Two wins, two pole positions and full podium at the premiere of Monlau Motul in TCR Spain 2023

  • Quique Bordás (TCR Spain) and Érik Zabala (TCR Cup) close the inaugural event in Navarra with two pole position victories and two podiums in their respective categories.
  • Zabala leads the TCR Cup with 85 points, while Bordás accumulates 80 to place second in the general standings of TCR Spain, just two points behind the leader.
  • “Both Quique and Érik are two talented young drivers eager to work. I am convinced that they will give us many joys this season”, says Jaime Serrano, CEO of the team.

Monlau Motul has returned through the big door to TCR Spain, which last weekend celebrated its inaugural event at the Circuit de Navarra. The Spanish team completed an almost perfect weekend with two poles, two victories and two podium positions for their two drivers, Quique Bordás and Érik Zabala, who also placed second and first in the TCR and TCR Cup standings, respectively.

The TCR Spanish Championship began a new era in Navarre led by a new promoter and with a grid of 11 cars, among which were some of the main protagonists of sprint car racing in Spain, Plus an exceptional guest from South America. Monlau Motul attended the event with a team of riders without previous experience at the wheel of a TCR, but full of enthusiasm in this new journey: Quique Bordás, fourth in Formula 4 in 2021 and in charge of tackling the TCR event with a CUPRA León Competition, and Érik Zabala, runner-up of the CET in 2022 and who would sit at the wheel of a Cupra León DSG of the complementary TCR Cup category.

Bordás began on Saturday with the good feelings of his first contact in the collective rehearsals of the previous day, which dominated with a record of 1:49.241. On a more rubberized track, the Granollers driver dedicated the two rounds of free trials to fine-tune the race setup with his engineer and the mechanics of Monlau Motul, in addition to working on the set-up to a return to the classification, which in the TCR categories gives a very important loot of points.

The Catalan signed an almost perfect qualifying round, achieving second place in the Q1 and the best lap of the tanda and the entire weekend in the final seconds of the Q2 (1:47.780), which guaranteed him pole position for the race that same afternoon. It was a similar position for Érik Zabala, who, with the support of the whole fans, was in eighth place in the general standings and first among the TCR Cup participants with a time of 1:50.675.

That same afternoon the traffic lights of the first competition of the season were extinguished under a sunny sky and intense heat, with environmental temperature records exceeding 32ºC. The race had a similar development for the two drivers Monlau Motul: Quique Bordás advanced to the traffic light, which would cost him a penalty of 5 seconds. In any case, far from taking advantage of this action, he ended up losing the position of privilege in the approach to curve 3. Bordás then devoted himself to studying the lines of the experienced Juan Ángel “Colo” Rosso, runner-up in the 2022 TCR Sudamericano, with the challenge to beat him on track and then try to open a gap greater than 5 seconds to add the first victory of the year. The mission seemed impossible, but Quique managed to overcome the most difficult obstacle, overtaking the Argentine on track, He began a frenetic stint at the rate of qualifying with an average of eight or nine tenths per turn to all his rivals to cross the checkered flag with more than 8 seconds of advantage over Rosso, which guaranteed him the triumph.

In the TCR Cup, Érik Zabala also did not do well, losing the lead and some position in the start, and was forced to regain seats on the track. The driver from Lodosa, who knows all the secrets of the circuit, was working conscientiously to overcome, one after another, his rivals and cross the finish line, giving Monlau Motul his first double of 2023 in the category.

On Sunday, TCR Spain played the second round in reverse grid format in relation to the Q2 times, placing Érik Zabala in third place, behind all his rivals, and Bordàs in tenth place. Under scorching heat, with 33ºC in the air and a calm wind that raised the temperature of the asphalt above 58ºC, both riders were tasked to sign back trails to add the maximum possible points.

After a complicated start that kept them immersed in traffic, both drivers worked turn after turn to place themselves behind the main protagonists of their categories, Bordás in P3 behind Álvaro García and the “Colo” Rosso, and Zabala after his great rival of the past CET, Marco Aguilera. In any case, on a track almost 1.5″ slower per lap than the previous day, product of the heat, both had problems to achieve their objectives, and in the end managed to save two very good positions thinking about the championship: third place in TCR Spain and second place in the TCR Cup. In the run-up to the event, Zabala finished as leader of the TCR Cup and Bordás placed second in the event, just two points behind the leader.

David Simón, Team Manager of Monlau Motul, assessed the opening weekend of both runners: “There were two races from which we drew great conclusions: a first in which both Quique and Érik had a lot of rhythm, and a second in which they could not replicate the lap back on Saturday, but remained among the best”.

Jaime Serrano, CEO of Monlau Motul Technical School, added that “considering that both drivers had neither experience in the category nor had done a previous test, the final assessment of the meeting could not be more positive. These are two young drivers with talent and eager to work, and I am convinced that they will give us a lot of joy this season”.

TCR Spain now begins a long summer break before resuming its activities on 29 and 30 September at the Jerez circuit.