Mato Homola wins the second TCR Europe 2021 race!
Once again, Mato proved that he belongs amongst the top TCR drivers. He finished Race 1 in 6th place and won Race 2 of the weekend! He is traveling home with a satisfying portion of 63 points.
The racing weekend started on Friday, with two free practice sessions. Mato finished the first one on the P12 and even managed to win the second session with the fastest time! This was possible thanks to the tow he used from other drivers. His Hyundai i30 N TCR lacks a top speed on this high-speed circuit, also thanks to BoP and the car being the tallest from the field.
Saturday morning saw the qualifying session. Mato was able to proceed to the Q2 without any big issues. The real fight began in the second session. Young Slovakian squeezed as much as possible from his car and finished in the ninth position. This was his place on the grid for Race 1 later on that day and with the reverse grid in Race 2, he will be starting from the second position in the front row.
Race 1 saw real drama, with many fights and DNFs. Mato tried to avoid as many contacts as possible and moved from P10 after the start to P7, already in lap 1. Mato finished the race on the 6th spot. „P6 is not a podium, but I am thankful for that. I am glad that I was able to avoid any big hits and finished the race unharmed. Points are really important and I am looking forward to tomorrow’s race. It should be rainy or at least wet, and this might be an advantage for me,“ said Mato just after the race.
As predicted Race 2 on Sunday was a bit dump – the start was just after the rain. The track was drying up, so the drivers used dry slicks. Mato did not start as he wanted and he dropped to the P5. Later on, he showed nice skills on the brakes and stepped up to the P4. In lap 6, in a high-speed Parabolica corner, he overtook another driver for the P3. He had to fight hard for it, but thanks to his speed in the technical parts of the track he was successful in keeping them behind.
Race control issued a message already during the race – Azcona will have a 5 sec. penalty for causing a collision with another driver. This meant, that Mato will need to keep the distance to Azcona on P2 and he will finish in the silver position. Following Race 2 in Monza, the Stewards received a protest from one of the teams that Girolami had passed Azcona under yellow flags on Lap 3. Following an investigation, the Stewards upheld the protest and so gave Girolami a thirty-second penalty that dropped him to nineteenth place in the final results. That means that Mato Homola becomes the race winner of the 2021 TCR Europe season.
„It was a tough race full of contacts. I am really happy to win, even with a little bit of luck. It is the first win this season with the Slovakian Jantar Team and technical support of Czech Janik Motorsport. I think, that we are where we are right now thanks to my engineer Jaro Krajci . It is amazing and I think, that we all deserve that. I take a lot of points and I hope, that the last race weekend of the season will be at least this successful,“ said excited Mato after the race.
„Big thank you goes to my family, all of the partners, and also to Jaro Krajci and our team. THANK YOU!“
Final weekend of the season is planned for 8.-10. October, in Barcelona.
Video statement after the race (slovak): https://collect.wetransfer.com/board/sms5mh5lr1i4m5nhk20210926143807/latest?token=febd6821-436e-4d1a-8b31-49c6f4c59aab
Round 12 of TCR Europe in Monza: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dcfEH72Ixo&t=566s
TCR Europe 2021:
07-09.05.2021 – Slovakia Ring (Slovakia)
28-30.05.2021 – Paul Ricard (France)
18-20.06.2021 – Zandvoort (Netherlands)
29-31.07.2021 – Spa – Francorchamps (Belgium)
03-05.09.2021 – Nürburgring (Germany)
24-26.09.2021 – Monza (Italy)
08-10.10.2021 – Barcelona (Spain)