Callejas becomes TCR Europe’s youngest winner ever

Callejas becomes TCR Europe’s youngest winner ever

18 June 2022

At the age of 17, Isidro Callejas became the youngest-ever TCR Europe race winner when he took a last-gasp victory in Race 1 at Spa-Francorchamps. The Spaniard, who celebrates his eighteenth birthday next week, snatched the lead on the final lap and held off pole-sitter Franco Girolami to become the fifth different race winner from the five races held so far.

At the start, Girolami was first to Turn 1, but behind him Nicola Baldan tried to go around the outside and briefly moved into second past Klim Gavrilov and Callejas, but Baldan’s teammate Josh Files’ decision to dive up the inside was more successful and so he moved from P6 on the grid to P3 behind Callejas. Not so fortunate was Pepe Oriola, whose Honda Civic made contact with the Hyundai Elantra N of Mat’o Homola and the Spanish driver was forced to limp back to the pits. A similar fate befell his teammate Martin Ryba, who had a heavy contact with the Audi of Rubén Fernández at Les Combes that left the RC2 Junior Team car stranded and the Safety Car deployed.

When racing resumed on Lap 4, Jelmini locked his brakes on the run down to Turn 1 and dropped three places, although he recovered one when he passed Jack Young. Several battles soon developed, with a three-way fight for P5 between Gavrilov, Tom Coronel and Jelmini that became a four-way affair when Young joined them. Several thrilling laps followed with scraps between Gavrilov and Coronel and Young and Jelmini. Jáchym Galáš passed Young on Lap 7 and the pair made contact which pushed the Czech driver into a half-spin, although he held the slide and initially kept the position before dropping back.

Baldan attacked his teammate Files for the final podium spot, while seemed that Callejas couldn’t quite get within striking distance to attack Girolami. However, on the final lap, Girolami ran wide through Les Combes and Callejas past him, taking the chequered flag with a margin of 1.6 seconds over the Argentine. Behind them, Files held off Baldan to record his first podium finish of the season while Coronel passed Gavrilov for P5. 

In the standings, Girolami has extended his leading margin over Coronel to 34 points, while Gavrilov lies third a further six points adrift.

The second race will start tomorrow at 11:35 (CEST) with Galáš and Coronel sharing the front row of the reversed grid.

 

Spa-Francorchamps – Race 1 
1. Isidro Callejas (Volcano Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición), 10 laps
2. Franco Girolami (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS II), 1.606
3. Josh Files (Target Competition, Hyundai Elantra N), 2.260

 

Championship points
1. F. Girolami 178 pts; 2. T. Coronel 144; 3. K. Gavrilov 138

 

Picture: TCR Europe

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