Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing graced the podium once again in race one in Oschersleben, with Daniel Lloyd running a superb race from P3 to claim his first ever TCR International Series podium. James Nash did a stunning job to carve his way from P7 to P4 over the 17 lap race, scoring some much needed points in the process. Pepe Oriola was looking strong early on but was unfortunately forced to retire with radiator damage after contact with another competitor. Race two was a disaster for Oriola and Nash, with both drivers being taken out due to a chaotic incident at the start. Thankfully, Lloyd made it through unscathed and restarted the race in P3, where he then put in another good performance to finish P4 and help Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing end the weekend with the second highest amount of points. Thanks to the team’s 46 point haul this weekend, they have now closed the gap to first in the teams’ standings and need only 33 points to claim the top spot when the series reconvenes in Thailand in September.
Daniel Lloyd: P3 - 1:31.714 (Q2)
Pepe Oriola: P5 - 1:31.834 (Q2)
James Nash: P7 - 1:31.954 (Q2)
Daniel Lloyd made a great start from P3 to squeeze into second at the first turn, while Nash charged from P7 to P4. Oriola was unable to make up any positions on the start and filed in behind Nash as the first race got underway. By the second lap, Lloyd was already beginning to build a gap to those behind him while he chased down, Gianni Morbidelli. Oriola was hot on Nash’s tail but the British driver was able to keep ahead of his Spanish teammate. While Oriola was trying to find a way past Nash, Jaap van Lagen made his move on Oriola, forcing him down to P6 before a safety car was called out. The race was restarted on lap eight and it was still Lloyd in P2, Nash in P4 and Oriola P6. Oriola was battling with van Lagen and made a pass on lap nine, but was given a drive through penalty for tapping the #14 driver in the rear. Oriola was later forced to retire thanks to damage sustained to his radiator. Lloyd and Nash were still running strong in P2 and P4 respectively and were focused on closing in on their rivals in the latter half of the race. Lloyd put in a faultless performance but didn’t have the pace to catch Morbidelli in the Golf, ultimately crossing the line in P2, just over two seconds behind the lead. Nash had been glued to the back of Rob Huff throughout the race and kept him under pressure right until the chequered flag, ending the 19 lap battle in P4 to take some well needed points.
The start of race two did not go as planned for Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing. Nash made a good start from P4 and tried to go up the inside before being blocked and forced to the left side of the track. In his attempt to edge ahead of Jean-Karl Vernay, Robert Colciago veered into the side of Vernay, starting a devastating chain reaction. Nash was spun across to the right side of the circuit, while Colciago came careening rearwards into Oriola, who in turn hit Nash. Numerous other drivers were caught up in the incident and the race was red flagged. Lloyd was able to avoid the destruction and in doing so had managed to make it up to P3. With less than a lap completed, the remaining competitors had to return to their original grid positions. Lloyd lined up in P8 but was actually restarting the race in P3. The #17 driver held onto third as the race restarted but was soon hounded by Morbidelli. Lloyd fended off Morbidelli’s advances for the next two laps but was eventually overtaken by the quicker Golf. Lloyd then maintained his P4 position throughout the race and was able to catch the back of P3 on lap 11 but couldn’t find a way to pass. Lloyd eventually brought the #17 SEAT Leon home in P4 at the end of lap 15, collecting 12 points for the team and his championship and putting an end to his most successful TCR weekend of the season so far.
Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing
“It has been a bittersweet weekend for the team, with a great drive from Daniel and James who showed great maturity at the front of the field in race one. Pepe had a racing incident with another car. He believes he was brake tested, the cameras aren’t so forgiving but at the end of the day it is irrelevant as we lost the points. In race two I know there wasn’t much that the two drivers could have done as they got caught up in the accident. Dan brought home a very competent result in race two but we didn’t quite have the pace of the Volkswagens this weekend. We are competitive none the less and I think we will be very competitive next time out in in Thailand and hope to score as many points as we can in the run up to the end of the season.”
Daniel Lloyd, #17
“I am over the moon about race one, I had a great start off the line and managed to get into P2 by the first corner. Morbidelli was incredibly quick and it was difficult to keep up, but I managed to stay with him. It is nice to be able to show my pace and I am really happy with second place and my first podium. We made a few changes for race two but I didn’t have the same pace and it was a bit of a struggle. We finished fourth and I am a little disappointed that we didn’t get another podium. I am grateful that I didn’t get caught up in the mess at the start, which was a real shame for James and Pepe.
James Nash, #54
“I was pleased to make a good start in race 1 that got me from 7th to 4th. I really wanted a podium but wasn't able to attack Huff. Race 2 I held out much more hope as this time I was starting 4th. I really expected a top 3 finish. Again my start was good but Robert Colciago moved across and hit Jean-Karl Vernay who in turn spun me across the track. It's now going to be hard for the team to turn the cars around to get them ready to catch the ship to Thailand.”
Pepe Oriola, #74
“Race one was a little bit disappointing with the drive through penalty after I made contact with Jaap Van Lagen. From my point of view, it wasn’t my fault; he hit the brakes or lifted off the throttle, when you should be flat through there. They could have put it under investigation but they didn’t even look at it. Race two there is nothing else to say, Colciago hit me coming in backwards and that was it. I am looking forward to the holidays and focusing on Thailand.