Azcona makes a winning start
Mikel Azcona took a dominant victory in Race 1 with the Volcano Motorsport Cupra Leon Competición, at the Slovakia Ring, beating the Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS of Nicolas Baert by 3.370 seconds.
At the start Azcona got away more cleanly than pole-sitter Tom Coronel and led the field into Turn 1. The Spaniard was then never headed and set off into the distance leaving several drivers to battle for the other podium places. Coronel’s team-mate Dušan Borkovič also made a relatively poor start and dropped from fourth on the grid to tenth. An incident early on the opening lap saw Russian Klim Gavrilov caught up with a number of other cars and the VRC-Team Audi was forced to retire. Local fans had received an early disappointment when the Hyundai i30 N of Mat’o Homola had to be pushed off the grid due to a possible recurrence of the fluid leak that had earlier forced the Slovakian driver to miss the second stage of Qualifying.
Coronel was running in second place until Lap 4, when he was passed by Nicolas Baert in the other Comtoyou Audi. Then on the following lap, Coronel lost more positions when Dániel Nagy and Niels Langeveld both overtook him. Mehdi Bennani, who’d started from P10, moved into seventh place when he passed Felice Jelmini in a sister Sébastien Loeb Racing Hyundai Elantra N.
On Lap 6, Isidro Callejas had a huge scare when he ran onto the grass and the rear of the car was kicked into the air when he hit a large bump. Although the car initially seemed undamaged by the incident, Callejas would be forced to pull up in the race’s final moments with broken suspension.
Together with Borkovič steadily recovering and moving up the field, the attention over the final few laps was on the battle for third place. Langeveld had recovered superbly after starting from P13 on the grid and was threatening Nagy for third position, but the Hungarian driver held on to claim a podium finish behind Azcona and Baert.
Race 1 – Slovakia Ring, 8 May 2021
1. Mikel Azcona (Cupra Leon Competición TCR) 22:11.642
2. Nicolas Baert (Audi RS3 LMS) +3.370
3. Daniel Nagy (Cupra Leon Competición TCR) +4.660
4. Niels Langeveld (Hyundai Elantra N TCR) +5.581
5. Tom Coronel (Audi RS3 LMS) +12.166
6. Mehdi Bennani (Hyundai Elantra N TCR) +13.334
7. Dušan Borcović (Audi RS3 LMS) +15.655
8. Sami Taoufik (Hyundai Elantra N TCR) +19.998
9. Felice Jelmini (Hyundai Elantra N TCR) +22.025
10. Evgenii Leonov (Cupra Leon Competición TCR) +23.182
11. Martin Ryba (Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR) +25.662
12. Jack Young (Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR) +26.210
13. Franco Girolami (Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR) +33.706
14. Viktor Davidovski (Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR) +34.631
15. Sylvain Pussier (Cupra TCR) +36.030
16. Gilles Colombani (Cupra TCR) +36.722
17. Jáchym Galáš (Hyundai i30N TCR) +47.052
18. Isidro Callejas (Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR) +1 lap
Teddy Clairet (Peugeot 308 TCR)
Jimmy Clairet (Peugeot 308 TCR)
Klim Gavrilov (Audi RS3 LMS)
Mat’o Homola (Hyundai i30N TCR)