Craft-Bamboo Racing’s Pepe Oriola had a strong first race at Monza this Saturday, bagging a podium from sixth on the grid.
The race started in slightly unfortunate fashion for the 22-year old, though, as he made light contact with Mat’o Homola in turn one, forcing the Slovak into a spin.
“I had a really good start and I came into the first chicane side by side with two or three cars; I got a push and hit Homola, he spun and I’m really sorry, it wasn’t my intention,” commented Oriola after the race.
Fortunately, both cars were able to continue the race and the incident was left unpunished by the stewards, allowing Oriola to carry on with his charge to the front.
Eventually he met with M1RA’s Attila Tassi in second place, who had an unfortunate off-track excursion on the penultimate lap, enabling Oriola to slip through and take the Honda driver’s spot for a brief period of time – potentially spoiling the race for the Hungarian M1RA outfit, who were looking forward to a 1-2 finish.
“When I was up to third, I was trying to catch the Honda cars but it was really tough to follow them. Then I waited for a mistake and it arrived, but then Attila and I then had a little touch.”
That little touch caused Oriola and his SEAT León to fall back into third place on the final lap, without any chance of retaliation. The Spaniard subsequently finished in third place, while the two M1RA team-mates in front still got to enjoy a 1-2 finish, that he could have so narrowly denied the Hungarian team.
“I think SEAT has to work on the rear fenders of the car; it was only a little contact but this doesn’t have to happen.”
“It was impossible to stop Attila, in the last 250 metres of the straights the top speed of the Hondas is amazing.”