Franco Girolami and Aurélien Comte share TCR Europe wins

Franco Girolami and Aurélien Comte share TCR Europe wins

21 April 2024

The new CUPRA Leon VZ cars finished twice 1-2 in TCR Europe’s season opener at Vallelunga, where former European champions Franco Girolami of Monlau Motorsport and Aurélien Comte of SP Compétition took one race win apiece. Both podiums were completed by Honda Civic cars, with Ignacio Montenegro (ALM Motorsport) and Felipe Fernández (GOAT Racing).
Girolami has so taken an early lead in the standings, five points over Comte, with Montenegro third, 27 points behind.

Race 1 - Girolami had won the pole beating Montenegro, Comte and Nicola Baldan, with them all covered by two tenths. At the start, Girolami got away well, while Montenegro bogged down from P2 and dropped behind Comte and Baldan. Dušan Borković also didn’t get away well, stalling from tenth and dropping to the back. The drama was all behind the top four in the first few laps, with Rubén Fernández leading an aggressive group of cars. He was threatened by Viktor Davidovski until lap 5, when the Macedonian fell behind the chasing pair of Levente Losonczy and Ruben Volt. Losonczy then ran wide at the final corner while he was under pressure from his own teammate and fell back to eventually finish in tenth. Volt then closed on Fernández and lunged down the inside at T7 on lap 8 but they made contact, with Fernández dropping down. Volt was given a five-second penalty for the incident, but he was able to pull enough of a gap on the next car of Felipe Fernández to nullify the penalty.

Up front, Baldan abused the track limits too many times and was also served with a five-second penalty, falling behind Montenegro at the finish. Girolami went on to claim the win by 1.5 seconds ahead of Comte, with Montenegro third.

Race 2 – Borković started from the pole but had a slow getaway at the start and dropped to fourth, with his teammate Felipe Fernández assuming the lead from second on the grid. Losonczy made a good launch and was up to second while Comte was already up to third from eighth on the grid. Comte then passed Losonczy at T10 and started to close on the leader Fernández. Girolami was also making fast progress and was up to fifth by the end of the first lap. Comte took the lead from Fernández at T7 on lap 3, while Losonczy and Borković made contact on the way into T13, which gave Girolami an easy pass up to third. Borković fell to the back of the pack and was left to struggle with a damaged car to the finish.

On lap 4, another contact involved Rubén Fernández and Volt, with Fernández clipping Volt’s wheel as he tried to pass for ninth at T4; both cars retired and caused the only safety car period of the race. When the race restarted, there was a thrilling battle between Viktor Andersson and Nicola Baldan for the fourth position; Baldan briefly allowed Montenegro through but was able to retake the fifth spot at the next corner. Towards the end of the race, Davidovski t-boned Losonczy at T13 and they both ran wide, allowing Giovanni Scamardi ahead of them.

With five laps to go, Girolami overtook Felipe Fernández at T13 to take second, but he wasn’t able to close down on Comte who claimed the win.

The next event of TCR Europe will be on 17/19 May at Zolder.


Vallelunga – Race 1

  1. Franco Girolami (Monlau Motorsport, CUPRA Leon VZ), 15 laps
  2. Aurélien Comte (SP Compétition, CUPRA Leon VZ), 1.489
  3. Ignacio Montenegro (ALM Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R FL5), 7.942


Vallelunga – Race 2

  1. Aurélien Comte (SP Compétition, CUPRA Leon VZ), 17 laps
  2. Franco Girolami (Monlau Motorsport, CUPRA Leon VZ), 1.627
  3. Felipe Fernández (GOAT Racing, Honda Civic Type R FL5), 3.966


Championship points

  1. F. Girolami, 85 pts; 2. A. Comte, 80; 3. I. Montenegro, 58


Picture: TCR Europe

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