The fourth round of the TCR International Series at Monza was eventful in terms of track incidents, with frustration vented a number of drivers and teams who feel driving standards are going from bad to worse, and that the stewards are not acting.
The sentiment has been shared by drivers and team managers, with WestCoast Racing’s team manager James Nixon threatening to quit the series.
“I would say that the problem for my cars and drivers, more than performance, was the driving standards,” said Craft-Bamboo Racing team principal Richard Coleman to TouringCarTimes. “People hit and drive outside the track limits, overtakes taking the escape route, and nothing happens.”
The most controversial incident of the weekend took place on the fourth lap of Race 2 on Sunday, when M1RA’s Roberto Colciago and Comtoyou Racing’s Frédéric Vervisch were fighting for sixth position. Both collided at the first chicane, cutting through the escape road and gaining an advantage, overtaking DG Sport Compétition’s Mat’o Homola. The pair didn’t give the position back, with Colciago and Vervisch finishing on the podium, whilst Homola finished in sixth.
The Slovakian lodged a protest with the stewards that ended up with Colciago given a five-place grid drop for next event at the Salzburgring, and not the redress in positions gained that both Homola and his team would have hoped for.
“I obviously expected them to allow me back through into my rightful position seeing they had taken an advantage from their manoeuvre, but they merely carried on their way as though nothing had happened,” said Homola.
“This time around I took the chequered flag in sixth position, but in full agreement with the team I lodged a complaint as I judged that this incident had cost me a possible bronze medal, or even better because I could also have taken advantage of the duel between the leaders in the final kilometres.”
Craft-Bamboo driver Pepe Oriola is also concerned about the drivers that, coming from a national or regional series, participate in a one-off event without putting much effort in respecting the rules. “On one side, they have more fresh tyres than us, and get ahead not only in free practices but also in the qually, making it difficult for us to see where is our real pace compared to the competition,” the Spaniard told TouringCarTimes.
“But, also, they don’t have the same respect than us. I’m here doing the full season and fighting for the championship. Yet, in Spa I was taken out by a driver who came for one event, ruined my chances and won’t care for a penalty, because he’s not racing again this year. It’s not fair for the rest of us,” added Oriola, referring to the first lap incident in Race 2 at Spa.