Franco Girolami fights to race two victory in Portugal

Comtoyou Racing’s Franco Girolami fought past Brutal Fish Racing’s Pepe Oriola to earn victory in the second, reverse-grid TCR Europe race at the Autodromo do Algarve.

Oriola started the race from pole position, which saw the top ten qualifiers from Saturday’s Q2 session, reversed.

At the start the Spaniard led the race, as Girolami fought past the Sébastien Loeb Racing CUPRA of John Filippi, who had started on the front row, through the opening turns.

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Further back, Volcano Motorsport’s Evgenii Leonov was knocked off the track and through the gravel, with the Russian pitting at the end of the lap to end his race early.

On lap two, Gustavo Moura Jr in one of the other volcano CUPRAs hit Giacomo Ghermandi at the hairpin whilst battling for 16th, spinning Ghermandi and resulting in front-end damage for Moura.

A two-lap safety car period was then required on laps five and six to recover Moura’s car, after the Portuguese racer stopped on track after picking up damage to his car.

When the race resumed on lap six both Oriola and Girolami made a strong restart, and on the following lap the Argentine made a move for the lead, running side-by-side with Oriola for half a lap before completing the move for the lead at the hairpin.

Girolami was then able to ease away from Oriola and eventually won the third TCR Europe race of his career by just under two seconds.

Oriola brought his Honda home in second, whilst the podium was completed by Girolami’s team-mate Tom Coronel, who had passed Filippi for third on lap eight through the first three corners of the lap.

Filippi was the best CUPRA driver in fourth, despite late-race pressure applied to Coronel ahead and also from the Target Motorsport Hyundai Elantra of Josh Files behind, the 2019 champion eventually taking the finish in fifth.

Volcano Motorsport’s Klim Gavrilov took sixth, having fought with team-mate Isidro Callejas and Janík Motorsport’s Jáchym Galáš in the race, prevailing despite contact with his team-mate on lap ten.

Indeed, Callejas and Halder Motorsport’s Jack Young both lost out in the incident at Turn 1, as Callejas made contact with team-mate Gavrilov ahead and also with Young behind, sending Callejas and young wide and allowing Galáš to steal seventh.

Callejas took the chequered flag in eighth, with race one winner Young in ninth and the top ten being completed by Mike Halder.

Mat’o Homola was the only finisher not to finish on the lead lap, having had to pit after contact early in the race.

The next TCR Europe race takes place at Circuit Paul Ricard in France on 21 – 22 May.

Race results

POS NO CL NAT DRIVER ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME GAP GD
1 72 Franco GIROLAMI Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021 14 14 LAPS 1:53.341 5
2 74 Pepe ORIOLA Brutal Fish Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 14 1.866 1:53.491 1
3 33 Tom CORONEL Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021 14 6.447 1:54.392 4
4 27 John FILIPPI Sébastien Loeb Racing CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 14 6.617 1:54.394 2
5 99 Josh FILES Target Motorsport Hyundai Elantra N TCR 14 7.155 1:53.294 3
6 14 Klim GAVRILOV Volcano Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 14 7.908 1:54.033 6
7 24 Jáchym GALÁŠ Janík Motorsport Hyundai Elantra N TCR 14 8.837 1:54.364 12
8 26 Isidro CALLEJAS Volcano Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 14 10.304 1:54.364 7
9 62 Jack YOUNG Halder Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 14 10.993 1:54.114 9
10 7 Mike HALDER Halder Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 14 11.576 1:54.484 10
11 110 Viktor DAVIDOVSKI Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021 14 12.913 1:54.697 16
12 44 Felice JELMINI Target Competition Hyundai Elantra N TCR 14 16.333 1:55.084 13
13 17 Martin RYBA Brutal Fish Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 14 17.927 1:55.083 18
14 2 Luís CIDADE Élite Motorsport by Comtoyou Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021 14 19.639 1:54.955 14
15 53 Michelle HALDER Halder Motorsport Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR 14 20.164 1:55.106 15
16 8 Nicola BALDAN Target Competition Hyundai Elantra N TCR 14 20.500 1:54.746 8
17 3 Giacomo GHERMANDI Lema Racing CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 14 1:27.467 2:00.318 20
18 70 Mat’o HOMOLA Janík Motorsport Hyundai Elantra N TCR 13 + 1 LAP 1:54.386 11
19 124 Gustavo MOURA JR Volcano Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 1 DNF N/A 19
20 16 Evgenii LEONOV Volcano Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición TCR 0 DNF N/A 17
21 18 Miklas BORN Élite Motorsport by Comtoyou Audi RS3 LMS TCR 2021 DNS N/A
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