Jáchym Galáš, driving a HYUNDAI | Janík Motorsport Hyundai Elantra N, scored his first ever TCR Europe race victory in Race 2 at Spa-Francorchamps in a dominant team performance that saw his teammate Mat’o Homola finish second ahead of the Comtoyou Racing Audi RS 3 LMS TCR of Tom Coronel. The result means Galáš is the sixth race winner from the six TCR Europe races so far this year.
Galáš made a good start from pole position and led from Homola into Turn 1 with Coronel having dropped a place after starting from second on the grid. Jack Young moved across to prevent Josh Files from repeating his Race 1 move up the inside, but Files would emerge from the encounter in fourth place. Halfway through the opening lap, however, Files’ Target Competition Hyundai Elantra N was passed by a charging Franco Girolami, who’d started from tenth on the grid. That was the start of a battle between the pair that lasted until the very last moment of the race. Later in the lap, the Élite Motorsport by Comtoyou Audi of Marco Butti ran wide through the gravel but continued.
On Lap 2, Young briefly attacked Files for P4, but the Halder Motorsport Honda quickly became the target for Race 1 winner Isidro Callejas in a Volcano Motorsport CUPRA and the pair would be locked in a thrilling fight for sixth place for the remainder of the race. Martin Ryba then went off-track and the Brutal Fish Racing driver would eventually retire from the race.
Lap 4 then saw a battle develop between Klim Gavrilov in a Volcano Motorsport CUPRA and the Target Competition Hyundai Elantra of Felice Jelmini, with Gavrilov passing Jelmini for P8 at Les Combes. Gavrilov’s teammate Evgenii Leonov was also attacking Pepe Oriola for P10 and there was a slight contact between the pair going through La Source at the start of Lap 5 although Oriola kept the position. Felipe Fernández then ran very wide at Turn 17 and ran through the gravel, losing a position to Giacomo Ghermandi.
Despite the battles raging inside the top ten, the remainder of the eight-lap race was reltively uneventful. Callejas made repeated attempts to pass Young going through Les Combes, but Young successfully defended the position each time. Files was steadily catching Girolami but going into the final lap the Audi was still ahead of the Hyundai.
At the start of the last lap, there was last-minute drama when Giacomo Ghermandi attempted a move up the inside of Viktor Davidovski going into the La Source hairpin. The pair made contact and while Ghermandi’s CUPRA was able to limp to the finish, Davidovski’s Audi was more badly damaged, however, and so the Macedonian driver’s race was over.
At the head of the field, Jáchym Galáš and Mat’o Homola sprinted for the chequered flag to record a 1-2 finish for the HYUNDAI | Janík Motorsport team with Tom Coronel completing the podium places in the Comtoyou Racing Audi. Behind them, Josh Files made a last-gasp attempt to pass Franco Girolami in the dash for the finish line, but Girolami held on to finish in fourth place by exactly one-tenth of a second. Similarly, Jack Young managed to overcome the repeated attacks by Isidro Callejas to finish sixth. Marco Butti once again took the points in the Rookie Trophy after finishing 18th overall, while Evgenii Leonov made it two maximum scores from the two races at Spa in the Diamond Trophy, with Rubén Fernández second and Giacomo Ghermandi third.
In the Drivers’ championship standings, the weekend’s results mean Girolami now has a thirty-one point advantage over Coronel with Gavrilov in third place, a further twenty-one points behind.
Race 2 result
1. Jáchym Galáš (HYUNDAI | Janík Motorsport, Hyundai Elantra N) 8 laps
2. Mat’o Homola (HYUNDAI | Janík Motorsport, Hyundai Elantra N) +1.918
3. Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS TCR) +2.452
4. Franco Girolami (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS TCR) +3.893
5. Josh Files (Target Competition, Hyundai Elantra N) +3.973
6. Jack Young (Halder Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R) +5.679
1.Girolami 205 pts; 2. Coronel 174pts; 3. Gavrilov 153pts; 4. Callejas 145pts; 5. Files 133pts.
There’s now the season’s shortest break between rounds before the next TCR Europe event at the Norisring in Germany in just two weeks’ time, over the weekend of July 1st-3rd