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