Bahrain TCR: Oriola victorious in season opener

Last year's TCR runner-up Pepe Oriola took a lights-to-flag victory in the first race of the new season at Sakhir.

Despite starting fifth, it was James Nash who took the lead over the course of a couple of corners, passing both his teammates Oriola and polesitter Sergey Afanasyev.

However, the former two-time WTCC race winner  made a mistake on the exit of Turn 10, which allowed Oriola to sneak past him.

While Nash didn't allow Oriola to pull away and even made a couple of overtaking attempts, the 2015 runner-up held on to the lead for good to grab the win.

As the final laps of the race approached, Nash was forced to switch his attention to the charging Honda of Gianni Morbidelli.

The Italian overtook Afanasyev during the first couple of laps and stole second from Nash at the end of a half-lap long duel.

Unable to catch up with Oriola, Morbidelli ended up second, closely followed by Nash and Afanasyev as all three Craft-Bamboo Seats made it into the top four.

Porsche Carrera Cup Italy graduate Aku Pellinen secured fifth with Dusan Borkovic settling for sixth following a slow start from second on the grid.

Reigning champion Stefano Comini ended up as the top Volkswagen in seventh with Mat'o Homola emerging victorious after a race-long battle for eighth with David Kajala.

The top 10 was completed by Russian Mikhail Grachev.

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About this article
Series TCR
Event Sakhir
Track Bahrain International Circuit
Article type Race report