tcr / Vernay-Huff: 1-2 finish for Leopard Racing at Spa-Francorchamps
The Frenchman wins its first race in 2017 to extend his lead in the championship. Rob Huff steps on the podium on his second race in the TCR International Series to complete Leopard Racing WRT’s 1-2 finish and boost the team atop the team standings.
Memorable weekend for the Leopard Racing Team WRT at Spa-Francorchamps, the spectacular Belgian track which hosted the third round of the TCR International Series 2017. After missing the podium in Race-1 for a matter of tenths, today’s Race-2 saw Vernay and Huff clinching a superb 1-2 with the VW Golf GTI cars of team led by Vincent Vosse.
The fight begun right after the start with a contact between the Honda Civics of Coronel and Oriola: the two Leopard Racing Team WRT drivers were quick to take advantage of the situation claiming the second and fourth positions with Huff and Vernay respectively and keeping Comtoyou Racing’s Audi A3 cars behind. On lap-2, Rob Huff took the lead following a fantastic overtake on local favourite Lessenes.
Meanwhile, his fellow countryman Mondron – pole-sitter in Race-2 because of the inverted grid rule – had Vernay’s car getting closer and closer. On lap-4, Lessennes tried to return the favor to Huff but the Englishman was able to resist and stay ahead of the pack. Behind them, Mondron and Vernay managed to exploit the situation and reduce the gap.
On lap-5 came Jean-Karl Vernay’s masterpiece, with the Frenchman overtaking both his Honda rival and team-mate Huff with one single maneuver in the braking zone. The championship leader was then able to get away and grab the win while reigning champion Comini passed Mondron’s Golf GTI on the penultime lap to claim 3rd.
Just like one year ago, Jean-Karl Vernay has won here his first race of the year but his lead in the standings is much stronger: he has now reached 91 points and further increased the gap over Comini, who is second with 66. On his second race in the TCR International Series 2017, the Englishman secured his first podium finish to wrap up a magnificent 1-2 for Leopard Racing WRT, which is now also at the top of the team standings.
Jean Karl VERNAY – 1st:
“My start wasn’t that great, but the incident at first corner compensated… In the first laps, I had a terrible understeer, I even thought that I had punctured a tyre, but tried to stay calm and things improved progressively. When I attacked Mondron for 2nd, I certainly did not plan to pass Rob as well, but I took the lead and from then on, everything went smoothly. It’s a very good result for the team, who is doing a perfect job, and for the championship where we lead despite not having the fastest car. It’s my second win at Spa, but contrarily to many drivers, I am not a fan of this track…”
Robert HUFF – 2nd:
“At the start, I realized looking at the mirrors that Coronel was braking too late and I tried to leave room and avoid trouble. I could pass Mondron to take the lead but then I got under attack from Lessennes. He hit me on a wheel at Les Combes and he went off track, but after that my steering was a little bit bent. When I saw Jean-Karl coming back on Mondron and me, I braked a little bit earlier to let him more room and take the lead, and the rest is history. It’s a very good weekend for the team and I am really happy to be able to contribute its success.”
Spa Francorchamps Circuit – Race 2:
1 – J.K. Vernay / FRA / Leopard Racing Team WRT / VW Golf GTI / 9 laps
2 – R. Huff / GBR / Leopard Racing Team WRT / VW Golf GTI / +0.720
3 – S. Comini / SWI / Comtoyou Racing / Audi RS3 LMS / +2.325
4 – E. Mondron / BEL / Delahaye Racing / VW Golf GTI / +3.888
5 – B. Lessennes / BEL / Boutsen Ginion Racing / Honda Civic Type-R / +4.907
6 – F. Vervisc / BEL / Comtoyou Racing / Audi RS3 LMS / +5.909
7 – D. Kajaia / GEO / GE-Force / Alfa Romeo Giulia / +11.790
8 – J. Nash / GBR / Lukoil Craft-Bamboo / Honda Civic Type-R / +12.398
9 – A. Tassi / HUN / M1RA / Honda Civic Type-R / +13.116
10- G. Altoe / ITA / West Coast Racing / VW Golf GTI / +13.817
2017 Drivers’ Classification
1 – J.K. Vernay 91 points
2 – S. Comini 66 p.
3 – A. Tassi 53 p.
4 – D. Borković 51 p.
5 – R. Colciago 50 p.
6 – P. Oriola 47 p.
7 – D. Kajaia 45 p.
8 – H. Valente 38 p.
9 – J. Nash 38 p.
10 – Lessennes 31 p.
11 – F. Ficza 30 p.
12 – R. Huff 26 p.
2017 Teams’ Classification
1 – Leopard Racing WRT 118 points
2 – Lukoil Craft-Bamboo 109 p.
3 – M1RA 105 p.
4 – GE-Force 96 p.
5 – Comtoyou Racing 92 p.