Franco Girolami enjoys battle with Montenegro, rues Race 2 error in Salzburg

Franco Girolami enjoys battle with Montenegro, rues Race 2 error in Salzburg

Franco Girolami converted pole to victory in Race 1 of the TCR Europe series at the Salzburgring, but it wasn’t plane sailing as he was involved in a tough battle with rival Argentinian driver Ignacio Montenegro for the win.


While scything through the field in Race 2, he made an error at the challenging Turn 1 chicane while battling with title rival Aurélien Comte, and slid into the barriers, falling back to last place, rescuing only a handful of points and losing the lead in the drivers’ championship at the halfway point of the season.


“I want to congratulate Monlau Motorsport and for CUPRA for giving me this amazing car, and also to (Ignacio) Montenegro for an amazing race,” said Girolami after Race 1. “I had very good pace but I made a mistake which gave Montenegro the chance to overtake me. We were side-by-side for many corners which was very fun. We gave each other respect, but I took a risk at T4 and I went around the outside and won back the position.”


With rain falling throughout Saturday, the circuit was still wet but starting to dry by Race 1 on Sunday morning, and Girolami led the majority of the field which made the call to start on the KUMHO wet tyre.


“If we were starting P10, we might have tried something else, but with starting P1 and we could see everyone else around us was also starting on wet tyres, that was the right decision,” he said.


In Race 2, his valiant charge through the field in the new CUPRA Leon VZ TCR came to an end on lap 12 after having worked his way up from tenth to fifth, trying to find his way past CUPRA rival Comte.


The dive down the inside saw Comte take avoiding action to miss the chicane, while Girolami slid wide at the exit and into the barriers, recovering to the circuit behind the pack which had been closed up by the red flag only two laps earlier.


“It’s frustrating for me as we had the pace to fight for victory again in Race 2,” said Girolami. “We were P5, and I made a very clear overtake but when I touched the kerb I lost the car completely, but it was my mistake. We’ll now focus on the next race and try to have the same pace as we had this weekend.”


With 59 points scored over the weekend, compared to 60 for Comte and 70 for the highest scorer of the weekend Ruben Volt, Girolami is set to drop 10kg of compensation weight at the next round.


“We’re still in the fight for the championship and we’ll have less kilos at Spa, so we’ll try to use our pace again that weekend.”

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