An entry list has been released ahead of the first round of the TCR Middle East Series at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix venue this weekend. Despite a calendar reshuffle to tempt more teams in from the Dubai 24 Hours, the first round will see a relatively small total of 11 cars take to the track – an improvement of only 2 over last years’ largest grid.
Italian TCR champions Pit Lane Competizioni will form the larger part of the field with a total of 3 Audi’s and a pair of Volkswagen’s entered, largely consisting of cars from the TCR Academy in Adria, each equipped with the lesser popular DSG gearbox.
Brothers Giacomo and Giovanni Altoe will take an Audi each with TCS Italy front-runner Alberto Vescovi in the third. Jordi Oriola will meanwhile return to TCR machinery following a year away from the sport with Mat’o Homola alongside him in the other Golf.
The team are currently working on getting a third Volkswagen Golf onto the grid as they negotiate terms with a couple more drivers, although further details are yet to be disclosed.
Liqui Moly Team Engstler are set to return to the series with 4 Golf’s having won the teams’ title last year. Their line-up will feature Florian Thoma and Luca Engstler, returning to sprint racing off the back of a win in the TCR class last weekend in the Dubai 24 Hours. Engstler is also a previous winner in the series following victory in the opening race on his TCR debut last year.
TCR Germany midfielder Kai Jordan and a fourth driver, set to be announced shortly, will complete the line-up as the team prepare to go head-to-head with Pit Lane Competizioni in their battle to retain the teams’ title.
The field is completed by a solitary SEAT from Mouhritsa Racing Team, entered for Middle-East touring car specialist Costas Papantonis, and a sixth Golf for Serbian touring car driver Martin Ryba at Brutal Fish Racing Team, ensuring a quality field despite the small-scale entry list.
The season will kick-off this weekend at the Yas Marina Circuit with Free Practice and Qualifying taking place on the Friday whilst the 2 races will be held on Saturday at 11:00 and 14:25 (GMT+4), the customary race day in the Middle-East region.