Photo: ACI Sport

Nicola Baldan and Eric Scalvini gear up for Monza title showdown

The iconic Autodromo di Monza will play host to the TCR Italy season finale this weekend, as Pit Lane Competizioni’s Nicola Baldan and MM Motorsport’s Eric Scalvini go head to head for the title after an intense season.

The SEAT driver leads the championship by 28 points, although only the best 12 results achieved by each driver will count towards the final classification. As things stand before the final race of the year Baldan will lose a total of 10 points compared to seven lost by his Honda rival.

The SEAT driver could actually clinch the title as early as the first race, as finishing ahead of Scalvini in the first heat would be enough to take the ultimate glory. The Honda driver will have to make full use of the strengths of his Civic TCR, as fast layouts such as Monza should play in favour of the Japanese car. Despite this, Baldan took both wins when the championship last visited Monza back in June. The SEAT driver will also be laden with a 20-kg success ballast due to the results achieved last time out at Vallelunga.

“It’s nice to get to the finale with a bit of a margin over Scalvini,” said Baldan. “I’m still not taking anything for granted because this is a hard-fought championship and everything can change very quickly. My advantage will obviously allow me to be a bit more cautious and try to manage the points.”

“I am very determined ahead of this weekend,” said title rival Scalvini. “I’m preparing to the best so that everything that is under my control will be done in the best possible way. There’s still a bit of a chance to win the title, so I will try everything to make full use of it.”

The season finale will also be spectacular due to a number of one-off entries, which include touring car veteran Jordi Gené for SEAT Motorsport, two-time International Series champion Stefano Comini in the Top Run Subaru WRX STI and Giacomo Altoè’s latest brand switch to Audi with Target Competition. The two Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCRs prepared by V-Action will also be back in the hands of former Superstars Series driver Luigi Ferrara and teenager Tommaso Mosca.

The weekend will start on Saturday with a single 45-minute session. Qualifying will start at 12:15, as usual with two sessions determining the grid for each of Sunday’s races. Race 1 is scheduled for 11:00 local time, lasting as usual 25 minutes + 1 lap. The final race of the year will start at 17:45. Both races are scheduled to be streamed live on ACI Sport’s website.