Francisco Mora became the first champion of TCR Portugal at the end of a final race meeting full of drama that took place at Estoril. The Veloso Motorsport driver and his SEAT León claimed three victories out of the weekend’s four races, but he certainly took advantage of the incident at the start of the first race that eliminated his teammate Francisco Carvalho, whose SEAT he shared with Nuno Batista could not be repaired to take part in the following races.
Before the event, the pair of Carvalho-Batista was trailing Mora in the standings by only two points; the incident that left them scoreless at Estoril also meant that they slipped to the fourth place in the final classification.
Race 1 – Rafael Lobato (Speedy Motorsport SEAT León) sat on pole after Francisco Mora’s fastest qualifying lap was disallowed due to a yellow flag infringement. At the start on the wet track there was a collision between Francisco Abreu (Team Novadriver Volkswagen Golf) and Francisco Carvalho (Veloso Motorsport SEAT León); Carvalho was forced to pit and retired, while Abreu re-joined at the back of the field. José Rodrigues (Gen Motorsport Honda Civic) was struggling due to a wrong choice of tyres.
On lap 2 Mora took the lead from Lobato and then increased the gap on his way to a dominant victory. Lobato maintained his second position after a close fight with Jürgen Schmarl (Target Competition Honda Civic) and Gustavo Moura (Speedy Motorsport Honda Civic), while Abreu recovered to fifth.
Race 2 – From the pole Mora took a poor start and dropped to third behind Moura and César Machado (Lobato’s co-driver). As Mora and Machado fought over the second place, Moura pulled away and claimed his first victory of the season. Eventually Mora overtook Machado on lap 7 and the latter lost the third position on the following lap to Gosia Rdest who had replaced Schmarl in the Target Competition Honda. The Polish girl was impressive on her first appearance at the wheel of the Civic TCR, recovering from sixth to third.
Race 3 – Mora did not miss the start and led throughout the nine-lap race, resisting the pressure from Manuel Gião (Team Novadriver Volkswagen Golf), Rodrigues and Machado who finished in the order immediately behind the winner. Rdest lost her fifth place when she had to pit with engine problems.
Race 4 – Mora ended on a high note claiming another lights-to-flag victory. For most of the race Rodrigues was following the leader at striking distance, but eventually he was forced to pit by a puncture, which promoted Abreu to second, while Lobato beat Moura and Schmarl in the battle for the last podium position.
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