Attila Tassi claimed a first podium finish of 2022 in Vila Real as he battled to a hard-earned second place in the 100th WTCR - FIA World Touring Car Cup race.
The Hungarian’s runner-up finish also marked the first WTCR podium for LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler as a Honda customer team.
Attila, who equalled his best qualifying result of the season on Saturday, launched well off the line from second in Race Two.
A well-executed run through the joker lap contributed to Attila jumping the early race leader and, although he was overcut by another car, he nevertheless clinched a deserved Vila Real podium three years after he was denied a victory on the 4.785-kilometre Portuguese street circuit.
That followed a ninth-place finish in Race One, where Attila and team-mate Tiago Monteiro ran nose-to-tail for much of the race.
Tiago, racing in front of home fans for the first time in three years, executed an immaculate first part of the race as he climbed from 13th into the top 10, and could have been on for a better finish until he was hit by another car.
The splitter damage he sustained in that incident thwarted any chance of further progress, but Tiago was still able to bring home points in 11th place.
His Race Two came to a premature end on lap two, when shortly after touching a wall he suffered a failure that sent him over to the right-hand side of the track, which resulted in unavoidable contact with another car.
Attila Tassi, LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler
"I was really excited to come back to Vila Real, so to be on the podium - especially because three years ago I didn’t have the chance to share it with Tiago - was an amazing feeling, and better late than never. It was not the easiest race of my life, as I had a clutch problem before the start of the race, although I got away without too many problems in the end. I saw after the first Safety Car that the car behind had taken its joker, so my push lap from there was right on the edge but I nailed my joker to come out ahead. I want to dedicate this podium to LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler who did an amazing job; I’m really happy we finally have a good result in the bag."
Tiago Monteiro, LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler
"It was not an amazing weekend in terms of performance or results. The broken splitter destroyed the chance of a good result in Race One, which was on the cards, and then I had a crash in Race Two. It wasn’t the result we wanted, but this season’s been a bit like this and we will keep pushing; we know our luck will turn. Despite the results, it was amazing to feel the support and the passion everyone around the track had for the event. This is what we race for and what makes the difficult times easier to take. It’s great to be back, to feel that human connection again, and we hope we’ll be coming back here for the long-term."
Andreas Klinge, Teammanager LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler
"Finally the hard work and ambition of our team is paying off with this well deserved podium finish. Attila fought hard for 2nd place and deserved the victory, but more was not possible due to the lack of topspeed caused by the current BoP and the 40kg of compensation weight we are carrying the fourth time. Now we will be even more motivated to fight for our first win with the Honda Civic TCR in the FIA WTCR. Our special thanks goes to the organisation of this great event in Vila Real and all the fans around the track, you made this podium even more special for us. We were also hoping for a better result for our home hero Tiago, so we have to come back next year, as this event is absolutely worthy of a world championship. Obrigado Portugal!"