Stefano Comini clinches a second successive TCR Drivers’ title

Stefano Comini clinches a second successive TCR Drivers’ title

20.11.2016: TCR International Series Rounds 21 & 22 – Macau – 17 / 20 November 2016

TCR International Series
Rounds 21 & 22 – Macau – 17 / 20 November 2016






Stefano Comini confirmed himself as the ‘king’ of the TCR International Series by winning a second consecutive Drivers’ title in what was, arguably, the most chaotic race meeting in the short history of the category.



Despite the fact that both races were dramatically shortened by red flags and suspensions, the Swiss driver was able to exploit the remaining track time to show his driving skill and strategic view. A perfect start meant Comini put himself in the best position to win Race 1 and reduce his gap from James Nash (who retired after a collision with another car) to a mere half point.



In the second race, Comini did not take any risks and let Tiago Monteiro, Jean-Karl Vernay and Pepe Oriola through to claim the podium positions, settling on a fourth place that granted him the title.


There was recognition too for the great efforts put in by Leopard Racing and Volkswagen Motorsport on their first season in TCR. The icing on the cake for them was Vernay’s third position in the Drivers’ standings.



Craft-Bamboo Lukoil teammates James Nash and Pepe Oriola had to bow to the Comini-Vernay duo and placed themselves second and fourth in the championship. Both would have deserved to be champion, but were victims of the Guia street circuit ‘law’ that always favours those who are good (or lucky) enough to keep out of trouble.



TCR promoter Marcello Lotti commented: “It was a shame that such an exciting season has come to an end with two races that were plagued by incidents and suspensions.



We knew that this is always a risk you take when you decide to race in Macau but I’m afraid that this year, troubles have been increased by the decision to allow cars complying with different regulations to race together.”


This is also the reason why Macau has not been included in the provisional calendar of the 2017 TCR International Series.
 
 



Comini wins a chaotic Race 1, as Nash crashes

 

The first race turned into a complete chaos. A number of incidents prompted the red flag once and forced the safety car to intervene twice.


Eventually only five laps were completed, equating to 50% of the scheduled race distance. As a consequence only 50% of the points were awarded.



With Stefano Comini emerging as the winner and James Nash eliminated after he hit the wall, the gap between the two was reduced to only half-a-point before the final race, with the Briton still in the lead.


The only other driver still in contention – at least theoretically – was Jean-Karl Vernay, 25 points behind the leader.
 



Key facts


Start – Comini takes the best start from Monteiro and Vernay


Lap 1 – three local drivers crash into each other at T1; Morbidelli crashes at Mandarin; Vernay overtakes Monteiro at the Lisboa bend and moves up to second; Nash climbs to fourth ahead of Borković


Lap 2 – The safety car is deployed; Afanasyev pits with engine problems


Lap 4 – The race resumes after one lap behind the safety car, with only seven minutes left on the clock


Lap 4 – Homola hits the barrier at the Lisboa bend and blocks the track; Buri, Files, Tassi and a number of other cars are stuck behind him


Lap 4 – Nash hits the wall and breaks the rear left suspension


Lap 5 – The safety car is deployed once again; Comini leads from Vernay, Monteiro, Borković and Oriola


Lap 6 – The race finishes but the chequered flag is not being waved… the drivers resume racing, but they are slowed down by the full course yellow in the second half of the lap
 



 
Race 2 - Monteiro wins and Comini is champion

 

Another chaotic race sacred Tiago Monteiro as the winner and Stefano Comini as the 2016 TCR International Series champion. This was the second consecutive title for the Swiss driver and the first one for Leopard Racing and the Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR car.


Once again a pile up caused by the drivers from the Chinese championship forced the clerk of the course to suspend the race that resumed with only two laps to go.


Once again half points were awarded.


Guest star Monteiro who had pipped Comini and Jean-Karl Vernay at the start, emerged as the winner ahead of Vernay, Pepe Oriola and Comini who clinched the Drivers’ title with only 3.5 points from Nash.
 




Key facts


Grid – Nash is on the grid, after the Craft-Bamboo crew performed a miracle and repaired his car; Tassi and Buri start from the pit lane


Start – Monteiro sprints from the second row of the grid and takes the lead from Comini and Vernay


Lap 1 – Borković and Oriola follow in fourth and fifth positions


Lap 2 – Grachev, Files and Belicchi advance to sixth, seventh and eight respectively; Nash is up to ninth


Lap 3 – Oriola overtakes Borković for fourth; Nash overtakes Sritrai for ninth and Belicchi for eighth


Lap 4 – Another pile up is caused by the drivers from the local championship at the Police bend; the track is blocked and the race is suspended


Lap 6 – The race resumes after one lap behind the safety car with only two laps to go; Vernay overtakes Comini for second at the Lisboa; Files overtake Grachev for sixth


Lap 7 – Oriola overtakes Comini for third; Yan overtakes Sritrai for tenth; Monteiro wins from Vernay, Oriola and Comini
 
 


- Fabio Ravaioli, photos TCR

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/stefano-comini-second-drivers-title-tcr---158054.html

20.11.2016 / MaP

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