- Quique Bordás overcomes a difficult weekend with two third positions, and is the sole leader of the TCR Spain.
- Érik Zabala consolidates his first place in the TCR Cup provisional standings with a pole, a win and a second position in the Portuguese double event.
- “Both the drivers and the competition mechanics and engineering students return home with many lessons and full of motivation for Jerez,” comments Jaime Serrano, CEO of the team.
Monlau Motul concluded the second test of the TCR Spain season, held at the Estoril circuit, Portugal, with its two drivers, Quique Bordás and Érik Zabala, as solo leaders of the two categories in contention. In the main division, Bordás made the most of his options on a track not particularly favorable to his conditions and those of his car, achieving two third places in the two scoring races. Zabala, for his part, signed a pole position that he transformed into a victory, and rounded off the match with a second place that allows him to gain distance at the top of the TCR Cup table.
Almost four months had passed since the engines turned off at the Navarra circuit. This long break increased the motivation among the Monlau Motul drivers ahead of the visit to the Autódromo Fernanda Pires da Silva, a classic of circuit racing, but unpublished for decades for the speed categories. The lack of data and the adaptation to extremely hot conditions, together with the absence of collective training in the program, made the two free sessions on Saturday fundamental for the final result of the meeting. Both Quique Bordás and Érik Zabala spent both sessions adapting to the layout and beginning to prepare for the official session, scheduled that same afternoon, with a total of 20 laps each completed between race and qualifying simulations.
When the time came to fight against the clock, Quique Bordás went from less to more. To begin with, the driver from Granollers set the sixth time in Q1 (1:48.440), a session highly conditioned by the traffic on the track, thereby adding two points in the championship. In the second session, which made up the two grids on Sunday, Bordás pulled off a masterful last lap (1:46.619) that lifted him to second place overall, just 142 thousandths from pole position. In the TCR Cup, Érik Zabala consolidated the pace shown in the morning, leading both sessions and securing the pole position ahead of his main rivals with a best time of 1:49.805.
Sunday’s double race was held, like Saturday, under a mid-summer atmosphere, although with higher temperatures (with 30ºC in the air and more than 45ºC on the asphalt), which made good tire management essential. . In the first start, Quique Bordás was surprised by a rival, falling from second to third position. The Catalan worked since then to gain distance from the peloton and not lose pace with the leaders, ultimately securing the shortest step on the podium. The second race, held two hours later and organized with the grid inverted, the driver from Granollers put in a very intelligent performance, and gained positions with cleanliness and precision. Ninth at the traffic light, he climbed up the ranks until repeating third position at the checkered flag, which allowed him to bag some points that guarantee him sole leadership of the TCR Spain classification.
On Sunday, Érik Zabala replicated many of the situations already seen in Navarra and that, without a doubt, will be repeated in the two remaining events on the calendar. In the first race, the driver from Lodosa remained in first position from the lights out until the finish flag, sufficiently containing the attacks of his main rival for the title, Marco Aguilera. In the afternoon, Zabala had problems at the start, and fell from first to third place, which forced him to come back. After an intense fight, the Monlau Motul driver overtook Miguel Villacieros and placed himself in the wake of Aguilera, whom he was close to overtaking on numerous occasions, finally having to settle for a second position that does not alter his leadership in the TCR classification Cup.
David Simón, Team Manager of Monlau Motul, evaluated the weekend of both drivers: “Estoril confirms what we already saw in Navarra and, although here we have suffered a little more with the degradation of the tires on Quique’s car, we are leaving more than satisfied. Bordás has saved two third places under very unfavorable conditions, showing consistency and tireless work both on and off the track that confirm his first place in the championship. “Érik, for his part, has achieved magnificent results after intense fights on the track against his main rival.”
This is how Jaime Serrano, CEO of Monlau Motul, saw it: “Those races in which the conditions are not favorable are the ones that truly make the teams grow, and this Estoril weekend has been a good example of this. Quique Bordás has offered maximum performance and leaves the event with a well-deserved lead. And something similar for Érik Zabala, who continues to give everything in a TCR Cup that will maintain its equality until the last lap of the last race. Both the drivers and the competition mechanics and engineering students leave Estoril with very good lessons and full of motivation for Jerez.”
The third and penultimate round of the TCR Spain will take place on November 11 and 12 at the Jerez circuit.