Dubai: Vernay is crowned TCR Drivers’ champion, Oriola and Comini share race victories

Dubai: Vernay is crowned TCR Drivers’ champion, Oriola and Comini share race victories

The 2017 TCR International Series’ final event at the Dubai Autodrome was a thrilling decider for all three titles on offer.
Jean-Karl Vernay was crowned the new Drivers’ champion, while M1RA and the Volkswagen Golf GTI claimed the Teams’ and Model of the Year awards respectively.

Vernay settled the matter in the first race and in his way: a display of clean and faultless driving, in full control of his only real competitor Attila Tassi and patiently waiting for the opportunity to strike the winning blow. That opportunity came on the penultimate lap when the Frenchman overtook James Nash for third, crushing Tassi’s last remaining hopes. Vernay’s success also meant that the alliance between Leopard Racing and WRT successfully took one of their drivers to the title for the second consecutive year.

Pepe Oriola and Stefano Comini ended the season on a high note, winning one race apiece. Oriola proved that the SEAT León – the first ever TCR car – is still very competitive on its third racing season. Comini – who wanted to abdicate in style while handing the title to his former teammate – was tantalisingly close to securing the second place in the standings, but he eventually lost it to Tassi by a single point.

The young Hungarian had high hopes before Dubai, but he failed to keep the title fight alive until the last race. He was also denied victory in the second race from pole position as he was punished for a jump-start. However, finishing as the vice-champion in such a competitive series at the tender age of 18, means he already owns the skills to become one of the leading Touring Car drivers in the years to come.

In Race 2, the WestCoast Racing duo of Gianni Morbidelli and Benjamin Leuchter scored the points that helped the Volkswagen Golf to beat the Honda Civic in the Model of the Year Trophy by just five points. Consolation for the Japanese brand came from the Teams’ title that was won by M1RA, which was a great result for the Hungarian team founded by Norbert Michelisz in its maiden season.

Race 1 – Oriola wins, Vernay secures the title
Jean-Karl Vernay of Leopard Racing claimed the 2017 TCR International Series Drivers’ title by finishing third in a race that was dominated by Pepe Oriola.
The Spaniard’s winning move was a perfect start that propelled him from fourth on the grid to first at Turn 1, ahead of the pole sitter Gordon Shedden and his teammate Vernay.
For the rest of the race, Oriola was very focused and managed to never offer Shedden the hint of a gap to try an overtaking manoeuvre.
Behind them, Gabriele Tarquini elbowed his way through the field, from 21st on the grid up to third, only to retire on the penultimate lap with a puncture.
The title fight drew the most attention as Vernay was lying fourth, closely chased by Attila Tassi. The Frenchman kept his cool, driving without mistakes and eventually settled the matter by moving up to third and placing James Nash between himself and Tassi.

Key facts

Grid – Tarquini was dropped to the back of the grid following an engine change
Start – Shedden and Oriola make great starts, but the Spaniard overtakes the Scotsman at T1 and takes the lead
Lap 1 – Oriola leads from Shedden, Vernay, Nash, Comte and Tassi
Lap 2 – Tarquini climbs to 12th, Menu and Morbidelli pit after clashing
Lap 3 – Nash overtakes Vernay for third, Comte pits with an engine issue
Lap 4 – Tarquini overtakes Vervisch for 8th; Vervisch and Leuchter make contact
Lap 5 – Tassi and Files are chasing Vernay; Tarquini overtakes Comini for 7th; Lloyd hits the barrier after contact with Colciago
Lap 6 – The safety car is deployed; Colciago pits for repairs
Lap 9 – Racing resumes
Lap 10 – The top-ten are covered by three seconds
Lap 11 – Tarquini overtakes Files for 6th
Lap 12 – Dupont stops on track after a contact
Lap 13 – Tarquini overtakes Tassi for 5th
Lap 14 – Tarquini overtakes Vernay for 4th
Lap 15 – Tarquini overtakes Nash for third
Lap 16 – Vervisch receives a drive-through penalty for track limits
Lap 18 – Tarquini slows down with a flat tyre; the fight for third between Nash, Vernay, Tassi and Files, is going to decide who’s the champion between Vernay and Tassi
Lap 19 – Oriola wins from Shedden; Vernay overtakes Nash for third and secures the Drivers’ title
After the race, Homola is given a 30-second time penalty for a collision with Panis that drops him from 8th to 12th.

 

Race 2 – Comini abdicates with victory
Double TCR champion Stefano Comini abdicated in style, as he won the International Series’ final race in his Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS.
The Swiss driver inherited the lead when Attila Tassi observed a drive-through penalty for a jump-start, and then crossed the line ahead of Gianni Morbidelli. Josh Files completed the podium after a brilliant fight with Denis Dupont who eventually failed to finish due to a flat tyre.
Tassi managed to recover from 17th to 12th – that was actually 10th because of the ‘transparency’ of the two Hyundai cars – scoring a single point that salvaged his second place in the Drivers’ championship ahead of Comini.
Morbidelli’s second place, combined with the sixth position achieved by his WestCoast Racing teammate Benjamin Leuchter earned the ‘Model of the Year’ trophy for the Volkswagen Golf by five points ahead of the Honda Civic.

Key facts

Grid – Menu and Comte are at the back of the grid following neutralization of the parc fermé; Lloyd and Colciago are missing, as their cars were not repairable after the incident in Race 1
Start – Tassi sprints from pole; Files and Nash make contact at Turn 1
Lap 1 – Tassi leads from Comini, Morbidelli, Dupont and Files; Tarquini spins after a contact with Oriola who retires
Lap 2 – Leuchter overtakes Homola for 9th
Lap 3 – Homola slows down and retires with a broken suspension
Lap 4 – Vernay overtakes Nash for 7th
Lap 5 – Menu and Nash make contact; Menu moves up to 8th
Lap 7 – Tassi is given a drive-through for jump start
Lap 8 – Tassi pays the penalty; Comini leads from Morbidelli
Lap 9 – Dupont defends third from Files; Tassi drops to 17th
Lap 10 – Leuchter overtakes Menu for 8th
Lap 11 – Kajaia overtakes Panis for 13th
Lap 12 – Files overtakes Dupont for third
Lap 13 – Vervisch and Vernay overtake Dupont for 4th and 5th
Lap 14 – Dupont goes straight at Turn 1 with a flat front tyre
Lap 15 – Tarquini and Comte overtake Kajaia for 11th and 12th
Lap 16 – Vernay stops on the track; Tassi is 12th
Lap 17 – Kajaia overtakes Nash for 10th; Comini wins from Morbidelli and Files

 

Quotes from the podium finishers in the two races
Jean-Karl Vernay (third in Race 1 – 2017 Drivers’ champion): “I don’t know yet how I feel… but obviously, it is great to be champion! I am very happy for Leopard Racing, WRT and Volkswagen. My start today was poor, so the race wasn’t easy. Strategy did not work, as there was another car between Shedden and me, so I had to do things on my own… I fought with Nash and had Tassi pushing behind, but I remained calm. Towards the end, Nash was slower because his tyres were gone, so I knew I could pass him, but waited until the last lap not to create a new fight. Personally, this title means a lot to me, as it comes after titles in LMP, GT and single-seaters, proving that I can will with all sorts of cars.”

 

Pepe Oriola (winner of Race 1): “I am really happy with this win, it was about time. I won at first event and now at last, it’s a pity we had such bad luck in-between… My start was really great, I was at the edge of stalling, but luckily it didn’t happen. I saw enough space close to the wall and just kept going, as I had nothing to lose. All this put me in P1 at first corner, but it was a very tough race as gaps were always very close, given also the safety-car period. Shedden was faster than me in some points, especially in turn 7, but I knew I could control the situation. Nothing bad happened this time and it is really nice to finish the season on a high.”

 

Stefano Comini (winner of Race 2): “It’s nice to finish the season on a high and to hand over the crown to Jean-Karl Vernay with a win. 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. Race 2 was pretty good; it generally is when you start at the front and have no extra weight! 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.”

Gordon Shedden (second in Race 1): “Being my first race in TCR, with this car and these tyres, I am happy with the result. My start wasn’t terrible but not very good either, clearly I lack some experience with TCR cars, but after, I could keep a good pace, trying not to do anything stupid. The car performed well, although I lost an aero part at some point, and I am very happy the team secured the title already in Race 1. Now we can have fun in Race2.”

Gianni Morbidelli (second in Race 2): “I am happy to finish the season with a second place. It’s a very good result, considering the 20 kilos of Success Ballast we had; on a circuit like this you can really feel the difference. It’s also nice to finish the season like that, after a very difficult first part, when we had to learn the car and come to grips with it. We really did a very good work with Volkswagen and WestCoast Racing, and I am really proud of what we achieved together. I’m also proud to have scored the points that earned the Volkswagen Golf the Model of the Year award.”

 

Josh Files (third in Race 2): “It’s the end of a very busy and intense TCR season for me, which started here by winning the Middle East series, an excellent way to prepare the season. Then came a second title in the TCR Germany, the toughest TCR series, after a long and closely-fought season. I was in contention also for the Europe Trophy in Adria, finishing on the podium, and here I am again on the podium in the closing round of the TCR International. I thank M1RA for inviting me. Of course, the objective was to help Attila Tassi in his title quest, but it turned out it was not to be for him. In Race2, I had fun battling with Dupont, I knew he had a puncture and I would pass him, but it was intense and fun the entire race.”

 

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35 minutes ago

CircuitProDigital

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35 minutes ago

CircuitProDigital

Get well soon Dovi !! ... See Less

38 minutes ago

MotoGP

Less than ecstatic after the race 👊

P2 for Marc Márquez on the day but P1 in the championship 💪

#BritishGP 🇬🇧
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Glad he talked about his concern for Dovi. That was good to hear. Sportsmanship is everything regardless of placings.

I love the whole sportsman ships these racers have for each other, 1 of the reasons to love Motogp ❤

Amazing race by amazing pilots.

He may lose a battle here and there, but always wins the war, its part of racing. His consistency in finishing on the podium has been unmatched in recent times. Great to see him pushed and challenged by Dovi, Rins, Vinales and Quartararo.

congratulations Alex Rins you made my day

Congrats MM u did very well fighting off Rins but at the end Rins was the winner. Well deserved win. Lets bounce back with the next race. Sad about Dovi hope he is doing ok.

marquez did loose the race.....only just, but he knows that when they showed his pit board of dovi out, that he did not have much to loose, but his competitive nature, would never allow him to settle for 2nd or third. if you want to get on the podium, you've got to out ride or out think him........

I thought he handled himself reasonably well given that he would obviously disappointed

Well done 42 rins ya dancer 😃😃😃💪👍

MM i Love you 💙

What a fantastic young man. So sad that some supposed MotoGP fans can't see beyond their hateful bias against him. Ultimately blamed himself for making a mistake on the last corner, acknowledged Rins race craft for remaining in second, and disappointed that Dovi crashed out - what more do you want?

He seemed ok to me in that interview. Was a great race from start to finish.

😂🤣😂🤣

You see he is dissapointed!!! Not a way we see marquez much....

Sometime you have to accept lost to be a winner...

One of the best race ever

Spoilt child. He was at max for too long and wiped out his tyres, whereas Rins never looked anything other than at ease and riding within himself which kept his tyres fresh so he could get drive out of the final corner. Marc shot his tyres hence why he nearly lost it coming through Woodcote and why he had to throttle back and had no traction.

BURNERS OF ANO ... IN THE FAMILY .... THE BROTHER THAT WAS SOLD ... LIKE THE BEAUTIFUL SLEEPING ... 😂😂😂😂

😘😘😘

❤️❤️❤️

Glad to see mm eat some humble pie

🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪🤪

Uncapable of admiting the other rider's superiority on that last turn.

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40 minutes ago

CircuitProDigital

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2 hrs ago

MotoGP

What a dramatic start we saw at Silverstone! 😱

Thankfully, Fabio Quartararo and Andrea Dovizioso were able to walk away from this scary crash! 💥

#BritishGP 🇬🇧
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Hope Dovi will be fine 🤕

Was right near this, was horrific to see bit thankfully they hobbled away

That was vicious. No life threatening injuries? Good day. Thank god for quality equipment.

Wishing Dovi a speedy recovery.

Dovi is out of luck this season. So sad to see a competitive rider ruling out of the race.

Hope both riders are ok wish them both a speedy recovery

Absolutely horrific. Was anxious to see if Dovi got up. Thankfully he did. Wishing both riders swift recovery.

I hope Fabio and Dovi are both okay

I was right next to this incident, both Dovi and Fabio were limping as they walked away, hope both are ok, what a fantastic race, Rins and Marc in a dogfight to the end, top day !!

Did anybody know if they have injuries?

Quel dommage pour ces deux superbes pilotes! #20

A very dangerous game yet we love it soooo much. Thanks to all rider who deliver a very competitive race every year. Dovi n Fabio, speed recovery please. I believe anyone who sit on that situation cant avoid hitting the loose bike.

Athleticism of MotoGP riders are amazing.. be safe.

Get well soon.. A big thanks to Quart and Dovi, Rossi got the 4th or else he will be 6th 😂

Dovi was lucky to walk away from that .

Hope Dovi is ok and back racing real soon

Dovi lost his memory after the crash.. 😢

I just hope that Dovi is okay that was a terrible thing to watch.

In situations where dovi needs the most points 😱

Was scary was right in front of us 😱🏍❤️

Never nice to see anyone hit the tarmac that hard. I think it could’ve been a proper scrap at the front if they had both been in the mix

Unlucky that's only an expression thoug ☺ but they're desire a luck to fulfilling their achievement

The problem started with Rins who had to brake and almost lost The front.

Why did his bike catch fire, very unusual. Just one of those things.

Any update news from medic about dovi's situation?

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3 hrs ago

MotoGP

"I've beaten two legends: Rossi in Texas and Marquez today" - Alex Rins

Hear his reaction after his impressive last corner win yesterday! 🏆

#BritishGP 🇬🇧
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Well done for a well deserved win! But to be a real champion, you Need to be the best more consistently.

Rins, you were great, you got everything out of the bike. in the curves you were flying with Suzuki. You are always in our hearts, great champion.

A fantastic demonstration of race craft by Rins. A brilliant race. Congratulations.

Spectacular effort, congratulations on an awesome win.

Well done mate a great ride.

You are so beautiful, Amy

Congratulations to Rins and Suzuki can’t wait to see the Suzuki boys at Phillip island 🌴

A superb race Alex. Once more, Congratulations. You certainly deserve them. A remarkable finish and fight till the finish line. This is what Moto GP should be all about. Great job 😉

A fantastic rider with an amazing machine!!! Congratulations Álex Rins!!!

Congratulations

Congrats Alex!!

Be great to see suzuki up near the top👍. He's a talented rider.

He can't beat Jorge 😬😬😬

Good to see marquez not on the top step this time. Congratulations Rins! Shame for Dovi.

So, MM can be beaten at his own game. Every dog has its day.

Félicitations. Superbe dépassement dans le finish. Moi j'adore le regarder car il a un style de pilotage assez particulier. Il est très droit sur la moto. On a l'impression qu'il force pas. 😁

One fact he gracefully accepts there are only two legends on the current grid: "I've beaten two legends: Rossi in Texas and Marquez today"

Credit where it's due, great ride. The Suzuki is where Yamaha should be.

ครึ่งล้อนี้จำไปนาน

Congratulations Rins👏👏💪

Love this guy so honest not like MM93

You are amazing and i mean not only as a rider but as a person TODA GAS

And the coverage kept showing the yamaha pit why

During the race Rin's was definitely by far the better rider💪🏼+ the bike Suzuki performed well under pressure 🔥..

Yamaha m1, factory team need to replace Rossi, to progress, That's from a top Rossi fan.

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15 hrs ago

F1

Which team has impressed you most so far in 2019? ... See Less

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I would say Williams for the most reliability and focused pit crew. They're only left to improve on pace.

I'm a Mercedes fan but have to say McLaren have done an amazing job this year considering their performance over the last few years.

McLaren has impressed the most because last season they where horrible and now they are best of the rest. Also Red Bull and Honda seem to be a nice match, would love to see Max finish what Jos started with Honda. Most disappointing this season are Haas and Renault. Renault because they wanted to close the gap to the top 3, but right now they are 6th. And they are the only unreliable engine in the field right now. Haas is having a horrible season, they seem to be getting worse during the season instead of improving.

Good to see that McLaren is performing well. I'm sure the team's ability to improve will be remarkable with every race from now on.

Must say McLaren, with the team spirit that they have, and results they managed to achieve... Definitely my favourites this season.

Williams have had the worst start to an F1 team in history. And I think with their tiny budget and willpower, the amount they’ve improved is impressive. They’re still far behind but I hope to see them fighting for podiums in 2021

If Bruce was still here he would be proud of his team. Mclaren improved the most.

McLaren. Consistent development and improvement over the season so far. Alfa Romeo has been somewhat of a surprise also.

Being on top is one thing but staying at the top is the art of the game. Kudos to Mercedes for getting it right so far.... #WeMakeItLookEasy

Ferrari have been the most impressive, from being the slowest manufacturer in 2014 to being a reasonable threat and smashing McLaren and Williams comprehensibly. McLaren and Williams should just pack their bags and go home, Ferrari have nailed their coffin shut and it can be considered karma for their various indiscretions in 1990 (senna wiping out prost), 1994, 1997 (Villeneuve incident), 1998, 1999, 2007 (spygate), 2008... The British public couldn't care less about McLaren or Williams they only support whatever "British" team is winning, in this case Mercedes

I’m super impressed with Toro Rosso, hard to believe this is the old Minardi team where both their drivers exceeded all expectations!!

Ferrari fan for life, but McLaren have done an incredible job so far, considering how far back they were

Redbull and Honda engineering. The aerodynamic has been sorted and the engine now also reliable. Watch that space, they could challenge for the title next year!

None the sport is finished and I've followed the sport since the early 80s

Mclaren, they have made a huge turn around this season. With andreas seidl at the helm, the only place they re going is up

Hi F1 and fans .... with all the media attention to the envirement and green thinking etc etc etc. Is there a research or developement posted in any magizine about the developemt of how clean the F1 is today. We all know that all top research of F1 is implemented in the modern cars but i like to read how clean F1 is now in 2019 .. 👍

McLaren (and I'm faraway from being a fan! If there was a person I didn't like in Formula 1, that person was Ron Dennis). Anyway I'm glad to see them finally getting together again and mainly without supposed big shot drivers who can't do nothing but complain! Now they need to find a good engine because with Renault it will be near impossible to go any further...

McLaren is the most impressive.. Mercedes just has luck week after week.. Hoping Ferrari will get their things together for the second half..

Red Bull / HONDA‼️ Young Max may be awesome, but so is the way Red Bull has adapted to Honda’s engine. The last 2 years of griping about the Renault power plant is (almost) justified...

Haas, they have surprised me on how bad they are this year. Compared to last year this year has been terrible. They were fighting Renault for top of the mid pack, this year they are fighting for points at all.

And yet no Ferrari or anyone else 1st with the exception of RB. Hybrid era is killing with the beyond dominance of Merc being so far ahead of everyone else’s pace. Some competition would be nice! Don’t give me that bullshit of everyone should bring it to the table, there’s some crazy advantage behind the scene that you Merc fanboys don’t know about. Yawn.

It would be nice to see Mclaren back up there permanently fighting for the title. Always was a fan

the gap between top three teams and the rest is too much

Quite a gap between 3rd and 4th also between 10th and racing cars.

Williams been sandbagging the first half of the season just to give the others a glimp of hope, beast mode on in second half of the season

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