Race 2
WTCR 2022
Round 5

Tassi and Girolami make it two Civic Type R TCR podiums in Vila Real

pt Vila Real

Attila Tassi claimed a first podium finish of 2022 in Vila Real as he battled to a hard-earned second place in the 100th WTCR - FIA World Touring Car Cup race.

Tassi and Girolami make it two Civic Type R TCR podiums in Vila Real

The Hungarian’s runner-up finish, which followed a podium earlier in the day for fellow Honda Racing driver Nestor Girolami, also marked the first WTCR podium for LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler as a Honda customer team.

Attila, who equalled his best qualifying result of the season on Saturday, launched well off the line from second in Race Two.

A well-executed run through the joker lap contributed to Attila jumping the early race leader and, although he was overcut by another car, he nevertheless clinched a deserved Vila Real podium three years after he was denied a victory on the 4.785-kilometre Portuguese street circuit.

That followed a ninth-place finish in Race One, where Attila and team-mate Tiago Monteiro ran nose-to-tail for much of the race.

Tiago, racing in front of home fans for the first time in three years, executed an immaculate first part of the race as he climbed from 13th into the top 10, and could have been on for a better finish until he was hit by another car.

The splitter damage he sustained in that incident thwarted any chance of further progress, but Tiago was still able to bring home points in 11th place.

His Race Two came to a premature end on lap two, when shortly after touching a wall he suffered a failure that sent him over to the right-hand side of the track, which resulted in unavoidable contact with Esteban Guerrieri’s ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Civic Type R TCR.

Neither driver was able to continue, with Esteban’s exit marking his second of a luckless day after he retired in the second half of Race One.

The Argentinian was bidding to make up a position when he struck a kerb through the Turn 11/12 chicane, with the angle of the impact breaking part of his rear suspension and forcing him to stop.

Team-mate Nestor recorded two top-10 finishes, with the highlight being a third podium of the campaign as he took third place in Race One.

From third on the grid, ‘Bebu’ kept up a good pace in the opening phase of the race before taking his joker on lap five, a strategic call from the team that allowed him to rejoin without losing a position.

He completed his weekend with a ninth-place finish in Race Two, ending the round fifth in the Drivers’ standings.

Attila Tassi
Attila Tassi 9
LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler
I was really excited to come back to Vila Real, so to be on the podium - especially because three years ago I didn’t have the chance to share it with Tiago - was an amazing feeling, and better late than never. It was not the easiest race of my life, as I had a clutch problem before the start of the race, although I got away without too many problems in the end. I saw after the first Safety Car that the car behind had taken its joker, so my push lap from there was right on the edge but I nailed my joker to come out ahead. I want to dedicate this podium to LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler who did an amazing job; I’m really happy we finally have a good result in the bag.

Tiago Monteiro
Tiago Monteiro 18
LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler
It was not an amazing weekend in terms of performance or results. The broken splitter destroyed the chance of a good result in Race One, which was on the cards, and then I had a crash in Race Two. It wasn’t the result we wanted, but this season’s been a bit like this and we will keep pushing; we know our luck will turn. Despite the results, it was amazing to feel the support and the passion everyone around the track had for the event. This is what we race for and what makes the difficult times easier to take. It’s great to be back, to feel that human connection again, and we hope we’ll be coming back here for the long-term.

Néstor Girolami
Néstor Girolami 29
ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
A podium was honestly a fantastic result. It seemed a little unrealistic to be thinking about one after FP2 but our hard work paid off and we have to be proud of that. I was able to make a bit of a gap early in Race One to the car behind and although it took the joker first I was able to emerge ahead when I took mine. I was in protection mode for the rest of the race but I made the position mine. Race Two was much tougher because I had no clean air and I had to fight once more to keep cars behind. In the end, despite losing a position, ninth place felt like a good result for the pace we had.

Esteban Guerrieri
Esteban Guerrieri 86
ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
Unfortunately it was a weekend to forget. I ended up unable to finish Race One with a broken upright after jumping over a kerb while trying to overtake a car. That felt a bit unlucky as it was just due to the angle that I landed at on the rear left. Then in Race Two as I tried to overtake Tiago, who hit the wall at the corner before, he just couldn’t turn left and took me into the barrier. I have to be honest, the middle of the pack was not the place I needed to start in, as it's where incidents can happen. These street tracks are unforgiving and we needed to nail it in qualifying, which didn’t happen yesterday. Let’s reset for the next race at Vallelunga.

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