Montenegro and Harris claim first Civic
Type R TCR wins of 2024
JAS Motorsport Development Driver Ignacio Montenegro scored the first outright wins of 2024 for the Honda Civic Type R TCR with a pair of commanding drives in Spain last weekend while Brad Harris was a double class-winner on the other side of the world as the TCR Australia season began.
TCR Spain Winter Series
Montenegro, the reigning TCR South America Champion, was taking part in his first event since joining the JAS Driver Development Programme and the Argentinian began the weekend by qualifying second.
He hit the front of the field on the second lap of a dry opening race and maintained a small, but decisive gap of just over one second over his nearest challenger to claim the win.
Starting seventh from the partially-reversed grid, he took less than half a lap to take the lead of an ultra-wet Sunday race and again produced a flawless performance to complete a double win on what was his debut weekend with the latest FL5 Civic.
Team-mate Alvaro Garcia topped the first part of qualifying, but was forced to start from the back of the grid in both races after suffering a power-steering issue that left him unable to compete in Q2.
Despite the added challenge, he charged through the field to finish third in the dry and second in the wet.
Brad Harris enjoyed a successful opening weekend to the season as he scored a double win and a second-place finish in the new Challenge class for semi-pro racers aged 30 or over at Sandown.
The Exclusive Switchboards driver qualified his Wall Racing-run Civic FL5 – which he was racing for the first time – on class pole position and was untroubled by his rivals in the opening two races. He leads the category standings.
Twin brother Will withdrew from the event on Saturday morning with sore ribs; his driver coach John Martin stepping into the FK7 Civic at the last minute.
Martin – the first driver to win with Honda in TCR Australia in 2019 – qualified 14th and scored a best result of fifth across the weekend to leave Sandown eighth in the points.
Honda Wall Racing’s Tony D’Alberto qualified fifth, but last year’s series runner-up made an excellent start to leap up to third at the start and held station throughout to begin the year with a podium finish.
He was 10th in the reversed-grid race and sixth in the finale to hold seventh in the standings.
Main Ignacio Montenegro, ALM Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR, TCR Spain Winter Series, Jerez, Spain (credit: TCR Spain); Lower 1 Alvaro Garcia, ALM Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR, TCR Spain Winter Series, Jerez, Spain (credit: TCR Spain); 2(L) Tony D'Alberto, Honda Wall Racing Honda Civic Type R TCR, TCR Australia, Sandown, Australia (credit: Wall Racing); (R) John Martin, Exclusive Switchboards Honda Civic Type R TCR, TCR Australia, Sandown, Australia (credit: Wall Racing); 3 Brad Harris, Exclusive Switchboards Honda Civic Type R TCR, TCR Australia, Sandown, Australia (credit: Wall Racing)
About JAS Motorsport
Founded in 1995, JAS Motorsport is one of the world's leading touring car teams and constructors. Initially fielding Alfa Romeos in the ITC, JAS became a technical partner of Honda in 1998 and has been at the forefront of its activities with touring cars and rallying ever since. In 2012, JAS was chosen to develop, in partnership with Honda R&D, the Civic WTCC, with which it claimed the Manufacturers' world title a year later. JAS designed and built the Civic Type R TCR, which has claimed 90 major titles and more than 450 race wins so far, and is also responsible for the build of the NSX GT3 race car and its evolutions; itself a 24-time title winner.