Franco Girolami wins Vallelunga finale to reclaim points lead
Franco Girolami won the final TCR Italy race of the weekend at Vallelunga to reclaim the points lead ahead of the season finale.
The Argentinian driver started fourth but made a strong start to grab second place on the opening lap behind Rubén Fernàndez.
Pole sitter Paulo Rocca got a slow start and dropped down the order, ultimately finish 20th following a later pit stop for repairs.
Reigning champion Niels Langeveld (Honda) was on the move early on from eighth on the grid, making a strong double pass on Felice Jelmini and Race 1 winner Aurélien Comte for fifth place.
Aioka Racing driver Girolami made the move on Fernàndez for the lead with 13 minutes left of the race, also allowing Marco Butti (Hyundai), Ruben Volt (Honda) and Langeveld past for positions two, three and four.
The action continued as Volt then made a mistake at the fast Turn 1, allowing Langeveld past for third while Fernàndez took spectacular evasive action over the grass and dropped down to eighth place.
MM Motorsport driver Langeveld soon passed Butti for second place, only for the Hyundai driver to repass the Dutchman and allowing Volt to sneak past into third.
The Honda duo of Volt and Langeveld then fought hard for the final podium position, a fight which did not end until the final corner of the last lap when Langeveld snatched third while Volt had to settle for fourth.
Girolami won the race by more than four seconds over Butti.
French Cupra driver Comte was fifth ahead of Michele Imberti and Jelmini.
Girolami’s victory has elevated the Argentinian driver into the championship lead on 346 points while Comte dropped to second on 332 and Langeveld is third on 312.
The final race of the season will be held at Imola on October 27-28.