Franco Girolami wins safety car bonanza at Monza
Franco Girolami (Audi) won the first TCR Italy race of the weekend at Monza, a race finished behind the safety car following a total of three safety car session.
Ruben Volt (Honda) started from pole position and held the lead throughout the first lap but soon came under attack from a fast starting Franco Girolami, up to second from third on the grid into Turn 1.
Aikoa Racing driver Girolami challenged for the lead at the start of lap two, a move which enabled Dutch Honda driver Niels Langeveldt to take advantage of the situation and climb from fourth to second.
But Girolami retook second place a lap later, just before the first safety car session came when Junesung Park went off at Lesmo 1 due to a broken suspension which was caused by contact with Marco Pellegrini a corner earlier.
And just as the field was released, the safety car was called back out due to a heavy crash at Turn 1 between Cesare Brusa and Dusan jr Kouril.
Girolami immediately challenged Volt for the lead into Turn 1 as the safety car headed back in, only for Volt to cut the chicane and reclaim the lead. But Girolami was able to get past the Honda rival just as the safety car came out for a third and final time.
The safety car was issued due to another incident at Turn 1 and things turned for the worse as the field came to that corner a lap later as some of the drivers failed to slow down.
Fabio Casagrande and Sandro Pelatti collided, collecting Luigi Gallo in the process – an incident which meant that the field finished behind the safety car.
Points leader Girolami won the race ahead of Volt and Langeveld.
Felice Jelmini, who started second, crossed the line in fourth ahead of Marco Butti and Michele Imberti. Cupra driver Aurélien Comte and Honda driver Paolo Rocca rounded off the top eight.
The second race starts at 11:30 CEST on Sunday.