Two wins at Monza mean that Langeveld leads in TCR Italy
17 September 2023
Niels Langeveld made a crucial step in his defence of the TCR Italy title at Monza. Two race wins at the wheel of his MM Motorsport Honda Civic Type R FL5, meant that the Dutchman moved into the lead of the standings, seven points clear of Franco Girolami (Aikoa Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS II) and 11 ahead of Aurélien Comte (SP Compétition, CUPRA Leon Competición). Felice Jelmini (MPA Motorsport, Audi RS 3 LMS II) is the best Italian driver in fourth place, 27 points behind the leader. Jelmini had provisionally jumped on top of the standings after Race 1 – following the penalties imposed to Girolami and Ruben Volt, that promoted him to second behind Langeveld. However, he was eliminated by an incident in Race 2.
Race 1 – Girolami had been fastest in Qualifying but was demoted to third by a penalty from the previous event at Mugello. Volt’s Honda and Jelmini’s Audi filled the front row, with Langeveld in P4 alongside Girolami. Volt led at the start, while Girolami passed Jelmini for second and attacked the leader. They swapped positions twice and Langeveld benefited from the situation passing both Jelmini and Girolami as he moved into second. Girolami repassed Langeveld in lap 3, just before the safety car was deployed when Junesung Park’s Hyundai went off at Lesmo 1 after a clash with Marco Pellegrini’s Audi. When racing resumed, Marco Butti punted Comte into a spin at the first chicane and the Frenchman dropped from fifth to seventh. In the middle of the pack, Cesare Brusa and Dušan Kouříl crashed at the chicane, prompting the safety car back on track. A new restart in lap 9, saw another incident between Raffaele Gurrieri and Sylvain Pussier with the CUPRA of the Italian driver stranded on the grass of the first chicane. Girolami passed Volt at the beginning of lap 10, when the yellow flags were waved; behind them a new pile-up involved Fabio Casagrande, Luigi Gallo and Sandro Pelatti, which led to a third safety car intervention. The neutralization lasted until the end of the race, with Girolami first under the chequered flag ahead of Volt, Langeveld and Jelmini; Ali Vedat Dalokay scored his fifth win in the DSG class. After the race, several investigations resulted in penalties, including five seconds to Girolami for overtaking under yellow and to Volt for cutting a chicane. Therefore, Langeveld inherited the win ahead of Jelmini and Butti; Girolami and Volt were dropped to 9th and 10th, but results remain sub judice pending appeals against these two decisions.
Race 2 – Junui Park and Paolo Rocca shared the front row of the top-eight reversed grid; Rocca led the field at the start from Langeveld and Butti; the latter was passed by Comte and Girolami but cut the chicane in lap 2 and regained the third position. In the following lap Comte and Girolami repassed Butti and was the Argentine to cut the chicane and pass Comte for P3. In lap 4, Langeveld stole the lead from Rocca who rejected an attack from Girolami, but then the safety car was deployed following an incident at the chicane that eliminated Felipe Fernández and Jelmini. The race resumed in lap 9, with Girolami moving ahead of Rocca into the second place, and Butti passing Comte for P4. One lap later, Butti cut the chicane once again to resist attacks from Comte and Volt, but eventually Comte passed him for the fourth position. Girolami posted the fastest lap, while Volt and Butti made contact into the chicane. In lap 13, Volt passed Butti but the latter punted him wide at the exit of the chicane and retook the position. At the beginning of the last lap, Rocca rejected an attempt from Comte, but the Frenchman muscled his way into P2 at Lesmo. Up front, Langeveld scored his second win of the weekend beating Girolami by 1.4 seconds, with Comte third and Rocca who kept Butti at bay to finish fourth. Butti was then demoted to 12th by two 5-second penalties for cutting the chicane. Dalokay encored in the DSG class.
The championship will resume at Vallelunga, on October 13/15.
Monza – Race 1
1. Niels Langeveld (MM Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R FL5), 12 laps
3. Aurélien Comte (SP Compétition, CUPRA Leon Competición), 8.951
1. N. Langeveld, 267 pts; 2. F. Girolami, 260; 3. A. Comte, 256
Picture: ACI Sport
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