Prior to travelling to the Orient for the season’s final meetings, the TCR International Series were on track at Oschersleben. This seventh rendezvous of 2017 saw Mato Homola and the DG Sport Compétition team confirm their recent performances on this rather highly specific circuit, at first sight not favourable to the Opel Astra.
Having qualified in tenth place for race 1, Mato Homola inherited pole position for the second one. Craftily playing his cards right, the DG Sport Compétition’s spearhead brought the Opel Astra n°77 up into 7^th spot in the initial race, four slots higher than teammate Grégoire Demoustier’s sister car, having steadily climbed up from the back of the grid.
The first seconds of the second race saw a major pile up in the pack, with the race directors being obliged to interrupt the race. Following the restart Mato Homola conserved his leader’s position, notwithstanding heavy pressure put on him by Jean-Karl Vernay, the championship leader and the former F1 driver Gianni Morbidelli. Taking full advantage of his experience, the Italian – having already claimed victory earlier in the day – finally managed to surprise the leader in one of the last bends and charged off for a second success. Beaten by less than half a second, the DG Sport Compétition team’s driver had mixed feelings: “I’m obviously disappointed having missed out on a possible first victory for Opel within sight of the finish line, especially having controlled the race, and remaining in front whilst preserving my tyres; even so I must admit that Gianni Morbidelli carried out an excellent overtaking manoeuvre. But I also retain some positive aspects of the meeting: together with the team, we once again confirmed our progress and offered Opel a result we had not expected on this circuit. All in all, the outcome is therefore pretty positive!”
Following this weekend in Oschersleben, the young Slovak is now in 9^th place in the championship and could aim for a top-5 in the final overall rankings. For DG Sport Compétition this objective seems pretty realistic, who are now lying in 7^th place in the team’s classification after a thundering beginning of the summer: A fortnight after victory in the Ypres Rally, this brilliant podium in the TCR International Series goes to show how competitive the team is at the highest level in two diametrically different disciplines”, Christian Jupsin, the Director of the Theux based structure commented. “There are no thirty-six different ways of saying it: I am truly extremely proud of my guys!”
The TCR International Series will now experience a long summer recess, seeing the following meeting is scheduled for the beginning of September on the Buriram circuit in Thailand. If on the one hand Mato Homola will be on hand, the driver of the second ‘made in Theux’ Opel Astra will no longer be Grégoire Demoustier. Committed on various fronts running in parallel, the young Frenchman had to make a choice: I had counted on completing the entire end of the TCR season, but I finally decided to opt for the World Rallycross Championship whose French round will be held in Loheac, at the same time as the TCR meeting in Thailand. I wish to take this opportunity to thank the DG Sport Compétition team with whom I spent some great moments; it boasts a high level of performance and a particularly charming atmosphere.”