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Pepe Oriola happy after holding off Sami Taoufik for second

Brutal Fish Racing’s Pepe Oriola believed the pace of his rival Sami Taoufik was ‘crazy’ and it was ‘impossible’ to keep up with race winner Mike Halder in the opening TCR Europe race in Barcelona.

Oriola and Taoufik had a battle late on in the opening race of the weekend and even made contact at the first corner on the penultimate lap, but Oriola, at his home race, managed to hold off the Audi driver despite the Moroccan’s best efforts to overtake.

“Of course I wanted to win but finishing second is really good,” said the Honda Civic Type R driver.

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“I tried to follow Mike at the start, but it was impossible; he had new tyres and I was on tyres that were slightly used.

“I also had a really good battle with Sami at the end. The speed of the Audi is crazy, and I was also carrying the weight from Monza so the difference between the cars was massive, but I’m happy.”

The Spaniard’s result has helped him continue with a late-season push for the championship, and the result may prove vital as both teammate Dan Lloyd and ComtoYou Racing’s Nicolas Baert both struggled in race one.

“I keep scoring points in the championship so that keeps my hopes of the title alive,” he added.

“In Monza I was P3 when I was hit. Without that, this would have been the third successive podium for me, so that hurts a little bit.

“But we are into the second half of the season and nothing is lost. Unfortunately, Daniel didn’t score today but, being selfish, it’s better for me because we all get a little bit closer and the Championship fight is more open.”

Oriola is now eighth in the championship standings, 47 points behind series leader Lloyd.

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