Stefano Comini misses out on runner-up spot despite win in final TCR race

by Alessio Campigotto

M1RA Racing‘s Attila Tassi nearly rued a painful jump-start penalty which could have cost him second in the championship, as Stefano Comini (Comtoyou Racing)’s victory meant the Hungarian would have also lost out on second had the pair of invisible BRC Racing Hyundai’s of Gabriele Tarquini and Alain Menu been eligible for points. Twelfth on the road for Tassi would thus put him 10th in the official classifications with his solitary point enough to edge him past the Swissman as runner-up in the championship.

Comini would drive a relaxed race as he claimed an unchallenged victory from Gianni Morbidelli‘s West Coast Racing Volkswagen, whilst a chaotic race broke out behind them. An incident in the first corner between James Nash (Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing) and Josh Files (M1RA) saw Nash and team-mate Pepe Oriola, as well as the second WCR Golf of Benjamin Leuchter, forced them to take evasive action across the first chicane. Oriola would then be involved in another incident corners later when a bold attempt to pass Tarquini left his SEAT unable to continue after heavy contact. Nonetheless he claims fourth in the championship as Roberto Colciago was unable to make the start after damage from race 1.

Vernay: ” “I don’t know yet how I feel… but obviously, it is great to be champion… Personally, this title means a lot to me” Credit: TCR Series

With Tassi pulling into the pits for his penalty, Comini and Morbidelli were allowed to break away from Comtoyou’s Denis Dupont who would begin to fall down the order after a slide allowed Files through first before he would succumb to pressure from team-mate Frederic Vervisch and Leopard Racing Team WRT‘s Gordon Shedden. Contact as the Belgian fought to remain in the Top 5 left him with a punctured left-front tyre which would see him out of proceedings.

Meanwhile Tassi, thirteenth after his penalty, had closed in on the battle for tenth which, given the status of the Hyundai’s, would have seen him third in the final standings. However, Jean-Karl Vernay in sixth would dramatically begin to slow as he entered the penultimate lap of the race, coming to a halt halfway around the circuit. Whilst it would not affect the 2017 champion, the result would promote Tassi to twelfth thus giving him a precious point to just seal his runner-up status by a single point from twice-champion Comini.

Files would eventually complete the podium after his battle with Dupont, leading home Vervisch, Menu and Leuchter, with Shedden, Dusan Borkovic, Tarquini and Davit Kajaia completing the top 10.

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