Salvatore Tavano completes a double in incident packed second Monza race
Scuderia del Girasole driver Salvatore Tavano made the most of a race with three safety car interventions to claim his second victory of the season opener at Monza at the wheel of his Cupra Leon Competición.
Sunny skies and a dry track welcomed the TCR Italy field for Sunday’s Race 2, with ALM Motorsport’s Mattias Vahtel, at the wheel of a Honda Civic Type-R TCR, on the reversed grid pole position.
At the start Vathel kept the lead, with Jonathan Giacon, driving a Honda Civic Type-R TCR from Tecnodom Sport, and Antti Buri, with a Hyundai i30 N TCR from Target Competition, coming side-by-side at Turn 1, with the Finn going straight but not giving up attacking the leader at La Roggia.
Buri touched Vathel at Lesmo, with the Estonian losing out to Buri, Giacon and Aggressive Team Italia’s Kevin Ceccon.
The safety car was called out on lap two after Giorgio Fantilli spun out of the track and was stranded on the gravel trap.
Buri gave the positions back during the safety car period to sit in third behind Vathel and, after two laps, the race was relaunched with Ceccon at the lead, followed by Vathel and Buri, who braked very late at Turn 1 and went straight.
Buri’s antics allowed Giacon to climb to second place, ahead of the Finn and Vathel, with Saturday’s winner Tavano now reaching the leading group.
Tavano overtook Buri for fourth place at the second chicane on lap five, going ahead of Vathel at the exit to take third place. The reigning champion continued strong, attacking Giacon at Ascari. Tavano overtook for second place at the second chicane on lap six.
Also on the move was BF Motorsport’s Eric Brigliadori, at the wheel of an Audi RS 3 LMS, who had started from eighth on the grid, and already up to fourth position on lap seven. Brigliadori overtook for third place at Ascari on lap seven.
Tavano closed the gap to Ceccon, overtaking for the lead on the main straight on lap eight, with Brigliadori lapping a second faster than the leaders.
The safety car was called for the second time on lap eight as Volcano Motorsport’s Evgenii Leonov was stranded on the gravel trap after a collision with Target Competition’s Nicola Baldan. Buri received a five-second time penalty after an incident with Vathel at Parabolica.
The race was relaunched with six and a half minutes left on the clock. Tavano kept the lead, with Brigliadori overtaking Ceccon at the first chicane, but with the Hyundai recovering the position at Curva Grande.
Igor Stefanovski, driving a Hyundai i30 N TCR if AKK Stefanovski, crashed out at La Roggia after being bumped by K2 Engineering’s Dušan Kouril. The safety car was called into action for the third time.
The race was relaunched with a minute and a half to go, with the positions remaining the same at the first chicane.
Brigliadori attacked Ceccon for second place at Ascari on lap 13, with Vathel also overtaking the Hyundai driver. Ceccon recovered third place at the first chicane on the following lap, with Buri also looking to regain positions. Vathel went straight at La Roggia, falling to fifth place, as Brigliadori closed the gap to Tavano.
Tavano claimed his second victory of the weekend with Brigliadori in second place right under his rear bumper. Ceccon was third.
Vathel finished in fourth position, ahead of Michele Imberti, driving a Cupra Leon Competición from Élite Motorsport, and Baldan.
Kouril was seventh ahead of Giacon and Matteo Poloni, at the wheel of an Audi RS 3 LMS from Race Lab. Buri, with his time penalty added to his total race time, finished in tenth place.
“We have done a great job managing the safety car, and we made the right changes in the setup for today. We were able to find the right feeling with the car,” said Tavano after the race.
Tavano leaves Monza as the championship leader with 88 points, with Brigliadori in second place, eight points behind and Ceccon in third, 24 points adrift.
The next round of the TCR Italy takes place on June 4-6th at Misano.