2017 TCR International Series – Germany

The TCR International Series returns to Oschersleben

The TCR International Series returns to Oschersleben’s Motorsport Arena for the second consecutive year.

Built in 1997 and partially modified in 2007, this modern racetrack has always been a favourite of Touring Car drivers for its demanding layout that offers several opportunities to overtake and German fans enjoy the door-to-door battles between the cars.

TCR series Oschersleben, Germany 17 - 19 June 2016

Last year, Mat’o Homola claimed his first TCR win in the first race, beating Dušan Borković and James Nash who finished second and third again in the second race that was won by Pepe Oriola.

The SEAT cars dominated the event, as they filled the top-five places in both races.

TCR series Oschersleben, Germany 17 - 19 June 2016

This year the TCR competitors will use the circuit’s older layout that includes the smoother “esses” at the end of the pit straight instead of the sharper left-hander. This is to limit the risk of a pile up at the start and to favour overtaking manoeuvres.

M1RA drivers Tassi and Colciago defend the top positions

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

The previous event at the Hungaroring turned out very much in favour of Hungary-based M1RA. Attila Tassi claimed his first TCR victory in Race 1 and immediately encored in Race 2, jumping to the top of the Drivers’ classification in the process.

His teammate Roberto Colciago was classified fourth and fifth, which helped him to retain the second position overall, six points behind his teammate.

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Jean-Karl Vernay of Leopard Racing was a podium finisher (third) in Race 1 and was able to stay third in the standings with a gap of 13 points, while Stefano Comini, who had arrived in Hungary as the series leader, had a disappointing weekend and dropped to fourth. However, the Comtoyou Racing driver remains within striking distance, 25 points behind Tassi.

Pepe Oriola of Lukoil Craft-Bamboo ranked fifth and second in the two Hungarian races and remains in contention for the title fight; fifth in the standings with a gap of 42 points.

Balance of Performance revised to save brakes and tyres

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

The TCR Technical Department made a significant revision to the Balance of Performance list in order to improve the working conditions of tyres and brakes.

The running weight of every model has been reduced by either 10 or 20 kilos. A 20-kilo weight break was granted to the Alfa Romeo Giulietta (-20 kg), Audi RS3 LMS (+25 kg), KIA cee’d and Subaru STI (both -40 kg), Peugeot 308 (-60 kg), Volkswagen Golf GTI (-20 kg) and SEAT León (-20 kg). The Honda Civic (+30 kg), Opel Astra (+10 kg) and SEAT León DSG (-20 kg) have all benefited from a 10-kilo reduction.

On top of this, the ride height of the Audi RS3 LMS DSG and the SEAT León DSG was further reduced to 60mm.

This scale will be applied immediately and until further notice.

Success ballast for Tassi and Oriola at Oschersleben

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Attila Tassi’s double victory in his home event at the Hungaroring meant that the young M1RA driver took the leadership in the standings for the first time, but also that his Honda Civic will be laden by the maximum Success Ballast of 30 kilos at Oschersleben.

The second-best scorer in Hungary was Tassi’s team principal and occasional teammate Norbert Michelisz, therefore he will receive 20 kilos of Success Ballast in the case of a further participation in the International Series. Pepe Oriola of Lukoil Craft-Bamboo will carry the 10 kilos of Success Ballast imposed to the third best scorer of the previous event.

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

As a result, Tassi’s Honda will weigh 1345kg (1285kg minimum weight + 30kg Success Ballast + 30kg Balance of Performance adjustment) and Oriola’s SEAT León 1295kg (1285kg + 10kg SB – 10kg BoP).

Luca Engstler ready to debut in the International Series

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Luca Engstler will make his debut in the TCR International Series at Oschersleben. The 17-year old son of Franz Engstler will be at the wheel of a Volkswagen Golf GTI run by his father’s Junior Team Engstler.

The German teenager has already successfully taken his first steps in Touring Car competition by winning his maiden race: the opening round of the TCR Middle East Series at Dubai last January. He eventually was classified third in the series’ final standings.

Engstler is currently competing in the ADAC TCR Germany series, of which he’s leading the Junior Trophy.

“It will be a very stressing weekend as I will race in both the International and the German series. I will need to make an effort to maintain concentration amongst all the sessions and races. My priority remains the Junior Trophy of the German series, but I also wish to make a good impression while racing against the top international drivers,” said Engstler.

Boutsen Ginion Racing returns with Aurélien Panis

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

The Boutsen Ginion Racing will rejoin the TCR International Series from the German event at Oschersleben and for the rest of the season.

After successfully taking part in its home event at Spa-Francorchamps with two Honda Civic cars for Tom Coronel and Benjamin Lessennes (who finished second and fifth), the Belgian team has entered one Civic for Aurélien Panis, the 22-year old son of former Formula One driver Olivier.

After an apprenticeship in different single-seater series, Panis has moved to Touring Cars during the current season, driving a Honda Civic in the FIA World Touring Car Championship.

Panis commented: “I am very happy to join the Boutsen Ginion Racing team for the end of the TCR International Series and also to continue the adventure with Honda in a competitive team. While trying to fight for the best possible results, I am very excited to start this new challenge in Oschersleben!”

Leopard Racing fields a third car for Jaap van Lagen

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

In order to secure maximum support for Jean-Karl Vernay in his fight for the TCR International Series title, Leopard Racing will field a third Volkswagen Golf GTI car in Oschersleben.

The Belgian team has called in Jaap van Lagen to complete the line up, alongside Vernay and Rob Huff. The Dutchman has already driven for Leopard Racing in Monza, where he replaced Huff (who had a clashing commitment), but luck was not on his side.

Stopped by an engine issue in Race 1, van Lagen started Race 2 from the back of the grid and could not recover further than the 11th position.

Danny Kroes with Ferry Monster Autosport

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Danny Kroes is the latest young driver to join the TCR International Series. The 17-year old from the Netherlands will take part in the next race meeting at the Oschersleben Motorsport Arena in a SEAT León run by Ferry Monster Autosport.

“I’m really happy to be able to drive in Oschersleben. I will try my very best to get the most out of the car and myself and to learn from competing at this top level. I am hoping to drive a full season in the TCR International Series next year and this is the ideal platform to show what I am capable of despite having only a few hours of experience in the SEAT León. It is my very first season in Touring Cars after racing a few races last year in Formula 4. Despite this I am sure that the team will give me the best possible car and I am confident that I can be competitive,” Kroes said.

Earlier this year, Kroes took part in the TCR Benelux event at Zandvoort where he finished fourth in the Qualifying Race, sharing the Ferry Monster Autosport car with Pepe Oriola, and then was classified sixth and fifth in the first and second sprint races.

Salzburgring results to be declared final

TCR International Series Salzburgring, Austria 9 - 11 June 2017

The results of the TCR International Series rounds 9 and 10, that took place at the Salzburgring on 11 June, will be declared final.

The results were provisional, pending the stated intention of Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing to appeal against the decision of the Stewards that had declared legal the turbochargers of the Alfa Romeo and Opel cars on the basis of the Technical Delegate’s report.

However, the team did not confirm the appeal to the Swiss Motorsport Authority, the governing body of the TCR International Series.

ADAC TCR Germany shares the stage with TCR International

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Just as in 2016, the TCR International Series will share the stage with the ADAC TCR Germany.

The series is booming in its only second season with forty or so entries. Oschersleben will host the season’s fifth and sixth rounds, following the opening event at the Motorsport Arena at the end of April and that of 11 May at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.

The 2016 champion Josh Files looks eager to retain the title. The Briton has won three of the four races held so far at the wheel of his Target Competition Honda Civic and leads the standings with a comfortable margin of 55 points ahead of Sheldon van der Linde who drives a Audi RS3 LMS run by Prosport Performance. The 2016 FIA ETCC champion – and Files’ teammate – Kris Richard is lying third, a further 15 points adrift.

The only driver who has been able to beat Files so far is the young Swiss Florian Thoma, who won Oschersleben’s Race 2 in a Junior Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf GTI.

60 cars on the grid for the TCR family photo

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Sixty TCR racing cars together on the same grid; an opportunity to take an impressive family photo of the TCR International and the ADAC TCR Germany competitors that just could not be missed.

The cars of both series were placed on the Oschersleben starting grid on Sunday morning and the gates were opened to give spectators the opportunity to take a close-up look at the racing cars and their drivers.

Seven brands were represented: Audi (17 cars), SEAT (14), Volkswagen (12), Honda (10), Opel (4), Alfa Romeo (2) and KIA (1).

Last year, for the same picture, there were 32 cars…

Japanese delegation visited Oschersleben

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

A Japanese delegation visited Oschersleben to take an inside view of both the TCR International Series and ADAC TCR Germany.

The members of the delegation were representatives of three car manufacturers with JAF, Japan’s National Sporting Authority: Kaoru Shimamura of Honda, Masahiro Moritani of Toyota and Shoichi Kamimura of Mazda.

During the weekend they also had a meeting with the TCR promoter Marcello Lotti.

TCR heads for the UK

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YES!!! FINALLY!!!

(Can you tell I’m happy about this??? – Phil)

Plans for a TCR series in the UK have taken a major step forward this week with the MSA’s Motor Racing Championship Control Panel giving its outline approval to a TCR UK championship in 2018.

Full details have yet to be announced, but it’s envisaged that the series will be made up of 6 or 7 rounds with each event consisting of two races. The series will be run by the British Racing and Sports Car Club (BRSCC), which already co-ordinates a number of high-profile championships across the UK.

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The UK series will join a list of championships around the world that have adopted the TCR sporting and technical regulations. In 2018, that list will be further enriched – amongst others – by TCR UK and the TCR class within the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series in the USA.

The success of the TCR concept can also be measured by the list of eligible cars that includes the SEAT León, Volkswagen Golf GTI, Audi RS 3 LMS, Honda Civic Type-R, Opel Astra, Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Subaru WRX STi, Peugeot 308 Racing Cup, Kia cee’d and Ford Focus, while Hyundai has already started the homologation process for its i30 N TCR.

The TCR concept was announced in 2014, with the TCR International Series now in its third season. The idea behind TCR is to revive interest in Touring Car racing around the world, controlling costs and enabling teams to use the same cars to contest national, regional and international championships. The concept is the brainchild of Marcello Lotti, the CEO of WSC Ltd.

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Marcello Lotti commented: “I am delighted that a TCR UK championship becomes the latest addition to our already large family of TCR series worldwide. This is a particularly important achievement, because the UK remains the reference country for motorsport due to its concentration of engineering companies, teams and professional people. We are confident that the new series will be successful thanks to the long-standing British tradition for motorsport in general, with particular enthusiasm for the various Touring Car categories.”

Jonathan Ashman, the Promoter of TCR UK, added: “I have worked with Marcello Lotti since the TCR concept was launched, especially with regard to the arrangements with Formula One Management. This new adventure with TCR UK brings me back to my previous experience as a Touring Car promoter, which gives me plenty of motivation to repeat the earlier success. I’m also especially pleased to have an experienced and professional management team alongside me.”

Teams and drivers requiring further information about the TCR UK series should contact info@tcrgbr.co.uk.

Gianni Morbidelli back on pole after 14 months

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Since the TCR International Series was launched back in 2015, Gianni Morbidelli has always been one of its reference drivers. That was the case until 14 months ago, when his luck changed and he was no longer able to fight for the top positions.

Now the former F1 racer is back at the front, claiming his first pole position since Imola 14 months ago; the first since he and the WestCoast Racing team switched to the Volkswagen Golf.

Morbidelli was consistently among the fastest drivers, if not the fastest of the pack, throughout the second Practice and Qualifying, setting a pace that nobody was able to match. His next obvious goal is getting back to the winner’s circle in tomorrow’s Race 1.

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

To do this he will have to keep at bay Jaap van Lagen (Leopard Racing Volkswagen) and Daniel Lloyd (Lukoil Craft-Bamboo SEAT), who qualified second and third and so achieving their best results since they joined the championship.

The Qualifying results also confirmed this track is better suited to the Golf and León rather then the other models. None of the Alfa Romeo and Audi drivers managed to advance to Q2, while Roberto Colciago (8th) and Mat’o Homola (10th) were the only Honda and Opel drivers to qualify in the leading group.

Homola will start from pole position on the reverse grid for Race 2 with Jean-Karl Vernay alongside him, while Attila Tassi – the current championship leader – will line up 13th on the grid for both races.

Qualifying 1: Morbidelli leads a Volkswagen 1-2-3

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Volkswagen drivers from three different teams set the first three fastest laps with Morbidelli (WestCoast racing) ahead of van Lagen (Leopard Racing) and Luca Engstler (Junior Team Engstler).

Tassi was the first to top the time sheet with a lap of 1:33.181 that was improved by Oriola’s 1:33.082 and then by Morbidelli’s 1:33.009. Oriola was the first to go under the 1:33 mark, but his provisional fastest time of 1:32.838 was disallowed for infringing track limits. It was then Vernay who jumped on top with a lap of 1:32.829, but Morbidelli raised the bar to 1:32.064, with Lloyd second (1:32.801).

The segment was disrupted once by a red flag with twelve minutes left on the clock, to sweep the gravel off the track after Møller spun at the chicane.

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

When the session resumed, Engstler posted a new provisional fastest lap of 1:32.024, which was soon improved by Morbidelli’s 1:31.421 and van Lagen’s 1:31.553.

The following drivers went through to Q2: Morbidelli, van Lagen, Engstler, Oriola, Lloyd, Vernay, Altoè, Nash, Homola, Colciago, Huff and Paulsen.

Among those who did not make the cut were the points leader Tassi, the Alfa Romeo duo of Borković and Kajaia and the Audi pair of Vervisch and Comini. The latter spoiled his chances with a mistake on his last attempt.

Qualifying 2: Morbidelli beats van Lagen

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Oriola posted a 1:31.954 on his first lap out, but Morbidelli improved immediately to 1:31.908, with van Lagen moving up to second (1:31.914).

Oriola responded with a new provisional fastest lap of 1:31.834, but Morbidelli was even faster with a 1:31.426 that nobody was able to beat.

Van Lagen improved to 1:31.669 to secure second position ahead of Loyd (1:31.714), Huff (1:31.821) and Oriola.

On their last attempts, Vernay managed to climb to ninth, securing a front spot on the reverse grid for Race 2, while Engstler outbraked himself and went straight on at Turn 1.

Quotes after Oschersleben Qualifying

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Gianni Morbidelli (first): “I had almost forgotten how it feels to be in front of everyone and on pole! It’s a nice feeling and it is great, not only for me, but especially for the guys in the team, who worked so hard. After two seasons fighting for the title, it was certainly frustrating for us to go through such a difficult first part of the season with the Golf, so this is the kind of result we needed and that helps boosting the motivation. I must say that the car here has a terrific performance level and feels very good to drive. It’s the first time this year I can drive it as I really want. Nothing is done, of course, but this is a good start and we have to carry one from here.”

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Jaap van Lagen (second): “I am happy to be in the TCR International Series for the second time this year. It has been a last-minute call from the team, and although I am driving almost every weekend, it is not easy to just come and do well. One always needs a little time to re-adjust to a front wheel-drive car and the rest. Today, the Golf worked really well and without a little mistake in the last corner, I think we could have been fighting for pole. First goal for me is to help Jean-Karl Vernay in the races. We will see how things develop, as Jean-Karl is not too close in neither of the grids. I would do my race only if there is no way to help him.”

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Daniel Lloyd (third): “It’s my first time in the top-3 since I joined the TCR, so I am pleased, although as a driver, you always aspire to more. Everything came out nicely today, despite all the dirt on the track, I just focused on having a clear gap in front and behind me, and tomorrow I’ll be definitely fighting for a podium position… at least.”

TCR Germany – Oestreich takes lights-to-flag win

 

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Despite the large field of 37 cars, the start and first lap were extremely orderly, with the two men on the front row, Niels Langeveld (Audi) and Pascal Eberle (SEAT) getting passed by Moritz Oestreich (Honda) and Kris Richard (Honda).

Luca Engstler (Volkswagen) was fifth, while the championship leader Josh Files (Target Honda) took P6 on lap 2, despite starting from the seventh row. The race’s first victim was Sheldon van der Linde (Audi), who retired in the pits on lap 2 with a technical problem.

On lap 5, Simon Larsson (Audi) hit the barriers at the chicane, prompting the deployment of the Safety Car. At the restart, things stayed pretty much the same, with Engstler moving up to 4th. Steve Kirsch (Honda) passed Files for 6th, but when he tried to attack Langeveld there was a slight contact and the Honda went off-track and rejoined in P13.

On lap 14, it was Files who went straight on after some rubbing with Langeveld, losing six positions. Shortly afterwards, Langeveld was passed by Florian Thoma (Volkswagen) and Tim Zimmermann (Audi) who moved up to 4th and 5th.

The race ended in drama, as at the beginning of last lap the engine of Richard’s Honda, that had been chasing the leader Oestreich for the entire race, blew at the beginning of the straight and caught fire. Oestreich therefore won under yellow flags, preceding Eberle, Engstler, Thoma, Zimmermann and Langeveld with Files finishing tenth.

Files maintains the leadership in the standings with 166 points; Thoma has climbed to second, one point ahead of van der Linde, but with a gap of 68 from the leader.

TCR Germany – Langeveld gives first win to Audi

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Niels Langeveld of Racing One gave Audi its first victory in the TCR Germany series, although the Dutchman is currently being investigated for an incident that eliminated Florian Thoma’s Volkswagen.

Thoma made an excellent start from P2 and took the lead ahead of Steve Kirsch (Honda), Luca Engstler (Volkswagen), Langeveld and Josh Files (Honda), while Gosia Rdest’s Audi was pushed against the wall and Sheldon van der Linde’s Audi stalled on the grid.

On lap 2, Langeveld took third from Engstler, but the Safety Car was out to allow the retrieval of the Honda of Jürgen Schmarl from the gravel trap.

At the restart there was a good fight for the lead between Thoma and Kirsch, with the Swiss keeping the advantage, while Kirsch was defending the position from Langeveld. A slight contact between them sent Kirsch’s Honda into the gravel trap, with the Safety Car out again, as Jasmine Preisig’s Opel was also stuck in the gravel.

Shortly after the restart, Thoma spun in the last corner and was luckily avoided by the other cars; he rejoined in P12. Langeveld inherited the leadership ahead of Files, who passed Engstler, with Race 1 winner Morits Oestreich (Honda) fourth ahead of Harald Proczyk (SEAT) and Tom Lautenschlager (Audi).

Files has further stretched his leadership in the championship classification to 87 and 88 points ahead of Oestreich and Thoma respectively.

The ADAC TCR Germany series will resume on 22 and 23 July at Zandvoort, Netherlands.

Gianni Morbidelli scores a clean sweep in Germany as Jean-Karl Vernay retakes the point lead

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Gianni Morbidelli is back in anger after so many months of disappointment and frustration.

The Italian driver had not been able to win a race since April 2016 at Estoril, but today he reclaimed his place amongst the leading players of the TCR International Series in a very authoritative way.

In fact, he won both races at Oschersleben, scoring the maximum tally of points at stake (55, including 5 for the pole position) and giving WestCoast Racing its first victories since the Swedish team switched to the Volkswagen Golf.

Morbidelli’s win in Race 2 was a real masterpiece, as he overtook Mat’o Homola’s Opel Astra only two hundreds metres from the finish line. No wonder that while he was overjoyed, Homola felt bitter for having lost a great opportunity to score Opel’s maiden win in the series.

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

The two German races proved to be ill-fated for some of the title contenders. M1RA’s Attila Tassi and Roberto Colciago, first and second in the standings before Oschersleben, left Germany without scoring, while Pepe Oriola pocketed only one miserable point in yesterday’s qualifying.

This all helped Vernay to retake the lead in the overall classification, one point ahead of Tassi; Colciago has slipped to third, with a gap of eight points, while Stefano Comini (sixth and fifth in the two races), is now only one further point adrift in fourth place. Oriola remains fifth, 43 points behind the leader.

Race 1: Morbidelli takes an authoritative win

Gianni Morbidelli converted his pole position into an authoritative and long awaited victory for himself and the WestCoast Racing team. The Italian driver made a perfect start and led from lights to flag, even in spite of the safety car intervention after an incident between Tassi and Vernay.

Daniel Lloyd claimed his first podium finish with a brilliant second place, while Rob Huff defended his third position from the assaults of James Nash.

Once again Morbidelli’s young teammate Giacomo Altoè proved consistent in finishing fifth, while Stefano Comini recovered from 17th on the grid to 6th at the chequered flag. A result that might prove crucial in the title fight, considering that none of the top-three drivers in the standings – Tassi, Roberto Colciago and Vernay – scored points.

It was an eventful race, with a number of contacts (that resulted in penalties for Vernay and Oriola), flat tyres and even a black flag to Stian Paulsen for repeatedly infringing the track limits.

RACE ONE

Grid – Vervisch was demoted (from 16th) to the back of the grid, due to an engine change

Start – Morbidelli starts well from pole and leads from Lloyd; Huff jumps to third into Turn 1, while van Lagen drops to fifth behind Nash and Oriola

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Lap 1 – Vernay and Tassi come together into Turn 1, they both spin and rejoin at the back

Lap 2 – Paulsen overtakes Borković for 11th

Lap 3 – Engstler overtakes Homola for 9th; Kajaia goes wide on the grass and rejoins

Lap 4 – Panis drives wide onto the grass and rejoins; Vernay hits Tassi and sends him off

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Lap 5 – The Safety Car is deployed to recover Tassi’s car; Colciago pits with a flat front tyre; Engstler retires with a pierced radiator

Lap 8 – The race resumes; Comini moves up to 8th overtaking Paulsen and Homola; Oriola overtakes van Lagen for 5th after hitting him; Vernay is given a drive-through for the incident with Tassi

Lap 9 – Kajaia overtakes Kroes for 12th

Lap 10 – Oriola is given a drive-through for the incident with van Lagen; Tassi rejoins, but is black-flagged as he received mechanical aid to exit from the gravel trap

Lap 11 – Homola defends his 7th position from van Lagen and Paulsen

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Lap 12 – Paulsen overtakes van Lagen for 8th, Borković retires with a pierced radiator

Lap 13 – Paulsen nearly loses his car and van Lagen retakes 8th

Lap 15 – Homola, Paulsen and van Lagen continue fighting; Kajaia joins the fighting trio

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Lap 17 – Møller pits with a flat front tyre; Paulsen is black-flagged for track limits

Lap 18 – Kajaia slows down with a flat front tyre

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Lap 19 – Morbidelli wins from Lloyd, Huff successfully defend third place from Nash

Race 2: Morbidelli encores after a pile up

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

It was a masterful overtaking manoeuvre that enabled Gianni Morbidelli to score his second race win of the day at Oschersleben. On the last lap and in the last-but-one turn, the Italian dived inside Mat’o Homola’s Opel to strip the young Slovak of his first victory at the wheel of the Astra.

The race was marred by a catastrophic pile-up at the start that involved eight cars and eliminated some of the top guns, such as Roberto Colciago, Pepe Oriola, Rob Huff and James Nash.

After the wrecked cars were removed, the race could finally start and offered a great fight between the first four drivers who were running bumper-to-bumper for the whole 15 laps.

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Homola tried everything to keep the Volkswagen Golf cars of Jean-Karl Vernay and Morbidelli behind, although they were clearly faster. Daniel Lloyd stuck to the tail of the leading trio, waiting for a chance to improve his third place.

After Morbidelli passed Vernay for second it was quite clear that Homola’s lead was under serious threat, as the Italian had a much faster pace. Eventually, Homola’s dream of giving Opel its maiden victory in the TCR International Series melted only a few hundreds metres from the chequered flag.

Amongst the survivors were Duncan Ende and Ferenc Ficza; the American finished seventh and scored his first points in the championship, while Ficza was classified tenth (despite a pit stop) and pocketed the first point as a KIA driver.

RACE TWO

Grid – Panis is missing following an engine failure

Start – Homola starts well, but there is havoc behind him; Colciago swerves to the left and hits Vernay who is pushed against Nash; Nash’s car collects Altoè’s, Colciago is t-boned by Oriola, while Altoè bounces to the other side of the track and crashes with Paulsen, Huff and Engstler; the race is red-flagged and the surviving cars retake their original grid positions

Re-start – Of the eight cars involved in the pile up, only Vernay’s can make the grid; once again Homola makes the best start

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Lap 1 – van Lagen goes wide at Turn 1 and drops to 6th; he and Comini swap paint

Lap 2 – Borković overtakes Kajaia for 8th; van Lagen stops with a flat front tyre

Lap 3 – Vervisch overtakes Tassi for 8th; Borković retires with a broken exhaust

Lap 4 – Morbidelli overtakes Lloyd for third; Kroes overtakes Møller for 9th

Lap 5 – Vernay is chasing Homola, 0.3 seconds behind

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Lap 6 – Ficza pits with vibrations and rejoins

Lap 7 – Kajaia retires with a flat front tyre; Kroes tries to overtake Vervisch for 6th, but goes off and retires

Lap 8 – Morbidelli overtakes Vernay for second; Møller and Demoustier fight for 8th

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Lap 9 – Homola, Morbidelli and Vernay are covered by only 7 tenths

Lap 11 – The leading quartet of Homola, Morbidelli, Vernay and Lloyd deliver a close battle for victory; Demoustier and Møller are given drive-through penalties for track limits

Lap 13 – Tassi retires with a flat front tyre

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Lap 15 – Morbidelli overtakes Homola on the last-but-one turn and wins; Homola keeps second ahead of Vernay and Lloyd

Driver quotes after the Oschersleben races

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Gianni Morbidelli (1st in Race 1 & Race 2): “There couldn’t be a better day than this. I am really happy for the entire team, and also quite proud of myself. It looks like we finally woke up and this gives us tremendous motivation. In Race 1, I had a good start and pushed to build a gap, but I had to do it all over again after the safety-car period. It wasn’t easy but everything went well. In Race 2, I was lucky to escape the big crash at the start. Without it, I certainly couldn’t have repeated the win, but this is motorsport and sometimes you need some luck. The pace of the car was excellent and I could do some nice overtakes on Lloyd and Vernay, always between turn 11 and 12, where I knew I was faster than the others. With Homola it didn’t work the first time, but then, in the very last lap, I succeeded. Now, we can go on holidays satisfied!”

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Daniel Lloyd (2nd in Race 1): “It was quite a good weekend for me, I am happy with the pace, as I am getting closer to the top guys. Gianni, though, was really unreachable in Race 1. In Race 2, I was lucky not to be caught up in the big crash, but my pace at the restart was not what we expected.”

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Mat’o Homola (2nd in Race 2): “Clearly, I am disappointed to lose a possible first win for Opel only two corners from the end, after controlling the entire race, but Gianni did a great job. We had done most of the job, always pushing and trying to save the tyres, but it wasn’t enough. Still, I think we have to see the positive side: we are making consistent progress and we were not expecting to have such a good pace on a track like this. All in all, we can be satisfied.”

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Rob Huff (3rd in Race 1): “I had a very good start in Race 1, but after 2-3 laps, it was clear to me that I didn’t have the pace to stay with the guys in front, so I focused in taking no risks, not ruin the tyres on the kerbs and control the SEAT cars behind me. In Race 2, I thought I was almost through the turmoil, after going left and right, right and left and almost stop to avoid the cars going in all directions. I was almost clear when I was hit quite violently from the back, and that was it.”

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Jean-Karl Vernay (3rd in Race 2): “To be leading the points standings after a weekend like this is almost incredible and makes me very happy. Especially after Race 1 in which I got no points. Race 2 was eventful as well. I was sandwiched at the start between Colciago and Oriola, there was nothing I could do. When the race restarted, I tried to resist to Gianni, but he was faster than me and had also to defend myself from Lloyd. I felt I was a little bit quicker than Homola but not enough to pass him for second.”

The TCR International Series will resume after the summer break at Buriram’s Chang International Circuit, Thailand, on September 2 and 3.

2017-2017 Oschersleben Race 2---06 Frederic Vervisch_129.jpg

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as the members of the TCR Talk Facebook Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from the series.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

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