Double Monza winner Gianni Morbidelli says he is “excited to be involved in such great races”, after the Italian round of the TCR International Series featured two fiercely-fought races in which the WestCoast Racing driver emerged victorious in both.
Morbidelli took a maximum 55-point haul from the weekend, having taken pole position and the first-ever double win in the series’ history. However both races were far from straightforward, as Morbidelli was forced to work hard for the wins.
In race one, Morbidelli got off to a poor start which saw him drop to fourth by the first corner. Having fought back, Morbidelli went on to win ahead of the SEAT of Pepe Oriola.
The reverse grid for race two meant that Morbidelli would line up his Honda in tenth and be forced to work even harder for the win. A superb three-way fight for the lead between Fernando Monje and Stefano Comini on lap seven ended with slight contact with Comini at the first chicane. Then, one lap later, it turned into a four-way battle as Andrea Belicchi and Jordi Gené joined in.
Despite several passes involving contact, the battle for the lead continued and emerged with Morbidelli defeating Comini for a third season victory.
The Italian insisted his pace was not simply down to a straight-line speed advantage around the famous Monza circuit.
“I am very excited to be involved in such great races and it was an incredible fight in race two,” said Morbidelli. “We were not so quick in a straight line today, but I could get lots of time at the Parabolica corner, which gave me good speed on the start-finish straight.
“I think today’s races proved we had not the advantage that everybody said we had. I said after qualifying that it would not be that easy and I wasn’t wrong.
“What probably made the difference was our good speed on some key corners, like Ascari and the Parabolica, rather than on the straight. If you know Monza, you know that both those corners are crucial to get the right speed.
“It was also difficult to preserve the brakes, which are under heavy constraints here, and I was constantly on the very limit.
“Now we lead the championship and I have to thank the Westcoast Racing team for giving me such a great car.
“Beyond the results, which of course pleased me very much, I am very happy because there were a lot of good fights and we put on a terrific show for the fans.”
WestCoast Racing Team Principal Greger Petersson praised Morbidelli’s maturity to deliver the two wins.
“A really fantastic drive from a great driver; Gianni is so mature with so much experience, which showed today. He was the class of the field today.”