One week following on from Spa-Francorchamps, another mythical circuit welcomed the – somewhat turbulent – TCR International Series pack: Monza! If on the one hand its never–ending straights offer prominence to the aspiration, it is definitely the various Italian circuit’s chicanes where the action happens. And it is precisely in the first of these chicanes that Mato Homola, DG Sport Compétiton’s shining light, experienced several heated moments.
Having qualified in an excellent 5th place, the driver of the Opel Astra n°70 took a perfect start in the initial race but saw all hopes vanish after some hundred meters: “Pepe Oriola pushed me off even though I had left him enough room to pass and I dropped back to 13th or 14th spot. Having nothing to lose I went flat out into the attack. The Opel was running perfectly and I was able to climb back up in the hierarchy overtaking several rivals under braking to take the chequered flag in 8th place. Nonetheless this result frustrated me as had it not been for that incident I could have finished in the top-5…”
Even though he climbed up one rung following a 10 seconds penalty imposed on Ferencz Ficza (relegated from 5^th to 10^th place), the young Slovak had every intention of getting even in Sunday’s round; this was without counting on a new incident that came about in that dreaded first chicane. In a strong 5^th position right from the start Mato Homola was easily following the pace of the leaders and was ready to pounce, waiting for the slightest opening: “Just into the 4th lap, Roberto Colciago and Frédéric Vervisch, in full battle just behind me, screwed up and short-circuited the bend to come out the other side … ahead of me. I obviously expected them to allow me back through into my rightful position seeing they had taken an advantage from their manoeuvre, but they merely carried on their way as though nothing had happened. This time around I took the chequered flag in 6th position, but in full agreement with the team I lodged a complaint as I judged that this incident had cost me a possible bronze medal, or even better because I could also have taken advantage of the duel between the leaders in the final kilometres.”
The stewards finally rather poorly sorted out the rankings, merely inflicting a five places penalty on Colciago on the start grid of the next meeting (Salzburgring, 10^th and 11^th June). A meeting Mato Homola will take on with a heightened motivation having checked in the ‘speed temples’ that the DG Sport Compétition’s Opel Astra is up among the candidates for victory in these extremely closely fought rounds (ten cars within 4 seconds after 11 laps in the second race)
Pierre-Yves Corthals would also have liked to exploit the Opel’s competitiveness. Unfortunately, the Liège based driver experienced a weekend in the vicinity of Milan ‘without’. Not having been able to take advantage of a good aspiration due to insufficient top speed, he had to settle for a 16^th time in qualifying and following a retirement on Saturday as the result of a mechanical problem, he finished in 14^th place on Sunday.