TCR Series round up: 15-21 April 2019

by Phil Kinch

During 2019, The Checkered Flag is rounding up the news and results from the various TCR Series around the world on a weekly basis.

This weeks review includes The 2019 TCR Russia Touring Car Series, The 2019 TCR Scandinavia Touring Car Championship, The 2019 24H Creventic Endurance Championship, The 2019 TCR UK Touring Car Championship, The 2019 TCR Australia Touring Car Series and The 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series.

Here’s a look at all of the action and announcements from the last seven days.

Lukoil Racing to run three different model of cars

Credit: Lukoil Racing Team / TCR Russia

Lukoil Racing unveiled its programme in the TCR Russia series; the team will continue to field three cars, but this year they will be three different models.

All the three drivers from the second half of the 2018 season have been confirmed: the veteran Aleksey Dudukalo, the young gun Ivan Lukaschevich and Andrej Maslennikov. Dudukalo, who was classified twice second (in 2016 and 2018) and once third (2017) in the championship, will stay at the wheel of an Audi RS 3 LMS like last year.

Maslennikov, who joined the team halfway through the 2018 season, will be driving a CUPRA that has been upgraded with the sequential gearbox. Lukaschevich, who was an impressive rookie last year scoring one victory and finishing fourth in the standings, will switch to a Hyundai i30 N instead.

Filippi to debut in TCR Europe with BRC Racing Team

BRC Racing Team. Credit: Thomas Fenetre / DPPI

The entry list for the 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series has taken another twist, with the announcement of former single-seater expert Luca Filippi joining the field.

The move takes on a more interesting twist as the Italian driver will be driving for BRC Racing Team, who are already committed to a four-car Hyundai effort in this years FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR).

Filippi’s debut will come in the season opener at the Hungaroring on the weekend of April 27-28 when TCR Europe runs alongside WTCR and the new TCR Eastern Europe Series.

Having already competed in both WTCR and TCR Italy in previous seasons and been responsible for the development of the Hyundai i30 N TCR, BRC Racing Team will be well placed to challenge for both titles in this year’s series.

Dahlgren fastest in TCR Scandinavia pre-season test

Robert Dahlgren. Credit: TCR Scandinavia Media

PWR Racing’s Robert Dahlgren emerged as the fastest driver in the TCR Scandinavia pre-season test day at Ring Knutstorp.

After being slowed by a technical issue in the morning session, Dahlgren and his CUPRA set the best time of the day in the afternoon 1:00.125, which was faster by only seventeen thousandths than the lap of 1:00.142 posted by Mattias Andersson’s Honda Civic FK2.

Third fastest in the day was Brink Motorsport’s young rookie Hannes Morin in his Audi RS 3 LMS. The 16-year-old’s best effort was 1:00.167 a bit faster than his teammate and principal Tobias Brink’s 1:00.244.

The top ten were rounded off by Jocke Mangs in the Brovallen Motorsport Audi, Andreas Ahlberg in the Kågered Racing Volkswagen, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinski in the second PWR Racing entry, Tomas Engström in the second Kågered Racing entry, Albin Wärnelöv in the Experion Racing Golf and Andreas Wernersson in the third Brink Motorsport Audi.

Nathan Morton joins HMO Customer Racing for TCR Australia

Nathan Morcom in the HMO Customer Racing Hyundai. Credit: TCR Hub / TCR Australia

HMO Customer Racing announced that Nathan Morcom will drive one of the two Hyundai i30 N entries in the 2019 TCR Australia Touring Car Series.

Morcom brings a wealth of racing experience to the team, with starts in the Dunlop Super2 Series in 2018 and 2017, as well as an Australian Endurance Championship and a third-place finish in the Australian GT Championship in 2016.

He has also taken part in GT races across Europe and Asia, as well as racing in Formula Ford in Australia and the US, Australian Formula 3 and New Zealand’s Toyota Racing Series.

Morcom has been active throughout the past two months in the Hyundai i30 N machine, with a special guest appearance in the Ultimate Speed Comparison at the F1 Australian Grand Prix as well as recent testing at Sydney Motorsport Park.

John Martin joins Wall Racing to drive a Honda Civic

Taylor-CastleCombe2018-TCRUK

Martin will drive the second Wall Racing Honda Civic. Credit: TCR UK Touring Car Championship.

Australian international driver John Martin will team up with Tony D’Alberto at Wall Racing. The 34-year-old Queenslander is the second confirmed driver for driving the team’s Honda Civic cars.

Martin is one of Australia’s most experienced international drivers. In 2007 he headed to England for racing in British Formula Ford and British Formula Three. He continued to race single-seaters for several seasons, competing in A1GP, Formula Renault 3.5 and Superleague Formula before switching to international Sportscar racing.

Martin will get the chance to test the Honda at Winton on April 30.

“The category is massive in Europe. I was over there when it first started and I’ve watched a fair bit of the racing, It’s very exciting, door to door battles and that’s what people want to see. The other lure for me is that it’s an international class,” said Martin.

“There’s nothing stopping us from going to Asia or Europe and racing these exact same cars on some of the world’s best circuits. That definitely played a part in my decision.”

PCR Sport expand for two car assault on TCR Europe

PCR Sport. Credit: WSC Ltd / TCR Europe Touring Car Series

PCR Sport have confirmed that they will return to the TCR Europe Touring Car Series for the 2019 season with an expanded two-car lineup.

After taking Mikel Azcona to the 2018 Drivers Title last year, the team will run two CUPRA TCR machines under two different names.

Georgia’s Davit Kajaia returns to TCR Competition after a sabbatical year, where he will drive a CUPRA run by the Spanish outfit under the banner of PCR Sport with Georgia.

The second CUPRA TCR will be run by the team on behalf of Qatar’s Motorsport Authority QMMF. Triple Qatar Touring Car Champion Abdulla Ali Al-Khelaifi will make his debut in TCR Europe under the banner of QMMF Racing.

The 29-year-old driver from Doha was also a class winner in the 2017 Spa-Francorchamps 12-hour race.

Swift returns to TCR UK at Oulton Park

Carl Swift. Credit: BRSCC / TCR UK

Carl Swift has become the latest driver to confirm an entry for the 2019 TCR UK Touring Car Championship. Swift will enter the first round, at Oulton Park on May 11, driving the same CUPRA car he used in last year.

A clash with a prior commitment means Swift will be forced to miss the second round of the series, but the 36-year old is hopeful of continuing his campaign later in the season, depending on results at Oulton Park. Last year’s event at the Cheshire circuit saw Carl crash out of the opening lap of the first race in an incident involving the Alfa Romeo Giulietta of Robert Gilmour.

Swift contested five of last year’s seven events, missing the Croft round because of the damage inflicted at Oulton Park while converting the CUPRA from DSG to sequential transmission meant he was also forced to skip Knockhill.

His best result was a podium finish in Race 2 at Castle Combe, which helped him to end the season in ninth place in the Drivers’ standings.

The Red Camel-Jordan CUPRA wins the 12H TCE round at Spa

The Red Camel-Jordans.nl CUPRA Credit: Creventic

The orange CUPRA run by Red Camel-Jordans.nl won the 12H Spa-Francorchamps, the third event of the 24H TCE Series and the second awarding point towards the European title.

The Dutch team of Ivo and Rik Breukers with Francis Tjia had finished fourth on Friday in the 4-hour first part of the race, but they recovered in Saturday’s 8-hour leg and emerged on top after a breathtaking fight with the Autorama Motorsport Volkswagen Golf GTI and the AC Motorsport Audi RS 3 LMS that had classified second and first on Friday.

In the end, Ivo Breukers crossed the finishing line almost a full lap ahead of Fabian Danz who shared the Autorama Motorsport by Wolf-Power Racing Golf with Jan Sorensen and Kristian Jepsen.

Stéphane Perrin drove the AC Motorsport Audi to finish third; despite holding the lead at the end of leg one, Perrin and his co-drivers Vincent Radermecker and James Kaye were still pleased to finish on the podium after a huge crash during Thursday’s test required the front end of the car to be completely rebuilt overnight.

Ladygin and Bragin share the spoils at Fort Grozny

Kirill Ladygin and Reigning champion Dmitry Bragin took a win apiece in TCR Russia’s season-opening event at Fort Grozny.

Ladygin converted his pole position into a comfortable win as team-mate Mikhail Grachev took second place to make a brilliant 1-2 finish for the LADA Sport Rosneft team. The podium was completed by Lukoil Racing’s Andrej Maslennikov who carried out a great recovery after starting from ninth on the grid.

Bragin made a brilliant comeback on his first appearance at the wheel of a Hyundai i30 N and finished sixth after dropping to the back of the field following a spin on lap one. He also set the fastest lap in the process, scoring one additional point.

Bragin made up for a disappointing qualifying and an early spin in Saturday’s race and claimed a lights-to-flag victory in Fort Grozny’s second race.

Bragin kept control and won from Dudukalo, Grachev and Ladygin, while Irek Minnakhmetov won the close battle for fifth from Anton Badoev, Mikhail Mityaev, Lukashevich, Chubarov and Maslennikov. Race 1 winner Ladygin leaves the venue as Championship leader with TCR Russia resuming at Nizhniy Novgorod for rounds 3 and 4 on May 17-19.

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