:15.294 6
6 27 John FILIPPI Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 10 14.519 2:15.388 10
7 11 Viktor DAVIDOVSKI Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 10 16.708 2:15.738 3
8 39 Lewis BROWN Volcano Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 10 17.413 2:15.997 5
9 78 Sacha BOTTEMANNE SP Competition CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 10 23.625 2:15.444 14
10 7 Daniel TKACHENKO Volcano Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS TCR II 10 32.049 2:16.781 13
11 10 Viktor ANDERSSON MA:GP Lynk & Co 03 TCR 10 32.107 2:16.809 2
12 264 Levente LOSONCZY Aggressive Team Italia Hyundai Elantra N TCR 10 2:06.134 2:16.215 1
WD 18 Marco BUTTI Target Competition Hyundai Elantra N TCR DNS N/A 12
WD 62 Dušan BORKOVIĆ Target Competition Hyundai Elantra N TCR DNS N/A 11
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