Franco Girolami holds off Ignacio Montenegro to score epic Race 1 win at the Salzburgring

Franco Girolami holds off Ignacio Montenegro to score epic Race 1 win at the Salzburgring

Franco Girolami took his eighth career win in the TCR Europe series at a wet Salzburgring, but had to fight his countryman Ignacio Montenegro for the win, who briefly was able to take the lead with five laps to go.


After a day of rain, the circuit was still wet and very slowly drying, with the bulk of the field opting to start the race on wet tyres, with only the two drivers at the back, Nicola Baldan and Sandro Soubek opting to risk full slicks, and with the tenth-placed CUPRA of Giovanni Scamardi opting for a mixed slick and wet combination.


Girolami got away well at the start in his Monlau CUPRA ahead of Montenegro’s ALM Motorsport Honda, while his team-mate Volt had a rocket of a start from the fifth row and was up to third by the first corner.


Behind, Viktor Andersson had a sluggish start and was pipped into a slide at the exit of Turn 1 after a touch with Santiago Concepción’s GOAT Racing Honda and fell to the back of the pack.


The slick gamblers were struggling at the back and fell away from the field. On lap three, Soubek demonstrated the lack of adhesion as he slid off into the barriers, causing the deployment of the safety car.


Andersson opted to pit and gamble on slicks for the restart, with the race resuming on lap seven.


Aurélien Comte made a move past Felipe Fernández’s Honda after the exit of Turn 5, drafting his way up the back straight to take fourth place on lap nine.


The race erupted on lap ten as Girolami also went deep into Turn 5 allowing Montenegro a run at him up the back straight. Montenegro took the lead into Turn 9, but Girolami came back at him at the chicane, briefly moving back ahead before going too deep and touching the gravel.


Girolami rejoined behind Montenegro, who led across the line, but was able to re-pass for the lead around the outside of Turn 5, while Montenegro was now nursing a damaged splitter from the battle.


Girolami held on to win, while Comte made an attempt to snatch the podium from Volt on the final lap around the outside of Turn 9 but to no success.


The victory puts Girolami 20 points clear of Comte going into this afternoon’s second race, with Montenegro now moving past Baldan for third in the standings, 54 points behind Girolami.


The second race gets underway at 13:30 CEST with Giovanni Scamardi starting on pole position from the reversed grid, with Montenegro and Girolami set to do battle again from Row 5. Live streaming will be on the TCR TV YouTube channel here

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