Dusan Borković, driving a GE-Force Alfa Romeo Giulietta, took his first victory in the TCR International Series after a commanding performance in the stifling heat of a Bahrain Easter Sunday afternoon.
Starting from the second row of the grid, Attila Tassi made the best start and passed both Borković and pole-sitter Ferenc Ficza going into Turn 1. Borković and Ficza quickly struck back and overhauled the M1RA Racing Honda Civic, with Borković leading from Ficza’s Zele Racing SEAT León.
The Lukoil Craft-Bamboo SEAT of James Nash and Jean-Karl Vernay in the Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi then passed Tassi, with Nash quickly snatching second place from Ficza. When Ficza then ran wide on lap 2, Vernay was one of four drivers to take advantage. Nash’s teammate Hugo Valente took third place from Vernay on lap 3 and that was how the race ended; Borković finishing ahead of Nash and Valente.
Behind the battle for the podium places, there were several thrilling fights within the top ten. Vernay held onto fourth place despite a determined challenge from the Honda of Roberto Colciago, while Pepe Oriola finished seventh, behind Ficza.
Reigning TCR champion Stefano Comini and Gianni Morbidelli made contact on a number of occasions, with the Swiss driver’s Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS eventually finishing in ninth place, ahead of the Italian in a WestCoast Racing VW.
Davit Kajaia lost a valuable sixth place on the last lap as he coasted to a halt with a stream of oil trailing from the underside of the Alfa Romeo; the oil sump was cracked after he jumped over a kerb.
Two points now cover the top three in the Drivers’ series; Vernay has 52 points with Borković on 51 and Roberto Colciago a further point adrift. Oriola and Kajaia – the two winners on the opening weekend in Georgia – are in fourth and fifth places with 45 and 39 points respectively.
Grid – Sunny and hot, but windy; all 16 cars take place, including Corthals’ Opel with a new clutch
Start – Tassi makes the best start and leads from Borković going into Turn 1; Borković and Ficza then both pass Tassi
Lap 1 – Nash and Vernay pass Tassi for 3rd and 4th places; Nash passes Ficza for 2nd
Lap 2 – Ficza runs wide and allows Vernay, Valente, Tassi and Colciago to pass; Colciago passes Tassi for 5th place; Comini is fighting with Ficza for 8th place; Altoè stops on track with both front tyres punctured
Lap 3 – Valente passes Vernay for 3rd place; there are contacts between Tassi and Vernay and between Nash and Tassi
Lap 4 – Kajaia locks up under braking and makes contact with Tassi; Ficza passes Tassi for 6th place
Lap 5 – Comini passes Kajaia for 8th, but Oriola then passes Comini and Kajaia re-takes 8th
Lap 6 – Morbidelli and Comini make contact and Morbidelli passes Comini for 10th place
Lap 7 – There is contact between Oriola and Kajaia; Colciago is attacking Vernay for 4th
Lap 8 – Tassi runs wide and Kajaia passes for 7th place; Oriola then passes Tassi for 8th; Comini passes Morbidelli for 10th.
Lap 9 – Kajaia stops on track with oil trailing from the car; Borković takes the win from Nash and Valente