Photo: TCR Media

Franco Girolami cruises to Vallelunga Race 1 win

Franco Girolami won the first race of the 2024 TCR Europe season, leading from lights to flag in his Monlau Motorsport Cupra Leon EZ TCR.

Aurélien Comte made it a Cupra 1-2, while Ignacio Montenegro completed the podium for Honda after inheriting third from Nicola Baldan (Audi), who slipped down to fourth due to a penalty.

Girolami claimed the lead from pole as Comte and Baldan overtook Montenegro. Dusan Borkovic stalled on the grid from tenth, although he managed to recover relatively quickly.

The two leading Cupra drivers led the front group, with Baldan and Montenegro closely following behind.

At the back of the field Borkovic quickly overtook Scamardi and Andersson, gaining on the midfield group, where Felipe Fernandez and Ruben Volt were the main protagonists of a lively scrap for eighth place.

Losonczy made a mistake at the last corner on lap give, resulting in the Hungarian slipping down to tenth.

On lap eight there was contact between Honda drivers Volt and Viktor Fernandez, with the latter losing places to Volt, Davidovski, Felipe Fernandez and the charging Borkovic. The Estonian was awarded a five second penalty for the incident.

As Volt pulled ahead, the fight between Felipe Fernandez, Davidovski and Borkovic ignited. The two Honda drivers eventually managed to overtake Davidovski and open a gap. Meanwhile Baldan was given a five-second penalty for repeatedly infringing track limits.

Girolami won the race ahead of Comte, while Montenegro maanged to stay within five seconds of Baldan to conquer the last podium spot.

Baldan was demoted to fourth for Comtoyou Racing ahead of Volt, who overcame the penalty to finish ahead of Felipe Fernandez and Borkovic. Davidovski was eighth in the second Monlau Cupra ahead of Rùben Fernandez and Levente Losonczy.

TCR Europe will be back tomorrow at 15:15 CEST for the second and final race of the weekend.