Argentina’s Franco Girolami, driving a PSS Racing Honda Civic Type-R, became the sixth different winner from the first six TCR Europe races of 2021 when he won Race 2 at Zandvoort. Niels Langeveld finished second in a Sébastien Loeb Racing Hyundai Elantra N while the Brutal Fish Racing Honda of Spain’s Isidro Callejas was third – both Langeveld and Callejas recorded their first podium finishes in TCR Europe.
Langeveld started from second on the grid alongside his teammate, pole-sitter Sami Taoufik, but a stronger start from the Dutch driver saw the pair going into Turn 1 side by side. By the time they reached Turn 2, Langeveld had edged ahead while Girolami was up to third after passing the Peugeot of Jimmy Clairet. When Taoufik ran wide and dropped several places, Girolami moved up into second place. The Honda of Jack Young, meanwhile, had made contact with Nicolas Baert’s Audi while the British driver was attempting to pass, but the Stewards decided to take no further action.
On Lap 2, Race 1 winner Tom Coronel suddenly slowed coming out of Turn 3 and was hit by the Audi RS 3 LMS of Klim Gavrilov, who in turn was hit by the Hyundai Elantra of Felice Jelimini. The collision ripped the right rear wheel off the Hyundai and the safety car would be called into action while the car was recovered, but not before Girolami had passed Langeveld for the lead. Just over three laps were completed behind the safety car before racing resumed at the start of Lap 6, with two laps being added to the race distance. Coronel headed for the pits for attention to his left rear wheel, but the Comtoyou Audi would be forced to retire.
When racing resumed, Jack Young tried a brave overtaking move around the outside of Taoufik but ended up running through the gravel after the pair made slight contact. The incident dropped Young outside the points-scoring positions and prompted the start of a fight back that would end at the very last corner of the race. Dušan Borkovič passed Taoufik for sixth place on Lap 6 and on the next lap Viktor Davidovski made contact with the rear of Taoufik’s Hyundai after the Moroccan driver made a slight mistake. On Lap 8, Isidro Callejas passed Jimmy Clairet for third place, while behind the pair Borkovič was now pressuring Mehdi Bennani for P5.
By Lap 10, Young had already recovered to P13 while at the beginning of Lap 11, Borkovič passed Bennani for fifth place going into Turn 1. Fifth place became fourth on the next lap when the Serbian driver passed Jimmy Clairet’s Peugeot while Young moved up another place on the same lap when he passed Teddy Clairet for twelfth position.
With Girolami, Langeveld and Callejas relatively spread out at the head of the field, attention was now focused on the lower end of the top ten. Young passed his team boss Martin Ryba for eleventh place on Lap 13, then Mat’o Homola for tenth at Turn 1 on the final lap and finally overtook Viktor Davidovski for ninth on the banking at the very last corner to complete an impressive recovery after his off-track excursion on Lap 6.
But the champagne was reserved for the podium finishers. The win meant a delighted Franco Girolami took the lead in the Drivers’ standings and was congratulated by his brother, WTCR driver Nestor, at the mini parc fermé, while Langeveld expressed disappointment that he couldn’t repeat Coronel’s victory in Race 1 to make it two Dutch race winners from the two Zandvoort rounds. Callejas was thrilled to have recorded his first podium finish and take maximum points in the battle for the various classes.
Race 2 result
1. Franco Girolami (PSS Racing Team, Honda Civic Type-R) 15 laps
2. Niels Langeveld (Sébastien Loeb Racing, Hyundai Elantra N) +1.979
3. Isidro Callejas (Brutal Fish Racing, Honda Civic Type-R) +7.128
4. Dušan Borkovič (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS) +8.069
5. Jimmy Clairet (Team Clairet Sport, Peugeot 308) +9.840
1.Girolami 154 pts; 2. Azcona 143 pts; 3. Coronel 132 pts; 4. J. Clairet 132 pts; 5. Bennani 126 pts
The TCR Europe series pauses for nearly six weeks before Rounds 7 & 8 at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on July 29th/30th.