Pepe Oriola was highly critical of rival Franco Girolami after he had to settle for second in Sunday’s TCR Europe race at the Autodromo do Algarve, in which the duo made contact whilst battling for the lead.
Brutal Fish Racing’s Oriola started the reverse-grid race from pole position, and the Spaniard led the first six laps, including during a two-lap safety car phase.
But on lap seven, Comtoyou Racing’s Girolami made a move for the lead in the first half of the lap, running side-by-side with Oriola for several corners.
Whilst there was some contact between the pair, Girolami eventually prevailed in the lead and the Argentine went on to hold that lead for the remainder of the race to claim the win – his first in Audi machinery.
“I actually feel a little bit upset because I think I did a good opening lap even if I had a small contact with John [Filippi], but that is touring car racing,” said Oriola.
“Then I managed to open up a gap but the safety car came out.
“We know the power of the Audi on the straights is better than us, although we are stronger in other areas.
“I think I was really fair in the fight with Franco, giving him space and not pushing him out of the track but on the straights he was pushing me to try to move me and unsettle the car.
“I think his driving standards aren’t quite right for this championship; we saw last year that he and Mikel Azcona made contact on the straights several times.
“Okay, touring cars are all about big fights and some contacts, but you don’t have to go into another competitor on the straights.
“I have asked to have a review of the driving standards of everyone. If someone keeps touching other people on the straights at 200kmh, someone is going to get hurt.”
Girolami said that he did not want to race unfairly with Oriola and asked to see the onboard camera footage from their battle.
“I know Pepe is not happy with me, but I would like to see the camera with him,” explained Girolami.
“We had some contact in the beginning, I think he hit my car and then in the second contact I hit his car which I want to apologise for.
“We are friends and I don’t want to race with him in an unfair way.”