Engine issues, a puncture and accident damage blighted Mat’o Homola’s weekend in the TCR International Series in China, with the DG Sport Compétition driver having to park his car in both races in Zhejiang.
Homola suffered from engine issues on Saturday, meaning the Slovak driver missed qualifying and had to start from the back of the grid in both of Sunday’s races.
An overnight engine change brought a brief glimmer of improved fortunes, before a puncture in race one, whilst Homola was running in 14th position, brought his racing to an early end on lap ten.
Race two proved to be even shorter for the 23-year-old, who retired after just three laps when damage from contact with Comtoyou Racing’s Stefano Comini damaged his intercooler and presented too much of a risk for the new engine in his Opel Astra.
“The engine finally worked well and I felt very good in the car,” said Homola of the first race. “Then suddenly I got a flat tyre and all hopes for any good points vanished.
“To be honest, I have no idea whether I cut the tyre, or it was a setup issue, but at the end of the day I’m sad that I did not finish the race again.
“I had an amazing start in race two and I was very motivated. I believed I could get championship points. In this case, there was a battle in front of me, Stefano braked earlier and I couldn’t break so quickly and so I touched him a bit.
“That contact was enough to put a hole in the intercooler. The temperature climbed gradually to 125 degrees Celsius, which could have damaged the brand-new engine so I stopped in the pits.”
Homola will thus head to the season finale in Dubai, where he previously competed in TCR Middle East earlier this year, in six weeks’ time hoping for a change in fortunes.
The Slovak will be looking to defend his top ten placing in the overall drivers’ championship standings, where he is just four points ahead of Frédéric Vervisch.
“Having previously raced in Dubai in TCR Middle East, I’m looking forward to this track. I remember being fast there and I liked the character of it, so I can’t wait.”