Mikel Azcona admits that even if he does not lift the TCR Europe series title next month in Barcelona it would still be a ‘perfect’ result for him, after the Spaniard moved to the top of the points with another consistent display.
Azcona leaves Monza with a 19-point advantage at the top of the table over Jean-Karl Vernay, marking the biggest lead he has had leaving an event this year.
The Spaniard showed strong pace in his CUPRA to take second in Saturday’s first race, behind the dominant Audi of Vernay, and followed it up with a drive to fifth in Sunday’s second race.
“I feel fantastic because we came to Monza in second position in the championship and now we go to Barcelona leading the championship with a gap of 19 points,” said Azcona to TouringCars.Net.
“It’s fantastic because this weekend was perfect for us. It’s been the best track for the CUPRA. I’m just very happy because we are leading this hard championship which has a lot of brands. I’m very happy with my team this year.”
Azcona’s weekend was not without incident, however. In the second race he made contact with the Peugeot of Francisco Abreu late in the race, demoting the Portuguese racer, although Azcona was not penalised.
“I was very fast in race two and when I saw a little gap I tried to overtake the Peugeot to get behind the Honda. But [Abreu] went to the inside when I was on the inside. Yes, we touched a little.
“My pace was very, very fast. I could have done better in the second race, but fifth position is fantastic.”
Azcona is expecting to be strong at the next event on home soil in Spain, but admits that even if he cannot seal the championship he would accept second.
“I’m expecting to be very strong at Barcelona because it’s my home track. We have been racing and testing there for many, many years. I love the circuit, and my team is also from Barcelona, so we have a lot of things in our favour. We will see, but we are going to try to win the championship.
“To be second is also fantastic. We have been on the podium in all the meetings and close to first position at all the meetings. If I win it’s better, but if I’m second it’s the same, because we are always [around] the first position at the meetings, so either first or second would be perfect for us in our first year in this championship.”
Azcona was also involved in a post-race incident with title rival Dušan Borković in the paddock after the race, which saw a member of the team injured by the Serbian racer, allegedly after he was provoked by a member of the PCR Sport team.
No action was taken against Azcona or his team for the incident, whilst Borković was excluded from the event for swinging and connecting a punch.