Stefano Comini claimed victory in the final race of the 2017 TCR International Series in Dubai with a comfortable drive to victory after Attila Tassi‘s momentary lead was ended by a drive-through for jumping the start. The two-time series champion has had a more difficult time this season compared to his title-winning campaigns in 2015 and 2016, having changed from the well-credited Volkswagen Golf to the unknown Audi RS3 LMS for 2017.
“It has been a very tough year for us, but it was great to be part of the Comtoyou project, which only took off two weeks before the start of the season,” said Comini in the post-race 2 press conference. He is nonetheless confident of improved results with the Audi in 2018, which he appears likely to return with. “We still have a lot of development work to do on the car, but the basis is good, we did some good work and we’ll come back stronger next year,” stated the Swissman.
Prior to Dubai, Comini had only featured on the podium 4-times, each for third, aside from 2 victories at Spa and Monza, the Swiss driver only able to stay competitive in the standings by consistently scoring in the lower half of the top 10. Comtoyou Racing, the team running Comini and team-mate Frederic Vervisch, were most evidently off pace in the penultimate round in Zhejiang where they would only score with a sixth from Vervisch in Race 1.
The win will therefore come as a welcome respite for Comini as he relinquishes his title to the new champion Jean-Karl Vernay. He will still conclude the year third in the championship as the most victorious driver of the year with a total of 3, and Comini reflects positively on his and his teams efforts this year.
“It’s nice to finish the season on a high and to hand over the crown to Jean-Karl Vernay with a win… Missing the runner-up position in the final standings by only one point is not a problem: second is always the worst place to be, but to be on top of the final podium is a good reward for everybody in the team and at Audi.”