TCR Middle East
Giacomo Altoè and Luca Engstler shared wins at Abu Dhabi
The opening event of the 2018 TCR Middle East International Series delivered a couple of eventful races at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit.
Giacomo Altoè (Audi RS3 LMS run by Pit Lane Competizioni) and Luca Engstler (Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf GTI) emerged as the race winners and left Abu Dhabi as first and second in the standings.
In Race 1 Altoè converted his pole position into a victory. The Italian driver sprinted at the start and never looked back, as he was able to keep Mat’o Homola’s Volkswagen Golf GTI at bay in the first part of the race before increasing his leading gap in the final laps.
Homola maintained the second place, although he was closely chased by the Liqui Moly Team Engstler duo of Engstler and Florian Thoma who delivered a thrilling fight for the third position.
In the second race TCR returnee Lorenzo Veglia crossed the line first. He led for most of the race ahead of Thoma and Engstler, but the final laps were red-hot. On lap 15 Thoma clashed with Veglia and took the lead ahead of Engstler. However, two laps later the young Swiss was forced to retire with a broken suspension. Engstler inherited the lead, but on the last lap he and Veglia made contact; the Italian got the better of the situation and crossed the line first, with a slim margin. Kai Jordan finished a comfortable third ahead of Giacomo Altoè and Homola.
After the race, Veglia was given a 30-second penalty for hitting Engstler on the final lap. This dropped him from first to eighth, while Engstler inherited victory, with Kai Jordan and Giacomo Altoè promoted to second and third respectively.
Giacomo Altoè is the series’ first leader with 45 points, while Engstler is second, only one point adrift. Homola lies third with 33 points.
The championship resumes this week (26 and 27 January) at the Dubai Autodrome for rounds 3 and 4.