Luca Engstler dominated the third round of the TCR Middle East International Series at the Dubai Autodrome, inflicting a six-second gap to Giacomo Altoè. Lorenzo Veglia completed the podium.
Engstler made good use of his pole position and sprinted to the lead. His Volkswagen Golf car fitted with new front tyres, the German youngster was able to set a very fast pace in the first laps, creating a gap that Altoé was not able to fill.
Thinking about the championship, the Italian focused on bringing his car to the second place and keeping a rampant Veglia at bay. The latter made up of yesterday’s disappointing qualifying result that relegated him to 11th on the grid. He got past four or five cars at the start and then recovered up to third overtaking Kai Jordan and Mat’o Homola.
The second race will start at 14:10 local time; Costas Papantoniswill sit on pole position of the top-ten reverse grid at the wheel of his SEAT León.
Start – Engstler sprints to take the lead from Giacomo Altoè and Jordan; Veglia takes a brilliant start and moves up from 11th to 6th; Kroes and Oriola make contact on the straight and the latter brushes the pit wall
Lap 1 – Homola overtakes Jordan for third; Kroes and Thoma make contact and the Dutch driver is forced to pit and retire
Lap 2 – Veglia overtakes Jordan for 4th; Engstler pulls away
Lap 3 – Giovanni Altoè threats Jordan’s 5th place
Lap 4 – Engstler stretches his lead to 3.5 seconds
Lap 5 – Veglia overtakes Homola for third
Lap 8 – Thoma overtakes Giovanni Altoé for 6th
Lap 9 – Thoma overtakes Jordan for 5th
Lap 10 – Engstler’s leading gap exceeds the five seconds
Lap 11 – Thoma tries to overtake Homola for 4th, but the latter keeps the position
Lap 12 – Oriola and Papantonis make contact at T18 while fighting for 8th place; they both continue after driving well beyond the track limits
Lap 13 – Veglia closes in on Giacomo Altoè
Lap 14 – Engstler wins from Giacomo Altoè and Veglia; Homola finishes fourth ahead of Thoma