Sébastien Loeb Racing’s John Filippi claimed victory in the opening TCR Europe race of the weekend at Monza, having had to re-pass Nicola Baldan for the lead which he lost at the start.
Filippi had started from pole after comfortably posting the fastest lap in the earlier rain-affected qualifying session, but the Corsican racer made a poor getaway when the lights went out, allowing Baldan to pull alongside on the approach to the first corner.
Target Competition’s Baldan then took the lead, despite slight contact with Filippi, with the Italian able to extend a slight advantage in the opening laps of the race.
However, the Italian’s then-1.5-second lead was wiped out on lap four when Michelle Halder went off into the gravel on the exit of the first chicane, prompting a two-lap safety car intervention.
On lap seven racing resumed and Filippi was immediately pressuring Baldan for the lead, and at the final corner he got a better drive to pass the Hyundai on the run to the line.
Thereafter Filippi was untroubled, whilst Baldan appaeared to be struggling with his car, losing time on several laps at the fast Parabloica at the final corner of the lap.
Filippi brought his CUPRA home for a second career TCR Europe win, just over half a second clear of Janík Motorsport’s Jáchym Galáš, who had lost a place to Marco Butti at the start but re-gained it on lap three before passing Baldan for second three laps from the finish.
Mike Halder completed the podium, coming through from 14th on the grid in a strong race for the German. The Halder Motorsport racer had been up to seventh on the opening lap, before then picking off Franco Girolami before the safety car, followed by Butti, Josh Files and Baldan in the laps after the restart.
Baldan held on to take the chequered flag in fourth, just ahead of Target team-mate Files in fifth, who had been unable to take advantage of team strategy this time like he had in the previous round at the Nürburgring, when Felice Jelmini moved aside.
Elite Motorsport’s Butti was the leading Audi driver in sixth, ahead of Aggressive Team Italia’s Pepe Oriola in seventh.
Both Oriola and Girloami had out-braked themselves at various points when squabbling for the place, with Girolami losing out the most in the closing stages.
For the championship leader, after Oriola was through he then lost places to Volcano Motorsport’s Isidro Callejas (ninth) and Klim Gavrilov (tenth) before Jelmini and the recovering Halder Motorsport Honda of Jack Young got by in the final laps of the race.
Girolami ultimately finished in 12th, meaning the championship remains alive in the battle with Files.
Comtoyou Racing’s Tom Coronel was 13th, realistically maintaining only a mathematical championship chance with three races remaining.
As well as Michelle Halder, the other retirements in the race were Rubén Fernández and Levente Losonczy, who came together on the opening lap of the race.
Race two is scheduled to take place at 13:25 CEST (12:25 BST) on Sunday.
|1||27||John FILIPPI||Sébastien Loeb Racing – Bardahl Team||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||12||29:31.979||2:13.785||1|
|2||24||Jáchym GALÁŠ||Hyundai Janík Motorsport||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||12||0.637||2:13.411||3|
|3||7||Mike HALDER||Halder Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||12||1.722||2:13.719||14|
|4||8||Nicola BALDAN||Target Competition||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||12||2.860||2:14.299||2|
|5||99||Josh FILES||Target Motorsport||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||12||3.585||2:14.270||11|
|6||111||Marco BUTTI||Élite Motorsport by Comtoyou||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||12||4.615||2:13.684||5|
|7||74||Pepe ORIOLA||Aggressive Team Italia Asd||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||12||6.150||2:13.697||12|
|8||26||Isidro CALLEJAS||Volcano Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||12||6.552||2:14.012||13|
|9||14||Klim GAVRILOV||Volcano Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||12||7.794||2:13.744||10|
|10||44||Felice JELMINI||Target Competition||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||12||8.990||2:13.517||15|
|11||62||Jack YOUNG||Halder Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||12||9.474||2:11.773||25|
|12||72||Franco GIROLAMI||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||12||13.754||2:15.064||7|
|13||33||Tom CORONEL||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||12||18.336||2:15.540||17|
|14||19||Felipe FERNÁNDEZ Gil||Auto Club RC2 Valles||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||12||19.587||2:15.576||8|
|15||3||Giacomo GHERMANDI||Lema Racing||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||12||20.417||2:14.352||19|
|16||110||Viktor DAVIDOVSKI||Comtoyou Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||12||20.547||2:15.066||18|
|17||9||Matteo POLONI||Matteo Poloni||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||12||22.710||2:14.395||23|
|18||16||Evgenii LEONOV||Volcano Motorsport||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||12||27.098||2:15.473||22|
|19||11||Paolo ROCCA||Paolo Rocca||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||12||30.164||2:15.441||24|
|20||73||Václav JANÍK||Hyundai Janík Motorsport||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||12||32.267||2:17.122||20|
|21||144||Michele IMBERTI||Michele Imberti||Hyundai i30 N TCR||11||+ 1 LAP||2:16.847||6|
|R||37||Sergio LÓPEZ||Auto Club RC2 Valles||CUPRA Leon Competición TCR||9||DNF||2:16.072||9|
|R||53||Michelle HALDER||Halder Motorsport||Honda Civic Type-R FK7 TCR||2||DNF||2:17.760||4|
|R||12||Rubén FERNÁNDEZ Gil||Auto Club RC2 Valles||Audi RS3 LMS TCR II||2||DNF||2:28.721||16|
|R||64||Levente LOSONCZY||Aggressive Team Italia Asd||Hyundai Elantra N TCR||2||DNF||2:30.953||21|