Vernay seals TCR International title with podium

Jean-Karl Vernay claimed a maiden TCR International title at Dubai Autodrome courtesy of a third place finish in the opening race

Vernay seals TCR International title with podium

The Frenchman made a poor start from the front row and was swiftly dispatched by eventual race winner Pepe Oriola, before slotting in behind the sister Volkswagen Golf GTi of team-mate, polesitter and British Touring Car driver, Gordon Shedden.

His main championship rival Attila Tassi needed to outscore Vernay to keep the title fight alive until the final race, and although he made a strong start - rising to fifth by the second lap from his starting position of 10th - Vernay ultimately proved too fast for him to overturn.

Even the assistance of a safety car after Daniel Lloyd crashed heavily following contact with another outsider title contender, Roberto Colciago, was not enough to make the difference.

James Nash's SEAT Leon began to slow in the closing laps, holding up Vernay and allowing Tassi an opportunity to challenge for fourth.

However, Vernay capitalised on a mistake from Nash into the high-speed right-hander at Turn Six to slide up the inside on the following corner and seal his advantage in the standings with the final spot on the rostrum.

It was an impressive debut in the series from three-time British Touring Car champion Shedden, who matched Oriola at the front for the duration but kept one eye on his team-mate's fortunes behind.

Gabriele Tarquini put in a blistering performance in his Hyundai i30, after he was forced to start from the rear of the field following an engine change overnight.

The veteran charged from 21st to third before a front-left puncture, caused by carrying success ballast and the number of fast right-hand corners on the National layout of the Dubai Autodrome, forced him to retire in the closing stages while looking likely to challenge for victory.

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