Milovan Vesnić led the opening race of TCR Eastern Europe at Grobnik from the first to the last lap, but it wasn´t an easy victory. He had to cope with really hot weather and attacking Bartosz Groszek in the close stage of the race.
Bartosz Groszek from Aditis Racing put his Audi on the pole-position, alongside Milovan Vesnić with the same car. From the second row started Petr Semerád with Hyundai and local driver Žarko Knego with Cupra. As the red lights went off, Groszek had a terrible start and moved from his position very slowly. His championship opponent Petr Semerád had to move around Groszek and lost a couple of positions too. The order was really mixed after the first corner and Vesnić was leading the way from local racer Žarko Knego and Petr Čížek.
Drivers raced under the hot conditions, as the temperatures were rising to 37°C. Drivers, engines and tires were suffering during the race, but the action on the track entertained the spectators from the start to finish. Semerád passed Čížek at the beginning of the third lap and moved up to the third place. Groszek was also attacking his opponents and passed a lot of cars at the first stage of the race.
The order after four laps were Vesnić, Knego, Semerád, Čížek, Groszek, Steibel, Janík, Rzepecki, Adámek, Šimunović and Pravdič. Groszek was trying to find a way around Čížek, but the track don´t offer many places to pass if the cars are at least a bit matched. Finally for Groszek, Čížek left the door wide open in the fifth lap and championship leader moved up to fourth place. Meanwhile second Knego was under pressure from Semerád and he managed to get his Hyundai in front of Knego´s Cupra.
Knego hadn´t time to relax, as Groszek was just behind him also. Groszek passed him lap later and was preparing to attack Semerád. Groszek was clearly fastest driver on the track and after short battle he defeated Semerád on the start finish straight. Meanwhile Knego, the only Croatian driver in the field, had to retire with technical troubles.
There were eight minutes to the finish and Groszek was five seconds behind Vesnić. The fight was on. Last two laps were two leading Audi´s as one car. Groszek has been attacking, Vesnić was defending. Both of the drivers were struggling with degradation of tires and high temperatures, but they managed to kept their cars on the track and eventually Milovan Vesnić scored his first win of the season in front of Groszek. Semerád finished third two seconds behind.
Petr Čížek brough his Cupra to fourth place, fifth finished Sebastian Steibel with another Cupra. Semerád´s team mate Václav Janík was classified sixth. In seventh position finished Groszek´s team mate Radim Adámek with the brand-new Audi and eight was TCR Eastern Europe debutant Robert Pravdič with older version of Audi. Pravdič will be starting from pole-position in tomorrow´s race, as the winner Vesnić draw the number eight, which means, that starting grid for second race will be reversed from eight place.
Milovan Vesnić also won Trophy category for older car specifications. Second was Groszek and third Semerád, who as well won Junior category.