Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing scored a brilliant victory during the final round of the TCR International Series at the Dubai Autodrome, with Pepe Oriola making a stunning start to capture the lead and maintain his position to the flag. James Nash also made a blindingly quick start and was able to launch his #54 SEAT Leon from P11 to P4 by flag fall. Daniel Lloyd was quickly making his through way the field but was forced out of the race by contact and with the damage sustained to the chassis, Lloyd was unable to take part in race two. Oriola made another good start in race two but came together with the Hyundai of Gabriele Tarquini, ending his race on the first lap. Nash was on his way to another good result but with contact at the start and a slow puncture slowing him down, he finished the race in P11 but was classified P9 on points with the two Hyundais ineligible to collect them. This hard-fought finish was instrumental in Lukoil Craft-Bamboo taking second overall in the teams’ championship with a margin of two points.
P4: Pepe ORIOLA - 1:28.179
P8: Daniel LLOYD - 1:28.623
P11: James NASH - 1:28.752
It was Pepe Oriola from P4 who made a lightning start to dive up the inside and take the lead at turn one, keeping the two VWs behind him. James Nash was no slouch either, doing an incredible job to climb from P11 up to P4 halfway through the first lap. Daniel Lloyd slipped back from P8 to P16 but quickly set about climbing back up the order. While Oriola held the lead over the coming laps, Nash began to close in on J.K Vernay, and he was able to make a pass to claim P3 on the third lap. With Oriola and Nash keeping the pace up front, Lloyd was now up to P14, but on the sixth lap he came together with Roberto Colciago, causing a safety car period and ending his weekend on the spot. The race was restarted on lap nine and both Oriola and Nash maintained their P1 and P3 positions respectively. Both the Lukoil Craft-Bamboo SEATs were looking strong as the race progressed, but Nash was caught by Gabriele Tarquini at the start of lap 15 and slipped back to P4. The #54 driver briefly made it back to P3 when Tarquini dropped back with mechanical issues on the penultimate lap but Nash succumbed to Vernay’s last lap attack and crossed the line in P4. Oriola was unstoppable at the front of the field though and had run a perfect race, taking the flag and his second win of the TCR season.
Pepe Oriola got off to another good start from P6 and got straight into the fight at turn one. Nash had also made a great start from P10 but made contact with Dennis Dupont in turn one, who then touched Oriola, forcing both Lukoil Craft-Bamboo cars wide. Both Oriola and Nash regrouped and were running side by side, when Oriola made contact with Gabrielle Tarquini and ruled himself out of the race. Nash had made it up to P7 by the second lap and was settling into a rhythm. He would remain in P7 until the fifth lap, where contact with Alain Menu forced him off the circuit and down the grid, with Nash finally settling into P11 at the start of lap six. From here, Nash kept the pace to the chequered flag and after contracting a slow puncture, he did an excellent job to bring the car home in P11. It was no easy feat and his determination saw him rewarded with enough points to keep Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing in second place for the teams’ championship.
Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing
“Delighted to win another race in the TCR International Series, which is a nice signoff from what has been a difficult season at times. James Nash also had a very strong weekend, driving from P11 to P4, so credit to him for his resolve. Very unlucky for Daniel to have another double DNF and when you look at the onboard, there really wasn’t much he could have done. There is lots of positive news about the championship next year and we look forward to a winter of hard work to get us back up to the top step, having been the bridesmaid this year.”
Daniel Lloyd, #17
“I had a bit of a poor start but was making up places through the field when I was braking into the chicane and got wiped out by Roberto Colciago. He didn’t really brake for the corner, which is what we saw on the footage with the stewards, so it was a poor way to end the season.”
James Nash, #54
“We were working the car really hard to get any positions. In race two I had a lot of contact and a slow puncture from around the half-way distance, so I was really lucky to finish. The contact at turn one in the second race was disappointing because without it and the puncture of course, we could have managed the same as race one, which was a good result.
I’d like to thank everyone at Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing, my sponsors, family, friends and fans for their continuing support and encouragement. I look forward to returning next season when we start with a clean sheet and hopefully deliver the success our endeavours and support deserves.”
Pepe Oriola, #74
“I was really happy with the pace in race one, especially with my start, as it was the best I have had all year. To win in the final round was fantastic and the car was great. It was a pity I got touched in turn one of race two as I thought third position in the championship was possible but after that, it was not. I am happy with the end of the season, happy with the engineering side and with the team. It was a really good end to the season, we showed that we had the pace to fight and I hope to get a better result next year with the team.”