Marco Pellegrini wins rain-hit race at Monza
Target Competition’s Marco Pellegrini, driving a Hyundai i30 N TCR, claimed victory in the first race of the TCR Italy championship season finale at Monza, with the weather being a major factor in the action.
Rain had stopped falling over Monza before the race, with some drivers – including Scuderia del Girasole’s Salvatore Tavano and Matteo Greco, as well as Pit Lane Competizioni’s Enrico Bettera – changing to slicks on the grid.
At the start, series newcomer Felice Jelmini in a Hyundai i30 N TCR, was slow away – with BF Motorsport’s Jacopo Guidetti taking the lead in his Audi RS 3 LMS ahead of Tavano and Bettera.
Guidetti quickly opened a gap but was under investigation for a jumped start. Jelmini also spun after a contact from Trico WRT’s Damiano Reduzzi at the first chicane, falling to the back of the pack.
Scuderia del Girasole’s Sandro Pelatti and Nikola Miljkovic, driving a Cupra TCR from Lein Racing, then overtook Tavano, with the champion falling to fourth position at the end of the opening lap.
Bettera and Scuderia del Girasole’s Matteo Greco caught Tavano, although the Cupra driver went straight on at the first chicane, losing several positions.
Nicola Guida, with an Audi RS 3 LMS from Scuderia del Girasole, was also going fast, overtaking Bettera at the Parabolica on the outside on lap three.
The safety car was called into action on lap four after Max Mugelli, who had just changed tyres on his Alfa Romeo, was hit by Scuderia del Girasole’s Sandro Pellati at the first chicane, with both cars stopped on the track.
Bettera took advantage of the safety car intervention to change back to wet weather tyres, as rain had started falling again over Monza.
The race was restarted after two laps, with Guidetti keeping the lead ahead of Tavano. Guida went straight at the first chicane, returning to the track in third place, but spun off at Lesmo, falling to the back of the pack.
Miljkovic overtook both Tavano and Greco, with Guidetti receiving a drive-through penalty for a jumped start, which he completed at the end of lap seven – handing the Serbian taking the lead of the race.
Tavano and Greco continued struggling on the track, with Bettera already up to second place on lap eight, followed by Guidetti and Pellegrini.
Miljkovic received a drive-through penalty for an incident at the start. The Serbian had completed the penalty during the safety car period, receiving a second drive-through at the end of the race.
Pellegrini overtook Bettera for the lead of the race on the penultimate lap. Guidetti came side-by-side with Bettera at the first chicane on the last lap, with the BF Motorsport driver taking the escape route to avoid a contact.
At the chequered flag, Pellegrini took his third victory of the season, with Bettera in second place and Guidetti completing the podium.
Greco was fourth, followed by team-mate Guida. Miljkovic was sixth in the end, followed by Scuderia del Girasole’s Eric Scalvini, with a Cupra TCR. Jody Vullo finished eighth with the Cupra TCR from BD Racing.
Claudio Formenti, driving a Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR from Pit Lane Competizioni, finished ninth, with Tavano struggling to complete the top ten.
Pellegrini said after the race: “We lost at the start with the rain but I’m very happy with the result and that we got some rain at the right point to fight for the lead and win the race.”
The start of Race 2, the final race of the season, is scheduled for 12:00 CEST.