tcr / Vernay fourth in Race-1, Van Lagen forced to retire
It has been an intense Saturday at the Autodromo di Monza, the legendary Italian circuit hosting the fourth round of the 2017 TCR International Series. Following two 30-minute Free Practice sessions on Friday, track activity continued today with Quaifying, followed by Race1 in the early afternoon.
After the first three events of the season, Leopard Racing’s Jean-Karl Vernay has been able to build a cushion of points between himself and his rivals. The Frenchman scored points in all of the six races held so far, finishing on the podium three times, including his first win of the year in the second race at Spa.
At the Monza event, Success Ballast will only be carried by Stefano Comini and Jean Karl Vernay, the race winners of the previous event at Spa-Francorchamps. The running weight of Vernay’s Leopard Racing WRT Volkswagen Golf GTI will be 1315kg (1285kg + 20kg Success Ballast + 10kg Balance of Performance adjustment).
In a very close Qualifying this morning at Monza, Fred Vervisch of Belgium took his maiden pole position in the TCR International Series in his second Touring Car appearance. Leopard Racing Team WRT’s Jean-Karl Vernay was the fastest Volkswagen Golf GTI with a 7th place in Q2 while one-off teammate Jaap Van Lagen had to settle for 11th on the grid.
Race-1 was full of drama right from the start with reigning champion Comini losing several positions and the Leopard Racing WRT duo battling it out to reach the Top Five. Championship leader Vernay soon earned himself 4th place while Van Lagen was forced to retire in the middle of the race because of a broken radiator following a contact with Nash.
In the last laps, Colciago managed to overtake Tassi and claim his second win of the season while Oriola found himself fighting with the Hungarian for the second spot. Vernay got close to the pair in an attempt to take advantage of the situation but wasn’t able to make his move before the chequered flag was out. The French rider has now extended his lead in the championship to 24 points over today’s winner Roberto Colciago. Race-2 is scheduled to start on Sunday morning.
#2 – Jean Karl VERNAY:
“It was a good race, we really couldn’t hope for better. It is a good result for the championship and the car was really good, although we lacked some top speed. I was able to avoid any contact and I think we did a perfect race from beginning to the end. I want to thank the team because the car was really great, it couldn’t have been better. I am really happy and I look forward to the next race tomorrow.”
#14 – Jaap VAN LAGEN:
“It is my first time with this car in the TCR series and I have to say that it’s been good so far. In free practice we improved the car a lot but there was a bit of bad luck in qualifying. I had a few issues on the last lap, otherwise I could have been in P6 or even in P4 rather than P11. The car was very good during the race, then we got some bad luck again as James Nash closed the door right in front of me just before the first corner, I could not avoid him and we damaged the car. However, I am very happy with the team and the engineers, they did a great and professional job. I think we could do even better with more time to work together. It’s never easy when you have to deal with a new car, a new team, new engineers and so on, but I hope we can do it again in the future.”
Autodromo di Monza – Race 1:
1 – R. Colciago / ITA / M1RA / Honda Civic Type-R / 11 Laps
2 – A. Tassi / HUN / M1RA / Honda Civic Type-R / +1.613
3 – P. Oriola / SPA / Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing / Seat Leon / +2.258
4 – J.K. Vernay / FRA / Leopard Racing Team WRT / VW Golf GTI / +2.408
5 – F. Ficza / HUN / Zele-Racing / Seat Leon / +5.209
6 – F. Vervisc / BEL / Comtoyou Racing / Audi RS3 LMS / +5.881
7 – H. Valente / FRA / Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing / Seat Leon / +8.591
8 – M. Homola / SVK / DG Sport Competition / Opel Astra / +10.686
9 – S. Comini / SWI / Comtoyou Racing / Audi RS3 LMS / +13.338
10 – D. Borkovic / SRB / GE Force / Alfa Romeo Giulietta / +14.005
2017 Drivers’ Classification
1 – J.K. Vernay 103 points
2 – R. Colciago 79 p.
3 – A. Tassi 74 p.
4 – S. Comini 68 p.
5 – P. Oriola 62 p.
6 – D. Borković 52 p.
7 – D. Kajaia 47 p.
8 – H. Valente 44 p.
9 – F. Ficza 39 p.
10 – J. Nash 38 p.
2017 Teams’ Classification
1 – M1RA 155 points
2 – Leopard Racing WRT 130 p.
2 – Lukoil Craft-Bamboo 130 p.
4 – Comtoyou Racing 107 p.
5 – GE-Force 99 p.
TCR International Series 2017 – Schedule (Local Time, GMT +2):
Sunday, May 14th:
10:50-11:20 – Race 2