Franco Girolami reclaims TCR Europe lead with Monlau Motul at Spa-Francorchamps

  • Monlau Motul is fielding three CUPRA León TCR VZs for the first time in TCR Europe for regulars Girolami and Viktor Davidovski, joined by Èric Gené, who was making his debut in an international TCR competition.
  • Girolami has a string of 2nd and 7th place finishes that allow him to regain first place in the category with two events to go, tied at 259 with his main rival, Aurélien Comte.
  • Davidovski and Gené score points for the team in a race marked by changing weather conditions and collisions, especially in the second race.
  • “It was the first international race we faced with three cars, and I think the image of the team and the mechanical and engineering work has been excellent. Now we have to prepare well for Brno, because the championship is still very compact,”  says Jaime Serrano, CEO of Monlau Motorsport.

Franco Girolami regained the lead of TCR Europe after the second visit of TCR Europe to Belgian soil, this time to the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Monlau Motul attended the fourth round of the series with a third CUPRA León TCR VZ for the young Èric Gené, who thus experienced his international debut in the category. In a weekend marked by changing weather conditions and multiple incidents on the track, Girolami managed to score a 2nd place in the first race and a 7th place in the second. Points positions also went to Viktor Davidovski (8th and 13th), while Gené also managed to open his scoring in the opening round of the weekend (13th) and had to retire due to an accident in the second. This sum of points keeps Monlau Motul Technical School in second position in the teams’ championship.

TCR Europe kicked off the second half of the 2024 season on the 7,004-metre Spa-Francorchamps circuit, which Monlau Motul was tackling for the first time this year with a three-CUPRA line-up, with Èric Gené joining the usual Girolami and Davidovski. A huge amount of set-up work was required for drivers, engineers and mechanics during the two free practice sessions, held, like the rest of the weekend, in the changeable weather conditions typical of the area. 

Qualifying began with a very good feeling for the team’s drivers. Franco Girolami clocked a 2:36.502 which put him in first place in Q1, a session which ended with Èric Gené in 5th place (2:37.852) and Viktor Davidovski 8th (2:53.760). However, an incident in the final moments at Eau Rouge ended up preventing Gené from taking part in Q2. This second part of the session, contested on a completely wet track, ended with Davidovski 10th (2:53.807) and Girolami 4th (2:50.075), which allowed the Isla Verde driver to score five points towards the championship.

That same Friday afternoon, the first of the nine-lap races was held. Girolami shot from fourth on the grid to take third place on the first approach to the Les Combes turn, before the safety car was deployed. The race was neutralised on the following lap, after which the Argentinean took second place at the La Source hairpin, a position he would not relinquish until the chequered flag. Davidovski also made a comeback, climbing from 11th to 8th place, in line with the recovery that Gené had been making before an untimely start in the final part of the race relegated him to 13th place. All in all, the young Catalan driver, only 17 years old, pocketed the first 5 points of his sporting career in the TCR Europe.

The Saturday afternoon heat was a major challenge, marked by crashes and incidents for the three Monlau Motul CUPRAs. Girolami, who started 7th on a completely dry track, once again made a brilliant start that put him on the verge of the podium, where Gené was also involved. However, a series of crashes with rivals caused the Argentinean’s unit to lose performance, and he managed to scrape together an 8th place finish. It was a similar story for Davidovski, who after heavy contact with a rival and an excursion into the escape routes finished 12th, while Gené said goodbye one lap from the end due to a serious accident in one of the fastest sections of the track, just as the rain began to fall on Spa-Francorchamps.

According to  David Simón , Team Manager of Monlau Motul,  “despite the incidents in Saturday’s race, we are happy with the points scored by Franco and Viktor, and also with the feelings left by Èric in his debut, for whom the experiences of the entire event will undoubtedly be of great help in view of his main sporting commitment in 2024, the TCR Spain, which will experience its second scoring event in Estoril on July 19 and 20”.

Jaime Serrano , CEO of Monlau Motul, praised the team’s performance on the legendary Belgian circuit:  “It was the first international race we faced with three cars, and I think the image of the team and the mechanical and engineering work has been excellent. TCR Europe now faces a long summer break before we get back on track in September in Brno, where we will have to keep working to stay on top of the championship, which remains very compact.”

The points tally after Spa-Francorchamps puts Franco Girolami back in the lead of TCR Europe, albeit tied on 259 points with his main rival Aurélien Comte, and 26 and 30 points ahead of Nacho Montenegro and Ruben Volt respectively. Monlau Motul, meanwhile, occupies second place in the teams’ championship with 395 points.

The fifth and penultimate round of the TCR Europe will be held in Brno, Czech Republic, on 8 and 9 September.