Volt and Montenegro win at Spa and make the title fight closer

Volt and Montenegro win at Spa and make the title fight closer

06 July 2024

ALM Motorsport teammates Ruben Volt and Ignacio Montenegro took one victory apiece in TCR Europe at Spa-Francorchamps. The Estonian driver won Saturday’s race, claiming his second consecutive win after Salzburgring’s Race 2, while the Argentine emerged victorious in an eventful Sunday’s race, taking his maiden win in the European series. These results made the title fight even closer as Montenegro and Volt have closed in on the leaders Franco Girolami and Aurélien Comte. The pair had arrived in Belgium with Comte edging Girolami by one point, while now they are equal on 259 points, with Girolami ahead by two victories to one. Montenegro and Volt are close behind with gaps of 26 and 30 points respectively.

Race 1 – Pole-sitter Felipe Fernández had a slow start but got a good exit at La Source to go side-by-side with Volt up through the Raidillon, slotting ahead. However the Spaniard lost speed on the Kemmel straight, and Volt overtook him into Les Combes. The same happened behind, with Girolami making the move up to third ahead of Comte. On lap 2, Viktor Andersson and Rubén Fernández made contact at the exit of Eau Rouge with Fernández spinning off into the barriers; the race was held behind the safety car for one lap as his car was recovered.

At the restart, Volt got away well, while Felipe Fernández was passed by Girolami at La Source and fell to third. The series’ debutant Eric Gené was making good progress in his repaired CUPRA after a qualifying crash and followed in the wake of Nicola Baldan who had started last. Gené’s race came undone when he made a mistake at Les Combes on the penultimate lap and dropped back. Volt went on to win by 1.5 seconds over Girolami, with Fernández completing the podium; Comte finished fourth ahead of Montenegro and Baldan.

Race 2 – Giovanni Scamardi was on pole but stalled at the start, allowing Levente Losonczy into the lead. Andersson tried to grab second at La Source but fell behind Montenegro at the exit. On the first lap, Rubén Fernández brushed the barriers at the exit of Raidillon and fell to the back. At the start of lap 2, Montenegro dived down the inside of Losonczy and took the lead, while Girolami and Comte were up to fourth and fifth. Losonczy was under pressure from Andersson, they made light contact in the chicane, with Andersson taking second place. Comte put a move on Girolami and took fourth place, while Volt was closing on them. At the start of lap 4, Baldan and Felipe Fernández rubbed wheels at La Source, with the Italian getting ahead of the Spaniard. Baldan then passed Santiago Concepción for eighth. Volt made a lunge on Girolami for fifth at the last corner, but this cost him momentum and allowed Gené up ahead and then lost another place to Baldan before Eau Rouge.

The safety car was then called for debris bunching up the pack; at the restart, Gené dropped back which kept Girolami safe from attacks from Baldan and Volt; for this manoeuvre Gené was later handed a seven-place grid penalty for the next race. Ahead, Comte made a dive at Losonczy for P3 at La Source, with both Comte and Girolami moving ahead. The two went side-by-side up through Raidillon and both ran wide, allowing Losonczy back through. Girolami then got back ahead of Comte at Les Combes while Gené spun out behind them, and Baldan made his way past Comte up to fifth. Baldan then passed Girolami at Les Combes to move up to fourth, before Felipe Fernández passed both Girolami and Comte. There was more drama to come as the rain started to fall on the final lap. The changing conditions caught out Girolami who made a mistake and ran wide, falling behind both Comte and Volt who were promoted to sixth and seventh. Further behind, Gené crashed out. There was no pressure for Montenegro, who secured his first win of the season from Andersson and Losonczy, with Baldan and Felipe Fernández in fourth and fifth.

TCR Europe will resume at Brno, on 6/8 September.


Spa-Francorchamps – Race 1

  1. Ruben Volt (ALM Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R FL5), 9 laps
  2. Franco Girolami (Monlau Motorsport, CUPRA Leon VZ), 1.439
  3. Felipe Fernández (GOAT Racing, Honda Civic Type R FL5), 1.954


Spa-Francorchamps – Race 2

  1. Ignacio Montenegro (ALM Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R FL5), 9 laps
  2. Viktor Andersson (MA:GP, Lynk & Co 03), 4.107
  3. Levente Losonczy (ALM Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R FL5), 5.743


Championship points

  1. F. Girolami, 259 pts; 2. A. Comte, 259; 3. I. Montenegro, 233


Picture: TCR Europe/Ollivision

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