Briché takes third win of the year in Belgium

by Phil Kinch

Julien Briché took his third victory of the 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series after surviving the carnage that took place in the second race of the weekend at Spa-Francorchamps.

Dušan Borković was on pole position for the reverse grid race and lead off the line cleanly, however, fellow front row man Davit Kajaia was slow away from the line. The Georgian driver later confirming that his pit lane speed limiter was stuck on.

As the field streamed through Eau Rouge and Radillion, Borković was already defending from Jimmy Clairet, whilst fellow Target Competiton driver Mat’o Homola was already fending off the attacks of Aurélien Comte, Briché and Ash Sutton in the WRT-run Volkswagen.

Sutton took fifth place in race two. Credit: WSC Ltd/ TCR Europe

Comte was hung out to dry as Briché, Sutton and Maxime Potty all passed the DG Sport Compétition Peugeot by the time the field got to the Les Fagnes chicane. Clairet pushed Borković hard for the lead as Briché began to pressure Homola for third, with the Frenchman passing the Slovakian driver on lap three.

Andreas Bäckman passed both Gilles Magnus and Santiago Urrutia for sixth place on lap three just before the Safety Car was brought out to clear debris between La Source and Eau Rouge, after an accident that saw Natan Bihel retire.

Bäckman made up several places in the latter part of the race. Credit: WSC Ltd / TCR Europe

With just over five minutes left on the clock, the racing got underway again with Clairet going wide at La Source trying to pass Borković for the lead, letting Briché through to second place. As Briché drove past the Target Competition driver, Clairet tapped the back of Borković, sending the Hyundai off track and into retirement.

Bäckman managed to repeat his two-car pass as he passed both Comte and Sutton for fourth position whilst on the penultimate lap, again at Les Combes, there was contact between Tom Coronel and Stian Paulsen with the Norwegian’s CUPRA being pushed off at Malmedy.

Clairet lost his first podium after contact with Dušan Borković. Credit: WSC Ltd / TCR Europe

Briché held on to take the win ahead of Clairet on the road, however, the Peugeot driver was later stripped of his position. Homola is classified second ahead of Bäckman in third. Sutton is fourth ahead of Comte and Teddy Clairet. Luca Engstler, Luca Filippi and Kangas and Gianni Morbidelli complete the top ten.

Daniel Lloyd was eleventh in the Brutal Fish Racing Honda with Tamás Tenke taking twelfth position. Martin Ryba, Josh Files and Klim Gavrilov completing the top fifteen places, with seven different incidents under investigation by the stewards after the race.

TCR UK regular Lewis Kent had a better second race, coming home in twenty-first place. Briché is the third driver to assume the championship lead as The 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series takes a five-week break before moving to the Red Bull Ring in Austria on July 13-14.

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