Mikel Azcona scored his maiden victory in the Kumho TCR World Tour at the end of a thrilling Race 1 at La Pedrera, when he passed Rob Huff for the lead during the final lap after a safety car period. Norbert Michelisz finished second completing a 1-2 for BRC Hyundai Squadra Corse, while Huff salvaged the third position.
Yann Ehrlacher was running fourth but dropped to sixth during the last laps with tyre problems. However, thanks to the points scored in the morning for the pole position, he has retained the leadership in the standings, but Michelisz and Azcona have reduced their gaps to 16 and 23 points respectively.
In TCR South America, Fabián Yannantuoni too claimed his and Paladini Racing’s first victory; he finished an outstanding fifth overall ahead of two other Toyota Corolla cars of his teammate Juan Ángel Rosso and Bernardo Llaver. In the championship, Ignacio Montenegro remains the leader with a comfortable gap, but Llaver has moved into second ahead of Juan Manuel Casella.
On a track that was still damp after the morning rain, only few drivers risked the slicks: Ma Qing Hua and Fabián Yannantuoni among them. At the start, Michelisz was faster than the poleman Ehrlacher, but during the first lap Huff passed them both and took the lead. Michelisz ran wide after being hit by Huff, dropped to fourth behind Azcona and was under pressure from Néstor Girolami. In lap 2, Matías Milla crashed, and the safety car was deployed, while Santiago Urrutia retired with overheating issues, Raphael Reis and Enrique Maglione both limped back to the pits and retired.
Racing resumed in lap 5; Girolami overtook Michelisz for P4, but the Hungarian immediately retook the position. In TCR South America, Llaver was leading, but Yannantuoni passed him in lap 6. In lap 7, Azcona, Michelisz and Girolami passed Ehrlacher for second, third and fourth. Azcona then closed in on Huff, but in lap 10 the safety car hit the track again after Girolami had stopped on the track with an engine issue. Moments later, Frédéric Vervisch limped to the pit with technical problems caused by a contact with Ma who had advanced to P4, with Yannantuoni just behind.
The race resumed one last lap and the race restarted for one last lap during which Huff made a mistake, opening the door to Azcona and Michelisz who were quick to seize the opportunity and passed him. Cardoso who had pitted for slicks in lap 1, rejoining last, completed a good recovery to finish a tenth.
Race will start tomorrow at 12:10 local time (17:10 CEST), with live streaming on tcr-series.tv and YouTube.
La Pedrera – Race 1 overall
La Pedrera – Race 1 TCR South America
Championship points – TCR World Tour
Championship points – TCR South America
Picture: TCR South America/Maximiliano Sanabria