Bahrain TCR: Oriola wins again in spectacular Race 2

Craft-Bamboo Lukoil driver Pepe Oriola fought his way up the order to sweep the TCR season opener in Bahrain, fending off James Nash and Kevin Gleason to win Race 2.

Having started third and fifth, WestCoast Honda teammates Gleason and Aku Pellinen muscled through to establish a 1-2 out front by Turn 2, with Jean-Karl Vernay and Oriola next up the road.

However, Vernay was soon in serious trouble, shedding left-rear bodywork that would end up dragging on the track as he tumbled down the order.

Just then, Vernay's Leopard teammate and reigning TCR champion Stefano Comini collided with Mikhail Grachev and was spun around, picking up a puncture.

Two laps into the race, Pellinen dropped back from his race leader teammate, instead holding up Oriola and the other Craft-Bamboo Lukoil Seat of Nash.

Soon enough, Oriola's battle with Pellinen allowed Nash to pass both down the inside on the main straight, moving up to second place.

However, Oriola hit back at the halfway point of the race, re-passing Nash into Turn 1 - and the duo soon settled into position, focussing on chasing after Gleason.

With two laps to go, Oriola muscled his way past Gleason - and Nash immediately followed through. However, the Spaniard kept the Briton at arm's length to take his second win of the weekend.

Meanwhile, the race went from bad to worse for Gleason as he tried to stop teammate Gianni Morbidelli from advancing down his inside, and ended up damaging his car enough to retire from the race.

Morbidelli did not emerge from the incident unscathed either - his left-front tyre then gave out on the final lap and he was re-passed by Pellinen, who went on to take the chequered flag in third.

Dusan Borkovic ended up fourth after the hectic final laps, having overtaken both reverse-grid poleman David Kajaia and Mat'o Homola.

Behind the two was qualifying pacesetter Sergey Afanasyev in seventh, ahead of Jordi Oriola, Morbidelli - nursing a puncture to the finish line - and Luigi Ferrara.

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About this article
Series TCR
Event Sakhir
Track Bahrain International Circuit
Drivers James Nash , Pepe Oriola , Aku Pellinen
Teams Craft Bamboo Racing
Article type Race report