tcr / Vernay twice in the Top 5 in Buriram, many overtakes by Huff
The French driver of the Leopard Racing WRT team ended the two races in Thailand with a 4th and a 5th place, good performance also from teammate Rob Huff. Michelisz and rookie Panis are the winners of the day while Tassi leads the championship by only 2 points over Vernay.
Before Race-1 Panis and Kajaia were demoted at the back of the grid following engine changes. Homola took the lead from pole ahead of Michelisz and Nash, with Tassi soon attacking the Brit to take third. Leopard Racing WRT’s Jean-Karl Vernay and Nash swap positions twice before the latter was forced to retire due to the broken driveshaft, leaving the Frenchman and Oriola launched in the chase of Tassi. Meanwhile, the second Leopard Racing’s Golf GTi of Rob Huff was well in the fight for a top-5 finish with Morbidelli and Altoe. with just 2 laps to go, Homola had to retire because of a blown front left tyre while Oriola had to park trackside with a gearbox failure, handing Michelisz his maiden win in the TCR International Series. Borković and Tassi completed the podium, Jean-Karl Vernay took 4th right in front of Huff.
In Race-2, Aurélien Panis make the most of his pole position to take the lead ahead of Altoè, Comini and Tassi. In the first part of the race, Jean-Karl Vernay overtook Nash and Kusiri to rise up in 6th place just behind the Race-1 winner, but in the last but one lap, Michelisz’s mechanic failure allowed the Leopard Racing driver to move up to 5th. Behind him, teammate Rob Huff got up from 16th on the grid to 8th behind Borković, but couldn’t overtake him before the chequered flag. On only his second appearance in the TCR International Series, Panis scored his maiden victory from Altoè and Comini; Tassi finished fourth to claim the lead in the standings, only 2 points ahead of Jean-Karl Vernay. In the team standings, Leopard Racing WRT has overtaken Comtoyou Racing to step up in 3rd place.
“These are pretty good points for us, we are now second in the championship but the fight is still open as we are just 2 points behind the leader. We did a great job and the car was absolutely fantastic, but the Hondas are just too quick and there is simply no way to overtake them on the straight. Both races were pretty boring in a way as I could just wait for somebody at the front to make a mistake, but that never happened. I think we’ve done all we could, it’s just that the others were much quicker. Let’s see what will happen next, we still can win this championship.”
“It’s been a tough weekend, I think this circuit is all but perfect for our car. I had some set-up problems yesterday in qualifying because one of the machines we used was faulty and this meant our set-up ended up being not as good as it should have been. We corrected that last night and today the car was fantastic. Between the two races I passed 16 cars, though I actually completed 19 overtaking manouvres, and it has been really enjoyable. In Race-1 it was fantastic to be able to finish just behind J.K., supporting him in the end. And in Race-2 again, going from 16th on the grid to P8, I also stopped some of the other title contenders to score more points. I am looking forward to the next race in China, I think it’s a circuit that suits our car a lot, but I think we must be happy with the outcome of this weekend too – we scored solid points and J.K. is still well into the fight for the championship.”
Results – Race1:
1 – N. Michelisz / HUN / M1RA / Honda Civic Type-R / 14 Laps
2 – D. Borković / SRB / GE-Force / Alfas Romeo Giulietta / +3.769
3 – A. Tassi / HUN / M1RA / Honda Civic Type-R / +5.923
4 – J.K. Vernay / FRA / Leopard Racing Team WRT / VW Golf GTI / +6.211
5 – R. Huff / GBR / Leopard Racing Team WRT / VW Golf GTI / +6.428
6 – G. Altoe / ITA / West Coast Racing / VW Golf GTI / +7.358
7 – S. Comini / SWI / Comtoyou Racing / Audi RS3 LMS / +10.610
8 – D. Kajaia / GEO / GE-Force / Alfas Romeo Giulietta / +11.142
9 – D. Lloyd / GBR / Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing / Seat Leon / +14.196
10 – G. Morbidelli / ITA / West Coast Racing / VW Golf GTI / +15.050
Results – Race2:
1 – A. Panis / FRA / Boutsen Ginion Racing / Honda Civic Type-R / 14 Laps
2 – G. Altoe / ITA / West Coast Racing / VW Golf GTI / +1.274
3 – S. Comini / SWI / Comtoyou Racing / Audi RS3 LMS / +6.120
4 – A. Tassi / HUN / M1RA / Honda Civic Type-R / +7.994
5 – J.K. Vernay / FRA / Leopard Racing Team WRT / VW Golf GTI / +9.414
6 – D. Borković / SRB / GE-Force / Alfas Romeo Giulietta / +12.632
7 – J. Nash / GBR / Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing / Seat Leon / +13.369
8 – R. Huff / GBR / Leopard Racing Team WRT / VW Golf GTI / +13.861
9 – M. Homola / SVK / DG Sport Competition / Opel Astra / +18.084
10 – K. Kusiri / THA / West Coast Racing / VW Golf GTI / +18.830
1 – A. Tassi 179 p.
2 – J.K. Vernay 177 p.
3 – S. Comini 165 p.
4 – R. Colciago 145 p.
5 – P. Oriola 110 p.
6 – D. Borković 108 p.
7 – J. Nash 96 p.
8 – Morbidelli 78 p.
9 – M. Homola 76 p.
10 – D. Kajaia 65 p.
14 – R. Huff 58 p.
1 – M1RA 382 p.
2 – Lukoil Craft-Bamboo 289 p.
3 – Leopard Racing WRT 247 p.
4 – Comtoyou Racing 236 p.
5 – GE-Force 177 p.