TCR Spain’s promoter has launched a two-round pre-season series that kicked off at Jerez de la Frontera. 2023 TCR South America champion Ignacio Montenegro scored a double win, successfully beginning his European campaign with the ALM Motorsport Honda Civic FL5. His new teammate Álvaro García, driving a Civic FK7, and Eric Gené in the Monlau Motorsport CUPRA Leon Competición shared the other podium places.
Race 1 – Gené sat on pole after having been one-tenth faster than Montenegro in Qualifying, and the pair held the positions at the start. During the first lap, the two leaders made contact and before the end of the lap Montenegro moved into the lead. Behind them, Marco Aguilera overtook Miguel Ángel Romero for P3.
The safety car was deployed in lap 6, when José Antonio Chico’s Hyundai i30 N stopped on the track and the race resumed two laps later. While Montenegro and Gené pulled away, there was a thrilling battle for the third position between Aguilera, Romero, Santiago Castilla and García who had recovered after starting from P9. García passed Castilla in lap 8, then Romero in lap 9 and began chasing Aguilera. They swapped positions a couple of times, until García took third for good in lap 11.
Montenegro crossed the finishing line 1.4 seconds ahead of Gené, with García completing the podium.
Race 2 – The Peugeot Racing Cup of Moto3WC race winner Ana Carrasco was on pole of the top-eight reversed grid alongside Mariano Alonso’s CUPRA DSG. The race started under pouring rain, with the Castilla’s CUPRA DSG leading into T1; however, Castilla was soon passed by Montenegro, Aguilera and Gené. Further behind, García overtook Romero for P6. In lap 2, while trying to keep Gené at bay, Aguilera skidded off onto the gravel at T6; he rejoined four laps down. García moved up to third as he passed Castilla and began to close the gap to Gené. In lap 4, Gené made a mistake and García seized the opportunity to pass him. Romero and Castilla delivered a good fight for P4, until the beginning of lap 6, when Romero lost control while entering T1; his Audi spun and hit the back of Castilla’s CUPRA. Castilla rejoined, while Romero got stranded in the gravel.
García seemed capable of catching Montenegro and reduced the gap to 2.8 seconds, but the Argentine youngster was able to respond and went to take his second win of the weekend, while Gené finished a distant third.
The second and final event of TCR Spain’s pre-season series will be next weekend at Valencia.
Jerez de la Frontera – Race 1
Jerez de la Frontera – Race 2
Picture: TCR Spain