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Mazda MX-5 SuperCup Announced as 2nd TCR UK Support Series for 2018…

The BRSCC have announced today that the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup will be the second series to join the support bill for the 2018 TCR UK Series.

Back in September, the first series announced on the Support Bill was the Britcover National Formula Ford 1600 Championship with Avon Tyres and with the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup joining them, both support series will gain extra crowds with the UK based TCR Series predicted to attract large crowds of fans in its first year of competition.

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The BRSCC have decided to place the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup as a permanent fixture within a high-profile motorsport paddock, ensuring that a competitive sports car element would feature amongst a significant national championship support package.

Therefore, it has been deemed a perfect choice to fill in a place alongside TCR UK, a cost-effective touring car formula that has already established itself around the world with several regional and national series as well as the top-line TCR International Series.

For 2018, the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup will take on the same calendar that TCR UK has already unveiled and with this in mind, The profile of the SuperCup is only set to get bigger and better as it is set to gain further recognition within club motorsport and sports car racing circles.

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Mandy Andrew, Championship Co-ordinator for the BRSCC Mazda MX-5 SuperCup explained the decision further to add the series to the high profile support bill.

This is a fantastic achievement and an honour for the MX-5 SuperCup to be supporting the new TCR UK Championship for 2018.  We have our committed drivers, who have created full grids through the season and display such close, competitive racing to thank for this recognition. I’m very proud of everything we’ve achieved together as a championship and have every confidence that the SuperCup will go on to reach new heights in 2018. I would like to say thank you to the BRSCC for their support, and both I and the SuperCup paddock are greatly looking forward to next season already.

Dominic Ostrowski, BRSCC Competitions Manager is excited to see how the series will grow in 2018.

This year’s Mazda MX-5 SuperCup has been incredibly successful. The numbers have continued to grow over the 2017 season with more and more new drivers interested in trying their hand at mastering the Mk3 Mazda MX-5. We feel that the SuperCup is a perfect addition to the TCR UK package, giving many of our current and prospective drivers a real chance to shine in front of a high-profile audience at some of the UK’s finest circuits. We’re very excited to see what the SuperCup will produce in 2018, and we’re very confident that it will do itself justice and continue to prosper.

2017-2017 Buriram Race 1---Start Race1_7 (1)

The TCR UK Series, joined by both the Britcover National Formula Ford 1600 Championship with Avon Tyres and the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup, will get underway at Silverstone on the National Circuit over the weekend of March 31st – April 1st next year.

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of both the TCR Talk International Facebook Group and the new TCR Talk UK Facebook Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from The TCR International Series, Domestic Series and any news on the TCR UK Series that starts in 2018.

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Please note that all images are used in this article are courtesy of WSC/TCR International Series and Jon Elsey, care of the Mazda MX-5 SuperCup.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

2017 TCR International Series in China: The Guru’s Thoughts…

So I’m trying something new with the blog after recent positive feedback where I share my own thoughts about recent activities and talking points that have taken risen during a TCR International Series event.

I started this already during my earlier post and will continue to expand on those subjects and others…

Remember that these are my own thoughts about the weekend and as you well know, everyone is entitles to their own thoughts about the racing…

You were warned…

The Oriola Two-Step…

I have to say that as a fan, follower and blogger of the TCR International Series, that I disagreed with the lack of stewards decisions made in light of some of the overtaking that took place at Zhejiang and the after results of said overtakes.

I agree that Touring Car Racing always has contact and always will do, however the manner that Pepe Oriola was demoted on lap 12 during Race One was in my opinion, punishable. Vernay clearly used the “Nudge” technique to assist his pass on Oriola and this saw the Spaniard run off the road on the Start/Finish straight.

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

Oriola quite rightly moved over to defend his position from Morbidelli on the run to the first turn, however contact again ensued and Oriola into a slid going into the first turn. The fact there was no further action taken sets a precedent and one I think we will see more of in Dubai where the last two races of the year will take place.

To add to that, expect to see a lot of drivers going for glory in these last two races as they look to end their season on a high note.

Another example of poor overtaking was the determination of Rob Huff in race two. Whilst battling for position at the top of the circuit, Huff made contact with David Kajaia and this saw the Alfa Romeo driver retire two corners later with a damaged right rear wheel. Huff then followed this up with a very elbows out pass on Morbidelli, which saw the Italian sideways and defending from Audi driver Vervisch.

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

Had this been a different tintop series (There’s plenty out there to choose from….) I’m pretty certain that there would have been a penalty given, however as this was Huffs last TCR race of the year, there’s also the “Going out in style” aspect to consider.

Like I said, I’m all for exciting passes but I’m also for fair passing as well that doesn’t see the other driver retire or lose out on several positions because of that contact and pass. That’s often causes fans to give their own opinion…

Oh…

The Hyundai’s are coming!!!

2017-2017 Zhejiang Friday---33 Alain Menu_27

The big news coming into the weekend were the Hyundai’s making their debut and I think you’ll agree that they have made their point. Whilst a lot of the development has been done with Gabriele Tarquini involved, adding Alain Menu to the driver lineup for the last two events was inspired.

Until the BoP was invoked for Race Two, both drivers had very good speed and pace and were able to showcase this in Race One very convincingly by moving forward very quickly from 13th and 14th on the grid respectively. Even with an extra 40kgs and 5% less horsepower imposed on them for the second race, Tarquini and Menu still powered their way forward to both finish inside the top six.

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

Whilst the KIA effort, the first new car to be entered earlier this season, has been backed by STARD and developed by Zengo Motorsport, the car didn’t light up the headlines when it debuted in Hungary. Whilst more development is underway for the KIA for 2018, the Hyundai came out with all guns blazing and despite some overheating issues and an oil issue, was able to hold its own even with BoP added to the car.

I for one expect to see quite a few of these out in action next year in both Domestic and the International series. I can already hear the phone of Andrea Adamo, Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Manager, ringing off the hook with Sales for 2018…

TCR International Series Hungaroring, Hungary 16 - 18 June 2017

(Please don’t take my comments about the KIA as negative. A lot of hard work from Manfred Stohl’s outfit has gone in the car and you can bet there will be a big step in performance in 2018 with more cars expected in competition).

Those who lost out in China…

2017-2017 Zhejiang Race 1---01 Stefano Comini_156

I feel some of the drivers who suffered a bad weekend need a mention. I include Stefano Comini, Mato Homola amongst quite a few. Comini is in the title hunt and now looks increasingly as if he will have to concede his reign as Champion to rival Vernay, but you can bet the Swiss driver wont give up without a fight.

Comini has won the TCR International Title in both a SEAT and a VW, however the last third of the season seems to have gone against the Audi. But lets not forget, the RS3 LMS TCR is in its first season. Whilst the title will be difficult you can never count out Stefano Comini.

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You can be rest assured that whilst the Swiss driver now has an outside chance of retaining his title, Comini and Comtoyou Racing will be out to try and do the best that they can in Dubai. If the track layout is not a factor then both man and machine will be in the hunt for wins whilst Vernay and Tassi battle it out got the crown.

Denis Dupont made his TCR International Series debut at Zhejiang in a SEAT run by Comtoyou Racing with backing from the RACB. The Belgian driver has been a front runner in in the TCR Benelux Series and the step up seems to have been a logical one. With the Belgian outfit looking after his SEAT along with the two Audi’s, you could expect a good showing at his first attempt.

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

However Dupont had what you could call a difficult start to his debut with SEAT Leon damaged in FP1 before repairs taking place to get the car out again for FP2. Dupont qualified a respectable 11th on his debut, having made it through from Q1 into Q2 and just missing out on the reverse pole position spot for Race Two. Unfortunately contact with Alain Menu at the start of Race One saw Dupont retire on the spot and the damage was as such that he wouldn’t be able to start Race Two.

Thankfully the Belgian driver will be back in action in Dubai where he will put the lessons learned in Zhejiang to good practice as he looks to go up against the best in TCR for a second weekend. You can expect him to be a little more robust when racing up against the Hyundai’s during both of the final race weekend as well as racing others hard whilst he stakes a claim for a full time ride in 2018.

As I’ve already made clear, I’m a big Vauxhall/Opel Touring car fan and it pains me to see Mato Homola and the DG Sport Competition suffering as they did again in China. The Opel Astra is the only full time entry in 2017 not to have taken a win but the fact that Homola has taken three pole positions says that the speed is there.

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

However, the recent BoP adjustment that saw the Astra gain weight seemed to make little sense. I feel that this may have been put in place due to the recent wins of Harald Proczyk in the ADAC TCR Germany finale and also the fine performance of the Astra at the hands of Kissling Motorsport in the last two VLN endurance events.

I’m looking into clarification for this but I believe that the performances worldwide of a car can affect how the BoP is adjusted and I also believe that this includes Endurance events as well. Don’t forget that the TCR Classes are growing in Endurance racing and offering a competitive alternative to those who cant afford GT class machinery.

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Once I have clarification, I’ll update this post.

Homola again suffered engine issues during Qualifying and then a puncture during the first race, however whilst the decision to add weight to the Opel Astra TCR added to what was a difficult weekend, there is still hope for both driver and team.

Both the Sloviakian and DG Sport Competition have seen standout weekends and improved pace during the season and indeed since the cars debut back in Bahrain last year. They will be out to end the season on a high in Dubai and I suspect they will be in the hunt for glory once more.

Finally… TCR EUROPE TROPHY

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Before the series finale for the 2017 TCR International Series takes place, there is another major TCR title up for grabs and one I suggest you watch:

The 2017 TCR Europe Trophy.

The best of the Domestic European TCR series drivers will go up against each other to win the prestigious TCR Europe Trophy which takes place at the Adria International Raceway in Italy on 29th October. The format is different to the 2016 Trophy where a driver had to compete in up to seven different events across the European series.

Motorsports / ADAC TCR, 5. Event 2016, Nürburgring, GER

Belgain driver Pierre Yves-Corthals took the win in the DG Sport Competition Opel Astra with Jordi Oriola often joining him in the second car. I for one would love to see the younger Oriola back in a competitve TCR car as he is bloody fast…

This years event is as close as you’ll get to seeing something similar to the Touring Car World Cup events that took place back in the middle 1990’s and I’m sure its going to be a fantastic event to witness. The chance in format for 2017 will see Practice, Qualifying and Race takes place over the same weekend, with the driver scoring the highest points being declared the winner.

Now take into account that drivers from any European TCR Series are eligible and with the recent change in rules that drivers who did took part in at least one TCR event during the 2017 season are eligible for the 2017 TCR European Trophy.

Motorsports / TCR, 7. Event 2016, Hockenheim, GER

Add to this that drivers classified outside of the first ten positions of the 2017 TCR International Series, as per 30 September 2017, are eligible as well and you have what looks to be a phenomenal event ahead.

Consider that the best from such series as TCR Baltic, TCR Benelux, TCR Germany, TCR Ibérico, TCR Italy, TCR Portugal, TCR Russia, TCR Scandinavia, TCR Spain, 24h Series, 24H TCE Series, VLN and you have a stellar array of drivers and teams eligible.

Add in the following names who are also eligible…

Giacomo Altoè
Frédéric Vervisch
Norbert Michelisz
Rob Huff
Daniel Lloyd
Ferenc Ficza
Benjamin Lessennes
Aurélien Panis
Jens Reno Møller
Thomas Jäger
Pierre-Yves Corthals
Edouard Mondron
Jaap van Lagen
Duncan Ende
Tom Coronel
Stian Paulsen
Danny Kroes
Kantadhee Kusiri

And the biggest TCR event of the season gets even bigger.

2016-2016 Zandvoort---Qualifying Race start

This is not one to miss and will nicely fill the gap ahead of the TCR International Series finale. Having covered the TCR Middle East Series and the TCR International Series this year, TCR Europe Trophy will be another event covered by this blog before we head into what will be a very interesting winter for TCR in general with TCR UK starting in 2018.

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of both the TCR Talk International Facebook Group and the new TCR Talk UK Facebook Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from The TCR International Series, Domestic Series and any news on the TCR UK Series that starts in 2018.

2017-2017 Zhejiang Race 2---28 Aurelien Panis_234

Please note that all images are used courtesy of WSC/TCR International Series and Domestic TCR Series

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

2017 TCR International Series: China

Here’s a TCR Guru roundup of all the action took place during the penultimate weekendof the 2017 TCR International Series at the Zhejiang Circuit in China…

I know I don’t normally add second titles to my blog posts but this time, I feel this is appropriate…

The Hyundai’s are coming!!!

The Hyundai’s are coming!!!

And now back to your normal TCR Guru Blogpost service…

Brand new Chinese racetrack hosts a TCR event

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

Three TCR series will share the bill in the first international event ever hosted by the new Zhejiang Circuit.

The track is located in the Kenyan region, near the city of Shaoxing and is 50 km away from the Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport that serves Hangzhou, the capital of the Zhejiang Province and one of China’s fastest growing regions in terms of economy and technology.

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

The Zhejiang Circuit, conceived by Apex Circuit Design, was inaugurated at the end of last year. With a total length of 3.2 kilometres, its main track has been granted Grade 2 status by the FIA; it includes 16 turns in different angles and direction and has a 22-metre elevation between its lowest and highest points.

The TCR event will feature the TCR International Series and joint races of the TCR Asia and TCR China series.

Tarquini and Menu to drive the new Hyundai i30 N TCR

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One of the main features of the TCR International Series event in Zhejiang will be the maiden appearance of the new Hyundai i30 N TCR; this will mark the latest step in the technical development of the Hyundai Motorsport-built car that has already undergone an extensive testing programme.

The two i30 N TCR cars will be run by the Italy-based BRC Racing Team and driven by two very experienced Touring Car aces – the former World, European and British champion Gabriele Tarquini and Alain Menu, twice British champion.

Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Manager Andrea Adamo said: “The debut of the i30 N TCR in the TCR International Series is an important weekend for everyone involved in the project. We feel we have developed a competitive package for the category, but this will be the first time that we can directly compare to other cars in the series.”

“Both the i30 N TCR drivers will be ineligible for points. It is not our intention to get involved in the very close fight at the top of the points’ standings. Instead, at the Zhejiang Circuit we will concentrate on continuing our development work during the race weekend.”

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Tarquini commented: “The Zhejiang Circuit is very different from the tracks in Europe where we have tested. It is a relatively slow layout with lots of technical sections, so we will need to work on the set-up. This is all part of our development work with the car, but also an opportunity to show the competitiveness of our design.”

“These are our targets for the weekend. I expect a small gap to the regular teams and the fact that this is the first time the TCR International Series runs at Zhejiang should keep the action close.”

Alain Menu added: “From the testing I have completed, the i30 N TCR feels to be very strong. The TCR International Series is very competitive, so the weekend at the Zhejiang Circuit will be a real challenge. As a driver the event will be a very good chance to show the performance of our car against the others on the grid.”

“However, we have to consider that our focus during the weekend is to take advantage of the track time to continue to develop the i30 N TCR before the first chassis are delivered to customers.”

The Hyundai cars will run with a temporary homologation form and therefore, will not be eligible to score points.

The final sprint of a four-way battle for the title

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

The penultimate event of the season in China will launch the final sprint in the fight for the TCR International Series titles.

There are four major pretenders to the Drivers’ crown: the 18-year old Hungarian Attila Tassi (M1RA Honda Civic) tops the standings with 179 points, only two more compared to Jean-Karl Vernay (Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI).

The 2015 and 2016 champion Stefano Comini (Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS) is placed third, with a gap of 14 points from the leader, while Tassi’s teammate Roberto Colciago lies a further 20 points adrift having missed the previous event in Thailand because of medical reasons.

The Italian – who had broken three ribs in a pile up at Oschersleben – has been declared fit to rejoin and is eager to recover. After all, there are still 110 points at stake…
Mathematically speaking, this keeps several other drivers in contention. The best placed of them being Pepe Oriola (110 points) and Dušan Borković (108).

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Following the races in Buriram, M1RA has built a solid margin of 93 points in the Teams’ classification ahead of Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing (382 against 289), while Leopard Racing is currently third (247 points). However, with 190 points on offer in the two last events, anything is still possible.

The situation is similar in the ‘Model of the Year’ classification that is led by the Honda Civic with 451 points ahead of the Volkswagen Golf GTI (355) and the SEAT León (335).

Success ballast for Tassi, Borković and Altoè

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The previous event in Buriram provided an unusual situation as far as the Success Ballast is concerned.

In fact, two pairs of drivers scored the same amount of points. M1RA teammates Norbert Michelisz and Attila Tassi were the event’s best scorers with 28 points, while Dušan Borković (GE-Force Alfa Romeo Giulietta) and Giacomo Altoè (M1RA) followed with 26 points.

As a result – and considering that Michelisz will hand the Honda Civic car back to Roberto Colciago – Tassi will carry the maximum Success Ballast of 30 kilos at Zhejiang.
The 20 kilos of Success Ballast for the second best scorer will not be allocated, while both Borković and Altoè will have their cars laden by the 10 extra kilos imposed on the third best scorer.

In terms of running weight, this means that Tassi’s Honda will weigh 1335kg (1285kg minimum weight + 30kg Success Ballast + 20kg Balance of Performance adjustment), Borković’s Alfa Romeo 1275kg (1285kg + 10kg SB – 20kg BoP) and Altoè’s Honda 1315 kg (1285kg + 10kg SB + 20kg

TCR Asia and TCR China to run together

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The event in Zhejiang will also feature as the final rounds (11 and 12) of TCR Asia and rounds 5 and 6 of the TCR China’s inaugural season.

The two championships will run together in the Free Practice, Qualifying and the two Sprint Races of 30 minutes each. Than TCR China competitors will also take part in the 60-minute Race 3 on Sunday morning.

Just as in the TCR International Series, four drivers are in a close battle for the title. Kantadhee Kusiri from Thailand is the current leader, having scored 150 points in his Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf GTI; he is closely followed by his compatriot Tin Sritrai (Team Thailand Honda Civic) on 139.5 points and his own teammate Diego Moran from Ecuador on 139 points. Malaysia’s Lai Wee Sing (R Engineering Honda Civic) ranks fourth on 129 points, while his compatriot and colleague Abdul Kaathir is fifth with 108.

After the first two events of TCR China, the classification is led by the Hongkongers Sunny Wong and Alex Fung who share a Volkswagen Golf GTI run by TeamWork Motorsport; they have scored 101 points, two more than their compatriot Andy Yan (NewFaster Team Audi RS3 LMS). Yan’s teammate Huang Chu Han from China follows in third position with 93 points.

ZZZ Team enters two Audi cars in the Zhejiang event

2017-2017 Zhejiang Friday---81 Zhendong Zhang_24

The Zhejiang-based ZZZ Team will take part in the TCR International Series at their home circuit.

The Chinese outfit will field a couple of Audi RS3 LMS cars for Tengyi Jiang and Zhendong Zhang, two of the most experienced and successful local Touring Car drivers and teammates also in the China Touring Car Championship with the Shanghai VW 333 Racing.

32-year old Jiang has established himself as one of the top CTCC drivers, claiming several race wins at the wheel of Ford and Volkswagen cars and clinching the Super Production title in 2014. He has already made a one-off appearance in the TCR International Series, at the Shanghai International Circuit in 2015, when he drove a SEAT León for the Craft-Bamboo Team and was classified ninth in the second race.

Zhang, 25 years old, is the reigning CTCC Super Production champion having successfully defended the title won in 2015. Before joining the Volkswagen team in 2012 he had raced for Haima.

Jiang and Zhang are currently ranking third and fourth in the 2017 CTCC Super Cup.
“We are very excited to join the TCR international Series and race at Zhejiang Circuit. It is our very maiden appearance and we have some very competitive racers form China. I believe that the TCR international Series is the ideal platform to show what we can do,” said Dennis Zhang, the team manager of ZZZ.

Denis Dupont to make his debut with Comtoyou Racing

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

Only a few days after having raced in the TCR Benelux event at Mettet, Denis Dupont has flown to China to make his maiden appearance in the TCR International Series at the wheel of a SEAT León entered by Comtoyou Racing and supported by the RACB National Team.

The 24-year old Belgian has established himself as one of the top competitors in TCR Benelux in which he shares the RACB National Team SEAT with Sam Dejonghe. They were classified third in the 2016 championship, with two race victories and are currently lying 7th this year, having won the 60-minute Qualifying race at Zolder.

“Racing in the International Series is a project I have worked on for a few months and I’m pleased that, with support from my partners and Comtoyou Racing, I have been given the opportunity to race in China,”
 said Dupont.

“I am very happy to drive a SEAT León, because I know it well. This will help me a lot, as I won’t have the opportunity to test the car I will drive in Zhejiang, and being familiar with the car will let me focus on getting to know the track.”

Rafaël Galiana returns with WestCoast Racing

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

TCR International Series in Asia has become an unmissable appointment for Rafaël Galiana. In fact, for the third consecutive year the French businessman and motorsport enthusiast will join the series for the Chinese round in Zhejiang.

After racing in 2015 and 2016 at the wheel of SEAT León and Honda Civic Cars, this time Galiana will drive a Volkswagen Golf GTI for WestCoast Racing, the same team that entered him last year in the Buriram event. His best result so far was an eighth place in last year’s Race 1 at Macau.

“I’m very happy to drive again in the TCR International Series, especially at Zhejiang, because it is an interesting new circuit. Every year I would like to do more races, but I’m always very busy. I have just delivered a new Grade 1 racetrack in Kuwait that should be inaugurated by the middle of 2018 and now I am working on a few karting circuits in China,”said Galiana who is known as ‘Mr Tecpro’ because of a safety barrier he launched in 2000 after several years of research and development.

The Tecpro barrier has proved to be much more effective than the tyre walls that were used in most of the circuits and now the company collaborates with FIA, FIM, and a number of National Sporting Authorities and works together with racetrack designers and architects.

Rob Huff claims pole ahead of teammate Vernay

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

On his last appearance in the TCR International Series during the current season, Rob Huff claimed his first pole position at the wheel of his Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI.

His teammate Jean-Karl Vernay then provided the icing on the cake by qualifying second, locking out the front row of the grid of Race 1 for the team and Volkswagen. The four points awarded to the second-best qualifier also meant that Vernay reclaimed the leadership in the championship standings with a two-point margin ahead of Attila Tassi.
Pepe Oriola put in a great effort and managed to qualify third in his Lukoil Craft-Bamboo SEAT León.

In an unusual situation, the two fastest drivers in Qualifying will not be at the front of the grid. In fact, Alain Menu and Gabriele Tarquini set the fastest laps in Q1 at a pace that nobody was able to match, but they were not admitted to Q2 because their Hyundai i30 N cars have been accepted with a temporary homologation form, meaning that they are not eligible to score points. They will start both races from 13th and 14th and promise to fight for good results.

Among those who were disappointed by the Qualifying results were Stefano Comini and Mat’o Homola. The reigning champion couldn’t achieve any better than a 16th position that greatly jeopardised his hopes to win a third consecutive title. As for Homola, he couldn’t even try, as an engine failure sidelined him in both Practice 2 and Qualifying.
Frederic Vervisch qualified tenth and so won pole position on the reversed grid for Race 2 alongside Davit Kajaia.

Qualifying 1: Menu and Tarquini are fastest

2017-2017 Zhejiang Saturday---33 Alain Menu_102 (1)

The pairing of Hyundai i30 N cars of Menu and Tarquini set the fastest laps in the first part of the session, the only ones to go under the 1:33 mark. After posting a provisional fastest lap of 1:33.392, Menu improved to 1:32.811 that nobody was able to beat.

Tarquini tried twice and was clocked at 1:32.984 and then 1:32.935 to settle for second position. With the Hyundai cars not eligible to qualify for Q2, the Volkswagen drivers were fighting to be the fastest of the rest of the field. Eventually it was Gianni Morbidelli who set the third best lap (1:33.279) ahead of Vernay (1:33.476) and Huff (1:33.503).

After struggling in Practice, Tassi was able to complete his last lap in 1:33.786 that placed him sixth overall, but fourth among those admitted to Q2.

The following drivers went through to Q2: Morbidelli, Vernay, Huff, Tassi, Colciago, Lloyd, Nash, Oriola, Kajaia, Dupont, Panis, Vervisch.
Among those who failed to make the cut were Borković and Comini.

Qualifying 2: Huff and Vernay secure the front row

2017-2017 Zhejiang Friday---03 Rob Huff_48

Leopard Racing’s Huff and Vernay had a thrilling fight to secure pole position. The Frenchman topped the timesheet with a provisional fastest lap of 1:33.341 but was pipped by his English teammate who improved to 1:33.173 under the chequered flag.
Also on his last lap, Oriola was able to climb to third with a lap of 1:33.486, demoting Morbidelli to fourth (1:33.804). Daniel Lloyd claimed the last qualifying point by posting the fifth fastest lap (1:33.817).

Quotes after the Qualifying Session

Rob Huff (pole position): “It’s the first pole position of the year for the team and myself, so we are very pleased, of course, to take the front row with our two cars. It wouldn’t be so if the Hyundai cars would have been allowed into Q2 and I congratulate them for the impressive show on their debut. The car worked perfectly throughout the sessions and on a track that is tremendously demanding and slippery. It’s almost impossible to avoid any mistake. For tomorrow, we’ll see what strategy we need to apply. Clearly the main objective is to have Jean-Karl and Leopard Racing Team WRT securing the title. For me, it is just a pity that this will be my last TCR event this year.”

Jean-Karl Vernay: “The front row is a terrific result. I did a couple of very fast laps but eventually got beaten by Rob, which at least proved there are no team orders. I now have a 2-point advantage over Atila Tassi and we’ll see what will happen tomorrow, but I stress: we are very competitive and I am very happy.”

Pepe Oriola: “We struggled during all the sessions with the set-up, as the track is very slippery, and we made a lot of set-up changes which are starting to pay off. Tomorrow, I’ll definitely go for a win as I have nothing to lose.”

Alain Menu: “It’s a shame we couldn’t participate in Q2, but those are the rules, and it’s great to be back racing at this level in touring cars. I am still learning the car, as I am a late addition to the project, and frankly, all the credit for the development and testing should be for Hyundai, the team and Gabriele, who have done a terrific job.”

TCR Asia & China – Kusiri claims the TCR Asia title

2017-TCR Asia - Shanghai 0817---TCRAsia_Shanghai_UP3_250817_Kusiri_1_HO_med2

Thai driver Kantadhee Kusiri of Liqui Moly Team Engstler secured the 2017 TCR Asia Drivers’ championship with two cautious races at Zhejiang at the wheel of his Volkswagen Golf GTI.

Kusiri greatly benefited from an engine failure that slowed down his countryman Tin Sritrai during the first race and focused on staying out of troubles to score the points he needed. Race 1 was won by guest drivers Jean-Karl Vernay in a TeamWork Motorsport Volkswagen, with Kusiri fourth overall and first of TCR Asia.

Sritrai won the second race, while Andy Yan was second overall and winner of TCR China.

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Vernay dominated the first race, overtaking Sritrai (Team Thailand Honda Civic) at the beginning of the second lap and consistently increasing his leading gap up to 20 seconds. Behind him, NewFaster teammates Yan and Huang Chu Han completed the TCR China podium in their Audi RS3 LMS cars, while Kusiri finished fourth overall and won the TCR Asia.

At the start both the Liqui Moly Team Engstler cars of Kusiri and Diego Moran stalled; Sritrai took the lead but was soon passed by Vernay; Kusiri then dropped from fourth to sixth behind Huang and Sunny Wong (TeamWork Motorsport Volkswagen).

For half of the race, Sritrai held on to the second position, leading TCR Asia, but on lap 10 his pace faded and he lost two places to Eric Kwong and Abdul Kaathir. On lap 16, Wong lost a wheel and the fourth position in TCR China. He pitted, rejoined and eventually was classified eighth.

Sritrai took a superb victory in the second race, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Kusiri from securing the title. Sritrai made a brilliant start from second on the grid and powered past Kusiri; Yan also passed Moran to set up a four-way fight for the podium places that lasted the entire race.

With victory the only option for Sritrai, he held his nerve while others behind him were swapping places. Kusiri lost second when he was passed by Yan’s Audi on lap 8 and then was passed for third place by Moran on lap 14. Kusiri knew that the title was within reach and only had to stay out of trouble for the remainder of the race.

Moran then made several efforts to pass Yan for second but each time was thwarted, even nosing ahead briefly on lap 15 only to lose the position again when he ran wide at the next corner.

That was how it finished, with Sritrai taking the chequered flag 2.4 seconds clear of Yan, who finished as the best TCR China entrant. Moran was a frustrated third.

Vernay moves closer to the title as Tarquini and Huff share race victories

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The first TCR International Series event at the new Zhejiang Circuit provided two exciting races that may have changed the course of the championship before the final race meeting at Dubai.

As far as the title fight is concerned, Leopard Racing’s Jean-Karl Vernay has moved a few steps closer to being crowned the successor of his former teammate Stefano Comini. The Frenchman has scored the maximum of points in Race 1 and only one point in Race 2, but as his closest rival Attila Tassi’s tally was limited to 7 points, he has stretched the leading margin to 21.

As for the other contenders – Stefano Comini and Roberto Colciago – they are now 42 and 46 points adrift respectively, meaning that their hopes have nearly completely vanished when 55 points are still on offer.

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

Should Vernay be successful in his quest for the crown, he must concede some credit to Rob Huff, who placed himself at the team’s service with great professionalism. And Huffy was rewarded today by a splendid victory in Race 2, on his final appearance in the current season.

But, arguably, the talk of the town for the weekend was the debut of the two Hyundai i30 N TCR cars run by BRC Racing and driven by touring car legends Gabriele Tarquini and Alain Menu. And what a debut it was! Fastest in qualifying, the two Korean cars were relegated to 13th and 14th on the grid for both races because they had been accepted under a temporary homologation form.

Despite this, they put on a great show and Tarquini claimed an impressive victory in Race 1 that immediately resulted in a change of BoP before the second race: 40 kilos added to the minimum weight and a power reduction to 95%.

In any case, it is clear that a new and competitive brand has joined TCR, adding further spice to a consistent growth in quality that was also proved by the fact that today’s race victories were shared by two World Champions.

Race 1 – Hyundai wins maiden race with Tarquini

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

Gabriele Tarquini put in an impressive performance at the Zhejiang Circuit, recovering from starting 14th on the grid to lead under the chequered flag and so giving the Hyundai i30 N TCR a victory in its maiden race in the International Series.

However, as the Korean car has been accepted under a temporary homologation form, the 25 championship points were awarded to Jean-Karl Vernay who finished second in the Leopard Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI. The Frenchman was followed by two other Volkswagen drivers: his own teammate Rob Huff and WestCoast Racing’s Gianni Morbidelli.

Pepe Oriola salvaged fifth place after having led for most of the race and having been involved in a couple of controversial collisions with Vernay and Morbidelli.
The results helped Vernay to stretch his leadership in the Drivers’ championship to 26 points ahead of M1RA’s Attila Tassi who finished 11th (and 10th of the scorers) after having been pushed wide after the start.

RACE ONE:

Grid: Homola and Jiang are at the back of the grid following an engine change and grid penalty for a parc fermé infringement respectively

Start: Huff makes a poor start from pole, Oriola squeezes between Huff and Vernay to take the lead; Menu hits Dupont and sends him crashing into the pit wall

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Lap 1: Tassi is pushed wide at Turn 2; Oriola leads from Vernay, Morbidelli, Vervisch and Huff; Tarquini overtakes Lloyd for sixth; Borković stops with a pierced radiator
Lap 2: Tarquini overtakes Huff and Vervisch moving up to fourth
Lap 3: Tarquini overtakes Morbidelli for third; Lloyd pits and retires after a contact
Lap 4: Huff overtakes Morbidelli for fourth; Menu overtakes Vervisch for sixth

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Lap 5: Menu is given a drive-through penalty for the collision at the start
Lap 6: Tarquini overtakes Vernay for second
Lap 7: Zhang and Homola make contact
Lap 9: Oriola is chased by Tarquini, Vernay and Huff
Lap 11: Tarquini overtakes Oriola for the the lead
Lap 12: Vernay and Oriola make contact, Oriola drops to fourth behind Vernay and Huff

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

Lap 13: Oriola and Morbidelli clash on the pit straight, Morbidelli moves up to fourth
Lap 14: Kajaia overtakes Nash for eighth
Lap 19: Tarquini wins the race, but Vernay, Huff and Morbidelli score the points for the top three positions in the championship.

Race 2 – Huff wins the toughest race of the season

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

Rob Huff leaves the current season of the TCR International Series on a high note. The former World Champion claimed victory at Zhejiang Circuit in a race that will be remembered as one of the toughest ever in Touring Car competitions.

The drivers delivered close and thrilling battles for every position and – rather exceptionally – all these clashes, contacts, pushing and paint-swapping did not result in major incidents. All the drivers were able to keep on racing, demonstrating great skill in handling their battered cars.

Gianni Morbidelli finished the race in second position, overtaking James Nash on the last lap. Nash had bravely led most of the race in his SEAT before being forced to concede to the fastest Volkswagen cars.

Alain Menu was fourth in a Hyundai that was hit by an increase in weight and a reduction of power after Tarquini’s display of strength in Race 1.
As far as the title fight was concerned, the event favoured Jean-Karl Vernay who leaves China with a leading margin of 21 points in the Drivers’ championship ahead of Attila Tassi.

RACE TWO:

Grid – Borković, Dupont and Lloyd are missing following damage obtained in Race 1

Start – Vervisch on pole and Nash start well and swerve to the left before Kajaia; there is commotion in the first turns, Nash takes the lead from Kajaia, Vervisch, Tassi, Morbidelli, Oriola and Colciago; Vernay is pushed wide by Comini and drops to 15th

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

Lap 1: Colciago and Huff overtake Oriola for 6th and 7th
Lap 2: Nash pulls away, while Vervisch, Kajaia and Morbidelli have a tough fight behind him; Colciago overtakes Tassi for 5th
Lap 3: Tassi is given a drive-through penalty for a jump start
Lap 4: The fight for second heats up, Vervisch, Morbidelli, Kajaia and Huff make several contacts, eventually Kajaia clashes with Huff and retires

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Lap 5: Huff elbows his way past Morbidelli for third
Lap 6: There are more contacts between Vervisch, Huff and Morbidelli; Huff overtakes Vervisch for second
Lap 7: Menu overtakes Colciago and Oriola for fifth; Vernay overtakes Panis for 10th
Lap 8: Oriola overtakes Colciago for 6th; Tarquini overtakes Colciago for 7th; Vernay overtakes Zhang for 9th
Lap 9: Tarquini overtakes Oriola for 6th

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

Lap 11: Vernay overtakes Colciago for 8th
Lap 12: Tarquini and Menu overtake Vervisch who drops to 7th
Lap 14: Vernay, Vervisch and Colciago collide; Vervisch retires, Vernay pits to replace a wheel
Lap 15: Huff has completely eliminated Nash’s leading gap
Lap 16: Huff overtakes Nash for the lead
Lap 17: Morbidelli overtakes Nash for second; Menu overtakes Tarquini for 4th

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

Lap 18: Oriola overtakes Tarquini for 5th
Lap 19: Huff wins from Morbidelli, Nash, Menu and Oriola; Zhang claims a brilliant 7th position.

Quotes from the podium finishers in the two races

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

Gabriele Tarquini (Winner of Race 1): “What a great weekend for Hyundai, the team and myself. I certainly did not expect that and this will stay as one of the best memories in my career. To win at our debut just proves that the excellent work done pays off. Our pace in Race 1 was great. I was lucky not to be involved in any incidents at the start and to be already 7th in lap 1, having started from P14. I then realized I had a chance to win and pushed hard, despite the fact we had some fears after having encountered problems with the oil radiator in practice and qualifying. Luckily, the issue did not occur again and I could pass everybody and take the lead. In Race 2, of course, we did not have the same pace, with 40 kilos more and 95% of the power, especially towards the end of the race, the car began struggling. The weekend really was not bad for a newcomer to the series. At the end of the day, I am a rookie in TCR!”

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

Rob Huff (Winner of Race 2, 3rd in Race 1): “Race 2 was probably one of the toughest and most aggressive race I have been involved in, but also a very enjoyable one, as we came on top! It was an excellent weekend for the entire Leopard Racing team, the car was very competitive here and the team did a fantastic job. More importantly, Jean-Karl has regained the championship lead and will go to Dubai with a significant advantage. My mission was to help him and I think that I achieved what was expected from me. I won’t be racing in Dubai but I enjoyed very much my stay in the TCR and hope to be back.”

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

Jean-Karl Vernay (2nd in Race 1): “It was a great weekend for us and I am very happy. The car was terrific, and it was important to get the points of the victory in Race 1, which was definitely better than Race 2, which saw too much fighting. We knew the track would suit the Golf, and we used well the opportunity, which allowed us to approach the final round with some confidence, although the job is far from finished.”

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

Gianni Morbidelli (2nd in Race 2): “I am very happy of the weekend, it’s great to see that our season has improved dramatically since Oschersleben and it is important to be finishing on high notes such as today. The races here were fun, but also a little bit dirty, especially Race 2. Some drivers were a little bit over the limit in closing the door, attacking or pushing.”

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

James Nash (3rd in Race 2): “It’s a little bit frustrating to finish Race 2 in third after having led with a 7-second gap, but I really made everything I could. At the beginning, I managed to pass Kajaia and Vervisch to take the lead and pulled away, building quite some gap. But then the others caught me again. I did not make mistakes and had no issues, their pace was simply much faster than mine. There was much rubbing in Race 2, but I am sure it made a great TV show!”

The final two rounds of the 2017 TCR International Series will take place in Dubai, on November 17 and 18.

PHIL’S THOUGHTS…

I have to say that as a fan, follower and blogger of the TCR International Series, that I disagree with the lack of stewards decisions made in light of some of the overtaking that took place and the results of said overtakes.

I agree that Touring Car Racing always has contact and always will do, however the manner that Pepe Oriola was demoted on lap 12 during Race One was in my opnion, punishable. Vernay clearly used the “Nudge” technique to assist his pass on Oriola and this saw the Spaniard run off the road on the Start/Finish straight.

TCR International Series Zhejiang, China 06 - 08 October 2017

Oriola quite rightly moved over to defend his position from Morbidelli on the run to the first turn, however contact again ensued and Oriola into a slid going into the first turn. The fact there was no further action taken sets a precedent and one I think we will see more of in Dubai.

Another example was the determination of Rob Huff in race two. Whilst battling for position at the top of the circuit, Huff made contact with David Kajaia and this saw the Alfa Romeo driver retire two corners later with a damaged right rear wheel. Huff then followed this up with a very elbows out pass on Morbidelli, which saw the Italian sideways and defending from Audi driver Vervisch.

Like I said, I’m all for exciting passes but I’m also for fair passing as well that doesn’t see the other driver retire or lose out on several positions because of that contact and pass.

2017-2017 Zhejiang Race 1---30 Gabriele Tarquini_217

The big news coming in this weekend were the Hyundai’s and I think you’ll agree that they have made their point. Whilst a lot of the development has been done with Gabriele Tarquini involved, adding Alain Menu to the driver lineup for the last two events was inspired.

Until the BoP was invoked for Race Two, both drivers had very good speed and pace and were able to showcase this in Race One very convincingly by moving forward very quickly from 13th and 14th on the grid respectively. Even with an extra 40kgs and 5% less horsepower, Tarquini and Menu still powered forward.

Expect to see quite a few of these out in action next year, I can already hear the phone of Andrea Adamo, Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Manager, ringing off the hook with Sales for 2018…

2017-2017 Zhejiang Race 1---01 Stefano Comini_156

Finally, I feel some of the drivers who suffered a bad weekend need a mention. I include Stefano Comini, Mato Homola amongst quite a few. Comini is in the title hunt and now looks increasingly as if he will have to concede his reign to rival Vernay, but you can bet the Swiss driver wont give up without a fight.

Mato Homola again suffered  engine issues and a puncture during the first race, however the inexplicable decision to add weight to the Opel Astra TCR added to what was a difficult weekend. Both the Hungarian and DG Sport Competition will be out to end the season on a high in Dubai.

Finally… TCR EUROPE TROPHY

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Before that takes place, the best of the Domestic European TCR series drivers will go up against each other to win the prestigious TCR Europe Trophy which takes place at the Adria International Raceway in Italy on 29th October.

This is as close as you’ll get to seeing something similar to the Touring Car World Cup events that took place back in the middle 1990’s and I’m sure its going to be a fantastic event to witness.

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of both the TCR Talk International Facebook Group and the new TCR Talk UK Facebook Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from The TCR International Series, Domestic Series and any news on the TCR UK Series that starts in 2018.

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Please note that all images are used courtesy of WSC/TCR International Series.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

TCR UK appoints Championship Manager

The TCR UK Series has announced the appointment of Jennifer Mouratsing as Championship Manager ahead of the series’ maiden season in 2018.

Jennifer joins TCR UK following nearly three years with the specialist safety equipment company MSAR Safety and latterly seven years at Caterham Motorsport, initially as Championship Coordinator and then as Motorsport Manager.

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Jennifer’s role within TCR UK will be to manage and organise all administrative, logistical and hospitality aspects of the series and be the main point of contact for race organisers, teams and drivers.

 

Jennifer commented: “I heard about the opportunity to work at TCR UK at just the right time; in fact the timing couldn’t have been better. A new opportunity to deliver a high end, low cost championship is exactly what I wanted to get my teeth stuck into.

“I’m looking forward to working with Jonathan and the others at TCR UK to develop this new championship into something that drivers, teams, sponsors and fans can all be proud of for years to come and to help mould it into the championship that they want. It’s exciting to be part of it at this early stage and I can’t wait to get started, there’s a lot to do!”

“I love to deliver professional, well organised events with a personal edge so that they stand out from others. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and also known to be a bit bossy. ‘Herding cats’ is often the phrase used when trying to explain what it’s like to organise a race paddock, but I love cats so I guess that helps…”

TCR International Series Hungaroring, Hungary 16 - 18 June 2017

To give further insight in her career, Jennifer grew up around cars and engines, as her father is a race engineer. He worked for TWR during the team’s heyday of building race-winning Rover Touring Cars, European Touring Cars and the Le Mans-winning Jaguar Group C cars. Unsurprisingly, she’s always been interested in motorsport and starting racing in 2007, continuing for several years. Among her career highlights was finishing 4th in the Classic Graduates Caterham championship in 2010.

During her time at Caterham Motorsport, Jennifer was able to advance the company’s motorsport offering and improve the service offered to competitors and teams. She managed the championship as a whole and ensured that competitors, teams and sponsors received the best experience and value for money possible.

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Jonathan Ashman, TCR UK Promoter, added: “I’m delighted to welcome Jen to the TCR UK team. We only announced our provisional 2018 calendar a week ago and so there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes at the moment.

“Jen joins us at the perfect time and I know from her background that she’ll be invaluable in getting TCR UK off the ground and developing the series in the seasons to come. One of her first tasks will be to set up registrations so that we can start to accept entries.”

2017-2017 Buriram Race 1---Start Race1_7 (1)

This is the second announcement from the TCR UK Series in the last seven days and shows that progress is being made as the series heads towards its starting date of March 2018.

This announcement also means that any teams or drivers who are looking to enter the series next year will be able to register entries soon and this will help to shape how the grid looks in 2018.

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of both the TCR Talk International Facebook Group and the new TCR Talk UK Facebook Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from The TCR International Series, Domestic Series and any news on the TCR UK Series that starts in 2018.

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Please note that all images are used courtesy of WSC/TCR International Series.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

 

2017 TCR European Trophy Details…

WSC, the Promoter of the TCR International Series, has recently released the details of the 2017 TCR European Trophy. So here is a typical TCR Guru preview of the event…

The TCR promoter has unveiled details of the 2017 TCR European Trophy that will take place in a one-off event at Adria International Raceway, Italy, on October 29th.

Eligible drivers

Only the drivers who did take part in at least one TCR event during the 2017 season are eligible for the 2017 TCR European Trophy.

However the drivers classified in the first ten positions of the 2017 TCR International Series, as per 30 September 2017, are not eligible. The promoter reserves the right to allocate Wild Card entries.

Motorsports / ADAC TCR, 5. Event 2016, Nürburgring, GER

Event format

A) Up to 32 entries, the Event format will be similar to that of the TCR International Series, with one Qualifying session split in two parts (Q1 – 30 min + Q2 – 15 min for the 12 fastest cars in Q1) and two Races of 25 minutes + 1 lap each.

B) In case of more than 32 entries, drivers will be split in two groups by the organizer, according to the results achieved during the 2017 season:

The Event format will include two Qualifying sessions of 20 minutes (one per each group), two Qualifying races of 20 minutes + 1 lap (one per each group), one Repechage race of 20 minutes + 1 lap and one Final race of 35 minutes + 1 lap.

Pre-qualifying points

– 1 point per event will be allocated to each driver who did take part in events of the 2017 TCR Regional/National Series or Championships, up to a maximum of 5 points

– 1 point per event will be allocated to each Driver who did take part in the European events of the 2017 TCR International Series

2017-2017 Buriram Race 2---Start Race2_7

Point scoring system

Format A)
– Pre-qualifying points: maximum 5
– Qualifying: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 points to the top five
– Races: 25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 to the top ten
Format B) – points will only count towards the qualification for the Final race
– Pre-qualifying points: maximum 5
– Qualifying race: 25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1 to the top ten

Qualifying races and Repechage

In case of Event Format B, the best ten scorers of each Qualifying Race will qualify for the Final race.
The driver who has scored the highest number of points in the fastest Qualifying Race will win pole position.
Those who have failed to qualify will take part in the Repechage Race; the first six drivers classified will be admitted to the Final Race in the positions from 21 to 26.

Special prize
The winning Driver of the 2017 TCR European Trophy will be awarded with a TCR road car. Further details will be announced in due course.

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Now, after reading into this, there has been a change since the original release sent out in January with the primary change being a move from this original qualification requirement:

Although the 2017 TCR European Trophy will consist of just one event, only competitors who have taken part in the Qualifying Events will be eligible for entering the Adria race meeting.

Competitors may qualify for the 2017 TCR European Trophy by either:

Entering the full season in one of the following TCR National/Regional Series or Championships in Europe: TCR Baltic, TCR Benelux, TCR Germany, TCR Ibérico, TCR Italy, TCR Portugal, TCR Russia, TCR Scandinavia, TCR Spain, 24h Series, 24H TCE Series, VLN

Entering a minimum of four European events of the 2017 TCR International Series from the following: Spa-Francorchamps (6th May), Monza (28th May), Salzburgring (11th June), Hungaroring (2nd July), Oschersleben (9th July).

Qualifying points will be allocated to the competitors who will enter the Adria event.

Five points will be allocated to those who have entered for the full season in one of the aforesaid National/Regional Series or Championships.

One point per event will be allocated to those who have taken part in the aforesaid European events of the 2017 TCR International Series.

2017-2017 Salzburgring Race 2---35 Thomas Jager_185.jpg

Now, with this new change in the format where the drivers classified in the first ten positions of the 2017 TCR International Series, as per 30 September 2017, are not eligible means that the following list of drivers could indeed take part in the TCR Europe Trophy if they wanted to:

Giacomo Altoè
Frédéric Vervisch
Norbert Michelisz
Rob Huff
Daniel Lloyd
Ferenc Ficza
Benjamin Lessennes
Aurélien Panis
Jens Reno Møller
Thomas Jäger
Pierre-Yves Corthals
Edouard Mondron
Jaap van Lagen
Duncan Ende
Tom Coronel
Stian Paulsen
Danny Kroes
Kantadhee Kusiri

Now as you can see there are some names in bold and some names in italics. The names in Bold are the drivers who have joined the TCR International Series this year as remaining full season entries that are outside the top ten in the Drivers Championship.

The names in Italics are the drivers who have take part in the European rounds of the TCR International Series who have the full intention of competing in the TCR Europe Trophy. As you can see there are quite a few big names here that could have a go at this Trophy.

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Add in the fact that if you are a driver who has competed in a Domestic TCR Series, you eligible as well. That’s a lot of possible entries!!!

As you can tell, I’m looking forward to this one and I’ll be watching with interest to see who has entered the Trophy in the coming weeks and how the racing turns out as well at the Adria circuit.

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of both the TCR Talk International Facebook Group and the new TCR Talk UK Facebook Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from The TCR International Series, Domestic Series and any news on the TCR UK Series that starts in 2018.

TCR International Series Spa - Francorchamps 04 - 06 May 2017

Please note that all images are used courtesy of WSC/TCR International Series.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

2018 TCR UK Series Calendar unveiled!!!

WE’VE GOT A CALENDAR!!!

This is it boys and girls, the confirmation of the 2018 TCR UK Series Calendar this morning, outlining when and where the series will visit some of the finest and most diverse circuits in the UK next year!

2017-2017 Buriram Race 1---Start Race1_7 (1)

Here are the details…

2018 TCR UK Calendar:

31st March/1st April: Silverstone
12th/13th May: Knockhill
2nd/3rd June: Brands Hatch
14th/15th July: Castle Combe
4th August: Oulton Park
8th/9th September: Croft
13th/14th October: Donington Park

The provisional calendar for the highly-anticipated 2018 TCR UK racing series has been
unveiled, featuring seven rounds that include races at some of the UK’s best-known
circuits. The new series promises to deliver close, exciting racing with the UK joining
established TCR championships around the globe.

Early interest in the series has been hugely encouraging, prompting the Promoter
Jonathan Ashman to reassure teams that there is no upper limit to the number of possible entries.

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As a result, the format of the race weekends has yet to be confirmed, although
entrants are guaranteed two races even if the number of entries exceeds the grid limits at some of the circuits. There are however two plans in place…

‘Plan A’ will be to follow the Sporting Regulations of the TCR International Series (i.e. Qualifying and two sprint races) with ‘Plan B’ consisting of heats and ‘A’ and ‘B’ finals.

Details of the format for specific race weekends will be published in due course.

Print

The season starts at the ‘Home of British Motorsport’, Silverstone, before heading to
Knockhill in Scotland for the second race weekend. The next races at Brands Hatch in
Kent will please Touring Car fans in the southeast of England, while the fourth event sees
the series visit one of the country’s most popular circuits (judging by the reaction of fans onsocial media): Castle Combe in Wiltshire.

Oulton Park in Cheshire hosts the fifth race weekend, followed in September by races at Croft in North Yorkshire. The season draws to a close at another of the UK’s classic racing circuits, Donington Park in Leicestershire.

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Jonathan Ashman, the Promoter of TCR UK, commented:

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to confirm the calendar so soon after announcing the TCR UK series and I’m extremely grateful to the BRSCC and the circuits for their hard work in agreeing the dates.”

“We’ve been amazed at the response from drivers and teams ever since we made the initial announcement and the unveiling of the calendar means those teams and drivers can now make firm plans for the 2018 season.”

TCR International Series Salzburgring, Austria 9 - 11 June 2017

 

This is exciting news from the TCR UK Series this morning and now means that teams and driver interested in taking part next year can now lay plans/sponsorship/details in place to get a full or part time racing programme in place.

In my opinion what better place than Silverstone to get this series off to a good start and the addition of Castle Combe to the calendar means that that the teams & fans will sample something different to whats seen as the “Usual Nine” on the BTCC Calendar in recent years.

TCR International Series Hungaroring, Hungary 16 - 18 June 2017

With news that SWR, Pyro Motorsport, Team Hard-Brisky Racing and Maximum Motorsport already have TCR cars or have confirmed TCR UK programmes in place, expect a lot more news to follow during what will be an exciting next six months.

Whilst we’ll know the true figure of cars, teams who are running them and drivers who will be behind the wheel when the first round gets underway at Silverstone, today’s announcement is a big step forward for the series.

One final thing…now that the UK series has its first calendar, this also means that we could possibly see some of the TCR International Series Team and Drivers potentially looking to take part on some of the finest circuits in the UK as well…

TCR International Series Monza 12 - 14 May 2017

Now there’s an idea that would work…

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of both the TCR Talk International Facebook Group and the new TCR Talk UK Facebook Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from The TCR International Series and any news on the TCR UK Series that starts in 2018.

Please note that all images are used courtesy of WSC/TCR International Series.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!

 

2017 TCR International Series: Thailand

Has it really been over eight weeks since the last outing in Germany??? Wow…
Well, here’s all the fun and heartbreak from the TCR International Series events from Thailand…


Thailand hosts the TCR International Series for the third time

The TCR International Series will resume this weekend at Buriram’s Chang International Circuit in Thailand, following an eight-week summer break after the meeting in Oschersleben, Germany.

The series visits Buriram for the third time and the Thai event has become one of the favourites for drivers and teams members who appreciate the state-of-the-art Chang International Circuit designed by Hermann Tilke that opened in 2014, but also the warm welcome provided by the local personnel and fans.

The track layout is well-suited to Touring Car competition, providing several overtaking places and corners where three or four cars can run abreast.

TCR series Thailand, Buriram 23 -25 October 2015

In the previous TCR appearances, SEAT drivers have taken the lion’s share of results. In 2015 Pepe Oriola and Stefano Comini took a win apiece; the Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Team posted a 1-2-3 in Race 1 (Oriola, Gené and Afanasyev) and Target Competition then returned a 1-2 in Race 2 with Comini and Hezemans.

TCR International Series, Buriram, Thailand 27 - 28 August 2016

Last year things went even better for Lukoil Craft-Bamboo, with the Oriola-Nash duo on top in Race 1 and the Englishman emerging as the winner in Race 2.

Nine points cover the first four drivers in the standings

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

The fight for the TCR International Series Drivers’ title is as close as ever, with the first four drivers in the standings covered by only nine points.

Scoring one third place in the previous event at Oschersleben enabled Jean-Karl Vernay to reclaim the lead in the classification and now, with 153 points scored so far, the Frenchman has a slim margin of two points ahead of Attila Tassi who had jumped on top of the standings after his home race meeting at the Hungaroring.

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Roberto Colciago and the reigning champion Stefano Comini are currently lying in third and fourth positions, with gaps of eight and nine points. Behind the leading quartet, Pepe Oriola is fifth, but his 110 points are still keeping him well in contention.

To make the situation even spicier, these five drivers are driving four different car models: Volkswagen (Vernay), Honda (Tassi and Colciago), Audi (Comini) and SEAT (Oriola).

All the others competitors have only theoretical chances to fight for the title.

The battle for the Teams’ title seems to be restricted to M1RA (308 points) and Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing (275), while the first three cars in the ‘Model of the Year’ classification – the Honda Civic, SEAT León and Volkswagen Golf GTI – are split by only 51 points.

Success ballast for Morbidelli, Lloyd and Homola

TCR International Series Oschersleben, Germany 08 - 09 July 2017

Gianni Morbidelli’s hat trick at Oschersleben – pole position and two race wins at the wheel of his WestCoast Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI – not only earned him 55 points in the championship, but also the maximum Success Ballast of 30 kilos for the next event at Buriram’s Chang International Circuit.

The second-best scorer in Germany was Lukoil Craft-Bamboo’s Daniel Lloyd who will receive 20 kilos of Success Ballast, while Mat’o Homola of DG Sport Compétition will carry the 10 extra kilos imposed on the third best scorer of the previous event.

As a result, Morbidelli’s Volkswagen will weigh 1295kg (1285kg minimum weight + 30kg Success Ballast – 20kg Balance of Performance adjustment), Lloyd’s SEAT León 1295kg (1285kg + 20kg SB – 10kg BoP) and Homola’s Opel Astra 1305 kg (1285kg + 10kg SB + 10kg BoP).

M1RA Adds Altoe and Michelisz for Thai Races

TCR International Series Buriram, Thailand 01 - 03 September 201

With Roberto Colciago forced to miss this weekend’s TCR International Series race meetin at Buriram’s Chang International Circuit, the M1RA team reacted by entering Giacomo Altoè and Norbert Michelisz alongside Attila Tassi.

Colciago, one of the main contenders for the 2017 Drivers’ title, has been sidelined by medical reasons. In fact the Italian driver has not fully recovered from the incident at the start of the second race at Oschersleben that resulted in three cracked ribs.

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To help Tassi, who is also in contention for the title – he currently lies second in the standings, only two points behind Leopard Racing’s Jean-Karl Vernay – M1RA team owner Norbert Michelisz rejoined the series after having raced at the Hungaroring claiming pole position and finishing second in Race 1. He will be obliged to carry 20 kilos of success ballast because of those results.

Altoè will be driving the team’s third Honda Civic car, following his switch from WestCoast Racing.

TCR Thailand competitors join the International Series field

TCR International Series Buriram, Thailand 01 - 03 September 201

The event in Buriram will also count as rounds 7 and 8 of TCR Thailand and six of the local competitors will join the International Series field. They are split into two classes: PRO and PRO-AM.

Pasarit Promsombat  (RMI Racing Team by Sunoco – SEAT León DSG) is the current leader of the PRO Class; he has won no fewer than nine national titles in different categories, including three in the popular Thailand Super Series.

The other five drivers are all competing in the PRO-AM class that is currently led on equal points by Chariya Nuya (Billionaire Boys Racing – Honda Civic) and Nattanid Lewattanavaragul (Moring Racing – SEAT León DSG). Nuya has already won two rounds of the series at the Chang International Circuit, while Lewattanavaragul won the second race at Bangsaen, becoming the first lady driver to win a round of a TCR national championship.

The field is completed by Nattachak Hanjitkasen (TBN MK Ihere Racing – Honda Civic), Rattanin Leenutaphong (Yontrakit Racing Team – SEAT León DSG) and Malaysia’s Douglas Khoo (Viper Niza Racing – SEAT León) who is an International Series veteran having already joined several times in the two previous years.

A Thai driver for DG Sport Compétition at Buriram

TCR International Series Buriram, Thailand 01 - 03 September 201

DG Sport Compétition has signed a local driver for the next TCR International Series event at Buriram’s Chang International Circuit in Thailand.

It will be Munkong Sathienthirakul – nicknamed ‘Turbo’ – who will sit at the wheel of the Belgian team’s second Opel Astra car, alongside regular driver Mat’o Homola.

One of the top runners in the popular Thailand Super Series, Sathienthirakul was crowned champion of the Super 2000 class in 2015. This will be his third appearance in the TCR International Series as he already took part twice in the Buriram event in previous years. In 2015 he drove a SEAT León for Craft-Bamboo and a Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf last year. His best result was a brilliant 9th place in the 2015 Race 2.

Mat’o Homola places the Opel Astra back on pole

TCR International Series Buriram, Thailand 01 - 03 September 201

Mat’o Homola claimed his third pole position of the season, after those in Bahrain and Austria, at the wheel of his DG Sport Compétition Opel Astra car. The young Slovak topped the timesheet at the end of one of the most thrilling Qualifying sessions ever, that saw many position changes, penalties, red flags and breakdowns.

Eventually, Homola’s fastest lap in Q2 was quicker than James Nash’s by a mere four thousandths of a second, while Norbert Michelisz managed to qualify in third ahead of Jean-Karl Vernay, meaning four different brands – Opel, SEAT, Honda and Volkswagen – fill the first two rows of the grid for tomorrow’s Race 1. Attila Tassi, Vernay’s closest competitor in the title fight, qualified in fifth position.

TCR International Series Buriram, Thailand 01 - 03 September 201

The GE Force Alfa Romeo team suffered the greatest disappointment, as both the team’s drivers – Dušan Borković and Davit Kajaia – were eliminated despite being among the fastest. The Serbian broke his suspension after posting a provisional fastest lap in Q1 and was then not admitted to Q2 for receiving external aid, while his teammate blew the engine at the beginning of Q2.

Local hero Kantadhee Kusiri managed to qualify a brilliant eighth, while Aurélien Panis qualified tenth and won pole position on the reverse grid for Race 2 alongside Stefano Comini. Panis will start from the back of the grid in Race 1 due to an engine change.


Q1: Michelisz beats Homola by three tenths

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It was a frantic start to the session, as very fast laps were clocked straight away. After Nash’s 1:44.121, Kajaia and Borković improved to 1:43.820 and 1:43.631 respectively. However, immediately afterwards the Serbian broke the front suspension after running over a kerb, stopping on the track and so prompting the red flag. Just before the session was suspended, Vernay (1:43.731) and Nash (1:43.971) had moved up to second and fourth.

The session resumed with 13 minutes still on the clock and immediately Oriola posted a new provisional fastest lap of 1:43.478 that was bettered by Vernay’s 1:43.456. As all competitors were eager to improve, Race Control began to disallow times due to disrespect of track limits.

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Vernay improved further to 1:43.447, but with three minutes left, Michelisz stopped the clock at 1:43.315, towing Tassi to set the second fastest lap of 1:43.365. Eventually the young Hungarian was demoted to third when Homola moved up to second with a lap of 1:43.350.

Despite setting the 7th fastest lap, Borković was not allowed to run in Q2 because his car had been towed back to the pits after the breakdown, which promoted Morbidelli to tenth.

The following drivers went through to Q2: Michelisz, Homola, Tassi, Vernay, Oriola, Altoè, Nash, Kajaia, Panis, Comini, Kusiri and Morbidelli.

Among those who failed to make the cut were Huff, Lloyd and Vervisch.

Chariya Nuya set the pole in TCR Thailand, beating Morin Racing’s lady driver Nattanid Leewattanavaragul.

Qualifying 2: Homola sets pole by four thousandths

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The second part of the session began just like the first. Michelisz (1:43.359), Tassi (1:43.322), Nash (1:43.314) and Kajaia (1:43.078) clocked consecutive provisional fastest laps. However, Kajaia’s, Michelisz’s and Tassi’s times were disallowed for infringing track limits. A similar penalty was imposed to Vernay and Oriola.

Homola set a new provisional fastest lap of 1:43.093 just before the session was disrupted by the red flag when Kajaia’s car stopped on the track with a smoking engine.

When the session resumed only three minutes were left, meaning that drivers had only one attempt to improve. Michelisz moved up into provisional second place (1:43.228), but Nash did better (1:43.097), failing to steal pole position from Homola by four thousandths.

Driver quotes after the Qualifying session

TCR International Series Buriram, Thailand 01 - 03 September 201

Mat’o Homola (1st): “Thanks to my team – we had a problem in Q1 and they repaired it quickly to enable me to go through to Q2. In Q2 there was a red flag and there was chaos but I managed to do one good lap and it was enough, so I’m really glad for that. I like this circuit and the car is behaving how I want it to. Everything is okay and so I’m really happy. I know the biggest part of the points comes in the races, not Qualifying, so I’m not really over the moon right now because I know this is just one part of my job and the second comes tomorrow.”

TCR International Series Buriram, Thailand 01 - 03 September 201

James Nash (2nd): “This circuit certainly throws up the odd challenge for me, but the results are always positive. It’s a track that suits my style and I enjoy driving it. Just after setting my best lap time, I hit the brakes for the hairpin at Turn 3, where I had the crash last year, and the driveshaft just snapped. Thankfully, the time was already done but I was only four thousandths from pole so I’m disappointed with that. Looking ahead to tomorrow, my starts have always been pretty good so I’ll do what I normally do and I think I’ve got the race pace to pull away.”

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Norbert Michelisz (3rd): “P3 is okay, but the most important thing was to have the three cars in the top ten. It’s important for the team’s point of view and Attila also managed to get into the top five, so overall I’m really proud of the guys. I think we showed great teamwork in Qualifying and we helped each other with slipstreaming so I’m really happy. If you are on pole, it’s less risk for one race but if you are on the third row there is risk because you can suffer some damage if someone comes from the back. I would have preferred Attila to have been on the front row, but if everything goes well he has the possibility of being on the podium twice tomorrow.”

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Aurelien Panis (10th): “It was a perfect result for us because of the penalty for the engine change after Oschersleben, so our goal was P10 and that was what we did. I’m very happy; the team did a great job and the car was very nice to drive. Pole position for Race 2 means we are all very happy. My goal will be to make a good start and I have Race 1 in which to practice a bit. It will be important not to make any mistakes in Race 1 and then I can focus on race 2. The level in TCR is very high, so I am happy to be with them and I think it will be a great fight.”

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Chariya Nuya (19th & 1st TCR Thailand): “I feel very happy to be the first driver in the TCR Thailand category. I did my best, but it wasn’t enough to be with the International Series drivers. I need to spend a lot more time in the car to practice if I’m to be able to compete with them. The car is good and works very well and I will try my best in the two races tomorrow.”

Michelisz and Panis make a Honda double win in Thailand
Tassi leads the championship by 2 points ahead of Vernay

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Buriram’s Chang International Circuit had never been successful for the Honda drivers in the two previous visits of the TCR International Series to Thailand. Today the luck of the men at the wheel of the Civic cars changed – and then some!

Not only did Norbert Michelisz (M1RA) and Aurélien Panis (Boutsen Ginion Racing) share race victories, but Michelisz’s teammates Giacomo Altoè and Attila Tassi were both able to finish on the podium and the young Hungarian has jumped back on top of the championship standings as a result.

The first race was one of the liveliest ever, bestowing both honours and tears in almost equal measure. It was a bitter end to the race for Mat’o Homola, DG Sport Compétition and the Opel Motorsport technicians who saw a well deserved first victory vanishing on the last-but-one lap because of a blown tyre.

TCR International Series Buriram, Thailand 01 - 03 September 201

Lukoil Craft-Bamboo, too, had reasons to lament as both James Nash and Pepe Oriola were stopped by technical failures while they were still fighting for the podium positions. Oriola’s withdrawal with a broken gearbox was especially painful, because it sidelined the Spaniard in Race 2 and so greatly compromised his hopes to fight for the title.

While some were weeping, M1RA – with Michelisz and Tassi first and third – and GE Force, with Dušan Borković second after a recovery, were over the moon. However, the Italo-Georgian team has some regrets, because Borković showed a pace that could have resulted in victory without his incident in yesterday’s Q1.

In the second race, Panis took an authoritative lights-to-flag victory, although a part of the credit goes to his crew that managed to solve a throttle issue on the starting grid. Altoè claimed his first TCR International podium on his maiden appearance at the wheel of a M1RA Honda, while Stefano Comini salvaged a third place that helps him to stay in contention for the title, third in the standings and 14 points from the leader.

Race 1 – Michelisz inherits the win as Homola stops

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Mat’o Homola was on the verge of claiming his maiden win at the wheel of the DG Sport Compétition Opel Astra when he was forced to retire with a blown front tyre with only two laps to go. This is the second consecutive race in which the young Slovak has lost a victory in the final moments, after he was passed by Gianni Morbidelli on the last lap of Oschersleben’s Race 2.

As a result, Norbert Michelisz – who was not even expected to race in Thailand – gratefully inherited his first victory in the TCR International Series. The Hungarian ace, called in at the last minute to replace the injured Roberto Colciago, was driving with one eye on the rear view mirror to check how his M1RA Racing teammate Attila Tassi was performing while defending himself from the attacks of Jean-Karl Vernay.

Eventually he found himself the winner with Tassi in third, so claiming two of the podium places for the Honda Civic. Second place went to the Alfa Romeo of an ecstatic Dušan Borković who completed a fantastic recovery from 13th on the grid. An even better performance came from his teammate Davit Kajaia, who recovered from 23rd to 8th.

After being so competitive in previous years here at Buriram, Lukoil Craft-Bamboo suffered setbacks as both James Nash and Pepe Oriola retired while they were fighting for the podium positions.

RACE ONE:

Grid: Panis and Kajaia are at the back of the grid following engine changes
Start: Homola sprints from pole and takes the lead, followed by Michelisz and Nash

2017-2017 Buriram Race 1---Start Race1_7 (1)

Lap 1: Tassi overtakes Nash for third
Lap 2: Vernay and Nash swap positions twice, Nash retains third place, Oriola follows them in fifth
Lap 4: Nash outbrakes himself at T1 and drops to fifth behind Vernay and Oriola; Borković overtakes Altoè for 7th
Lap 5: Morbidelli overtakes Vervisch for 9th

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Lap 6: Vernay and Oriola are chasing Tassi
Lap 7: Oriola overtakes Vernay for fourth; Nash retires with a broken driveshaft
Lap 8: There are contacts in a four way fight for second place, Michelisz is followed by Oriola, Tassi and Vernay; Borković overtakes Vernay for fifth
Lap 9: Borković overtakes Tassi for fourth

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Lap 10: Tassi is chased by Vernay, Altoè, Morbidelli and Huff; Huff and Morbidelli make contact
Lap 12: Morbidelli runs wide at T1 and drops to 11th behind Huff, Comini and Kajaia; Lloyd overtakes Morbidelli for 11th; Promsombat hits a pile of tyres and retires while leading TCR Thailand
Lap 13: Homola retires from the lead with a blown front left tyre ; Michelisz leads from Oriola and Borković

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Lap 14: Oriola stops on the track from second with a gearbox failure; Michelisz wins from Borković; Tassi retains third place despite a contact with Vernay at the last turn; Nuya wins the TCR Thailand race from Lewattanavaragul and Leenutaphong

Race 2 – Panis victorious for Boutsen Ginion

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In only his second appearance in the TCR International Series, Aurélien Panis scored his maiden victory at the wheel of the Honda Civic car run by Boutsen-Ginion Racing.

It was a lights-to-flag victory for the young Frenchman who took the lead at the start and built a small cushion between himself and Giacomo Altoè, who finished second.
It was a result to remember for the Italian teenager as well, after he had switched to a M1RA Honda Civic only on the eve of the Thai event.

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Despite losing one place to Altoè at the start, Stefano Comini managed to collect a third place that keeps his chances of winning a third consecutive title well alive.

Attila Tassi finished fourth, ahead of Jean-Karl Vernay in fifth, and this helped the Hungarian to reclaim the lead in the standings, albeit only two points ahead of Vernay.
Actually Tassi’s margin could had been larger without a technical failure that stopped Norbert Michelisz on the last lap which prevented him from finishing fifth ahead of Vernay.

RACE TWO:

Grid – Oriola (5th) is missing, following the gearbox failure suffered in Race 1
Start – Panis starts well from pole and leads from Altoè, Comini and Tassi

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Lap 1 – Comini and Tassi are in a close fight for second
Lap 2 – Vernay overtakes Nash for 7th; there is a four-way battle for 9th between Huff, Borković, Homola and Kajaia
Lap 4 – Vernay overtakes Kusiri for 6th; Nash hits Kusiri who drops to 11th
Lap 5 – Borković overtakes Huff for 8th; Nuya leads in TCR Thailand but is chased by Leewattanavaragul

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Lap 6 – Hanjitkasen overtakes Leenutaphong for third in TCR Thailand
Lap 8 – Vernay is chasing Michelisz for fifth; Borković overtakes Nash for 7th
Lap 9 – Homola dives inside Kusiri, but goes wide; Ende overtakes Vervisch for 16th
Lap 10 – Vervisch retakes 16th from Ende

TCR International Series Buriram, Thailand 01 - 03 September 201

Lap 11 – Kajaia retires from 10th with a flat front tyre
Lap 12 – Leewattanavaragul attacks Nuya’s leadership in TCR Thailand
Lap 13 – Smoke comes out of Michelisz’s car

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Lap 14 – Michelisz slows, Vernay moves up to fifth; Panis wins from Altoè and Comini; Nuya encores in TCR Thailand, beating Leewattanavaragul and Promsombat

Quotes from the podium finishers in the two races

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Norbert Michelisz (1st in Race 1): “I’m absolutely over the moon! Before the weekend, we didn’t really expect to win races to be honest. The Civic is carrying a lot of weight but we did some great work and the team found a good balance. I’m really happy for Attila because he scored the most points and I’m also happy for Giacomo, because I think he can be proud of himself. We knew what we had to do in Qualifying and both races went well. I had luck because Homola suffered a puncture. I could see that he was pushing and so I followed him to increase the pressure, but I could see in the mirror that Attila might need some help so I dropped back. Oriola was too close and so it didn’t work as well as it might, but at the end it is how it is and so I’m happy for the team.”

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Aurélien Panis (1st in Race 2): “I knew before the races that our pace was really good, because in Free Practice and Qualifying was really fast but we didn’t get the perfect lap to be in front. P10 and so start Race 2 from pole position was the best possible qualifying result for us. I must say thank you to the team because the car was great to drive. I’m very happy to be in TCR International and to win today. For the young drivers it’s a really good series and it’s great to be fighting with the top drivers like Michelisz, Vernay or Comini. The level is very high and for that reason I’m very happy to win today.”

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Dušan Borković (2nd in race 1): “I was really disappointed after Qualifying because of what happened. To start from the middle of the grid is always difficult but I had an okay start and I was able to attack. On some circuits the car is good and in others we need to improve it, particularly in slow and medium corners, but the team did a really good job this weekend. The brakes were good in Race 1 and I decided not to change them, but I started locking up in Race 2 and so I had to be careful. Luckily the Alfa is a little bit faster on the straights and so I could keep Nash and Huff behind me. I’m not really focusing on the championship, but I know I’m not far behind Oriola now.”

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Giacomo Altoè (2nd in race 2): “It’s unbelievable – I’m so happy. The car was perfect and this was a really good result for me and for the team. I feel really at home with this team and with JAS. After this result, maybe a victory is possible, so I will try the maximum to achieve it. I’m taking things race by race and my priority has to be to help M1RA to win the team’s championship.”

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Attila Tassi (3rd in race 1): “This weekend couldn’t have been any better. It all came together in Race 1 and we had a good first lap. I overtook Vernay after the start and went around the outside of Nash at Turn 3. After that, it was tough as I fought with Vernay for 14 laps and had to manage my tyres. Norbi tried to help me once, but Oriola and Vernay were right behind me and it was a big risk. I lost two positions and then Borković came with the Alfa. P1 and P3 for M1RA was really good for the drivers’ and teams’ standings. In Race 2, I had another good start and then Norbi was behind me so it was a bit safer than Race 1. There was a good fight with Comini on the first lap and I always enjoy fighting with him, it was a lot of fun.”

TCR International Series Buriram, Thailand 01 - 03 September 201

Stefano Comini (3rd in race 2): “This wasn’t exactly what I needed, to be honest. I wanted to leave here leading the championship, but we didn’t have the pace. I ruined the first start and lost many positions. I only wanted to avoid contact to secure the car for Race 2. The second start was a little difficult as it took a bit too long and I was worried about the engine temperature and the clutch. It was a tough race as I wanted to preserve the tyres but it was a good race for me. It’s a bit more complicated now, but it’s still open. We need to work with Audi ahead of China but I’m fairly happy.”

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The TCR International Series will resume in China, at the brand new Zhejiang Circuit, on October 7 and 8.

TCR Thailand – Nuya wins two from Lewattanavaragul

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For the second consecutive year, TCR Thailand’s competitors raced together with the International Series at Buriram’s Chang International Circuit.

Chariya Nuya scored a double victory in the Billionaire Boys Racing Honda Civic, which helped him to take the lead in the series’ Pro Am class, 11 points ahead of Morin Racing’s Nattanid Lewattaravanagul. The lady driver proved to be fast and tough enough to make Nuya’s life hard in both races, finishing twice a very close second.

TCR International Series Buriram, Thailand 01 - 03 September 201

Despite the fact that he was forced to retire in Race 1 Pasarit Promsombat (RMI Racing SEAT León) clinched the title in the Am class with one event still to go.

In Race 1, Promsombat took the lead from Nuya on lap 3, however with only three laps to go he hit a pile of tyre and retired. Nuya inherited the lead and crossed the finishing line first, only three seconds ahead of Leewattanavaragul. Rattanin Leenutaphong completed the podium at the wheel of his Yotrakit Racing Team SEAT León.

Nuya led the whole second race, but he had to fight hard to defend his lead from the attacks of Lewattanavaragul who was chasing him within striking distance. Behind them, Nattachak Hanjitkasen (TBN MK Ihere Racing Honda) overtook Leenutaphong for third on lap 6; on lap 11 Leenutaphong lost also fourth position to Promsombat.
The fight for third was white-hot and eventually Promsombat managed to clinch it on the last lap from Leenutaphong and Hanjitkasen.

TCR International Series Buriram, Thailand 01 - 03 September 201

A delighted Nuya commented: “I’m very happy with the results in both races. I did my best, but it wasn’t enough to fight with the International Series drivers. My ambition is to maybe move up from TCR Thailand into TCR Asia or even higher. I will need to talk to my sponsor about that, but this weekend and the race results have helped.”

The TCR Thailiand championship will return to Buriram for its final race meeting on September 23 and 24.

Finally two great updates that once again prove TCR is the place to be in Touring Cars…

Giovanardi’s Racing Comeback in TCR Italy

Superstars Series Vallelunga (ITA) 09 - 10 10 2010

Fabrizio Giovanardi returns to Touring Car competition the TCR Italy event at Vallelunga on September 24. Three years after his latest appearance in the BTCC, the former European, British and Italian champion will sit at the wheel of a SEAT León TCR run by BF Racing, sharing driving duties with Alessandro Thellung.

Giovanardi tested the car at Vallelunga last week, completing 40 laps with promising lap times.

DallAntonia-Piccin (BF Racing,Seat Leon Racer-TCR #7)

“I am surely not racing just to make up the numbers. It is a one-off appearance and it can’t be more than that, for the time being. I decided to race only after I had the opportunity to test the car, because I want to be competitive,” said Giovanardi.

Talking of the SEAT TCR that is fitted with a DGS gearbox, Giovanardi commented: “It is a very honest car. It has more power than the SuperTouring and S2000 cars, but the chassis feels much better. The DSG gearbox does not allow you to attack as much as you would like and you have to get used to it. But, apart from that, it is a pleasure to drive.”

Hyundai i30 N TCR set for TCR International Series Debut

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The Hyundai i30 N TCR will enter both remaining rounds of the 2017 TCR International Series season, starting with the one at Zhejiang Circuit in China.

Two cars will be run by BRC Racing, Hyundai Motorsport’s development partner on the i30 N TCR, for Gabriele Tarquini and Alain Menu. The team intends to use the experience gained from the race weekends to finalise the set-up for the car ahead of the first chassis being produced for customers.

Tarquini, the lead test driver for the project, will continue his work at the wheel of the i30 N TCR as one of the drivers for both of the TCR International Series events.

Throughout the testing phase the former World Touring Car champion’s expertise has proved invaluable in helping the team during the development phase. The second car will be driven by Alain Menu who brings further experience to the team, adding to considerable expertise of his new teammate. The additional input from a second, very experienced driver, will help the team continue to improve the set-up of the car through the final part of the year as Hyundai Motorsport’s attention turns to delivering completed chassis to customers, starting in early December.

ADAC GT Masters, 9. + 10. Lauf - Nürburgring 2017 - Foto: Gruppe C Photography

Both drivers completed a two-day test last week in Valencia, conducting final preparations on the new chassis they will drive in China. Both i30 N TCR cars sported the race colour scheme that brings together the N logo and Hyundai Motorsport’s traditional colours.

Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “The debut in the TCR International Series is a big moment for the project. Coming in China, alongside the TCR Asia and TCR China series, the weekend is the ideal event to show the potential of the i30 N TCR to teams and drivers. The look of the cars ties the i30 N TCR very closely to the N line-up of road models, so a strong performance would promote both the racecar and the standard models”

Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Manager Andrea Adamo said: “Bringing the i30 N TCR to the TCR International Series for the final events of the season is a very important moment for all of Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing. The weekend in China comes at a crucial time of the year, as teams and drivers are now planning their campaigns for the 2018 season. To be able to show the performance of the i30 N TCR at the highest level is a big opportunity for us. However, the races also give us the chance to continue our development work.”

TCR International Series Buriram, Thailand 01 - 03 September 201

One final thing I’m going to add here is that as a long time Vauxhall/Opel fan in Touring Car racing over the years, I was devastated as I watched on Sunday Morning Mat’o Homola’s retirement from race one. I mean, what has this poor guy got to do to win a race a 2017!! What ever it is, he needs to find it!!

That Opel Astra is more than capable of taking a win and the proof is there after its been qualified on pole position on three occasions this year. Both Homola and DG Sport Compeition have four chances left to give the car its first win and I am confident that this will happen.

When it does, be assured, there will be tears from this long time Vauxhall/Opel fan!!

As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of both the TCR Talk International Facebook Group and the new TCR Talk UK Facebook Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from The TCR International Series and any news on the TCR UK Series tat starts in 2018.

Until next time, all the best!

Phil!!!