Not having enjoyed success up until now in the FIA WTCR presented by OSCARO, Mato Homola smartly inverted the trend in the fifth meeting held in the streets of Vila Real (Portugal): under an oppressive heat, he offered the Peugeot 308 TCR entered by the DG Sport Compétition a second victory at the highest level, following that of Aurélien Comte at Zandvoort.
Those that think of street circuit think of … risks heavily increased by nudges, bumps and other contacts – at times violent… – with the rails. The FIA WTCR presented by OSCARO Portuguese outing brought about a further confirmation, and the pictures of the enormous crash that occurred on Saturday, shortly after the start of the first race went around the world. In the DG Sport Compétition clan, this confrontation resulted in a positive outcome with the 6thand 12thplaces of Aurélien Comte and Mato Homola. However, the best was still to come.
Feeling ever more at ease as the laps increased, the young Slovak clocked up an 8thbest time in qualifying, with a place on the 2ndrow of the starting grid– thanks to the principle of the inverted grid – for the initial round. Having taken an excellent start, he promptly climbed into the wake of Gordon Shedden after having got the better of Yvan Müller himself: “In the first run at the chicane at the bottom of the downhill, Mato did give us all a fright by going on to two wheels prior to flirting somewhat too close to the wall”, Christian Jupsin, the man in charge of DG Sport Compétition commented. “Luckily there was only bodywork damage, but the front left suspension held out.”
When the British driver carried out his ‘joker lap’, Mato Homola took command of the situation with at his heels none other than a quadruple World Champion: “Yvan maintained incredible pressure and gave me no respite. Having then in turn played my joker in the 9thpassage, I came out just behind him and I went into full attack not allowing him to build up too much of a gap. I took advantage of him making his detour via the joker zone to take command of the race and I fully focused on not making the slightest mistake through to the finish. In fact, from the first through to the last metre I gave it my all as I had no other choice if I wanted to claim this victory at the wheel of the Peugeot 308 TCR. I’m truly proud and I want to thank the DG Sport Compétition team who provide me with invaluable support. No need for me to add that I’m delighted with the outcome especially seeing the following meeting of the FIA WTCR will be held on my home ground, on the Slovakia Ring the 9thand 10 July.”
Having set-off in 8thspot in the final round, the driver of the Peugeot 308 TCR n°70 promptly gained three spots to climb up into the top 5 and, three … safety-cars later, it was in this same position that he crossed the finish line.
Less happy that his teammate, Aurélien Comte was unable to defend his chances on Sunday due to a broken universal joint right after the start of the first race and it remained jammed in the gearbox: “Notwithstanding the mechanics efforts they were unable to dislodge it in time for the final round”, Christian Jupsin confirmed. “In my eyes this is the only black spot out of a weekend that saw the DG Sport Compétition team clinch 7thposition in the rankings of the FIA WTCR presented by OSCARO, and where our two drivers are now part of the small club of winners; and also of their trusty steed, the Peugeot 308 TCR, whose enormous potential is being confirmed on extremely varied terrains!”