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 Asia International Series, The 2019 TCR China Touring Car Championship, The 2019 TCR Scandinavia Touring Car Championship, The 2019 TCR UK Touring Car Championship, The 2019 TCR Australia Touring Car Series, The 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series, The 2019 Nürburgring 24 hours and The 2019 Super Taikyu Endurance Series.
Here’s a look at all of the action and announcements from the last seven days.
Sunny Wong joins Alex Hui for TCR Asia at Shanghai
Sunny Wong will be on the grid this weekend for the third round of the 2019 TCR Asia International Series at Shanghai, pairing up with his 2018 TCR China co-champion Alex Hui in one of Teamwork Motorsport’s two Audi RS 3 LMS cars.
Wong, whose main programme this year is with the new Teamwork Huff Motorsport squad in the TCR UK Touring Car Championship, stands in for Cherry Cheung who raced the car last time out at Zhuhai.
“It’s great to be back racing in TCR Asia-China, and to be racing with Alex again,” he said. “My programme this year is pretty hectic, racing both in the UK and also with GT in Germany in preparation for the Nürburgring 24 Hours, so a ‘local’ race will be a refreshing change of pace,” said Wong.
“It’ll also be interesting to race the Audi after most of my TCR miles have been in the Volkswagen Golf. I drove the Audi in the 24H Dubai race in January, but this will be my first time racing with the Audi in a sprint race capacity.”
Ara and Tassi join Honda TCR teams for the Fuji 24-hour
The 24-Hour Race at Fuji Speedway, the third round of the 2019 Super Taikyu Endurance Series has attracted some important guest stars.
The most distinguished among them is two-time Le Mans winner Seiji Ara who will share the RFC Racing Honda Civic with former F3000 Japan champion and Le Mans class winner Toshio Suzuki. They join the team’s regulars Jun Fuji and Takahisa Oono.
KCMG has invited WTCR racer Attila Tassi and 2018 Asia Le Mans LMP3 runner-up Josh Burdon to drive its Civic, sharing duties with TCR Japan points leader Matthew Howson, team principal Paul Ip and Jim Ka To. Defending champions Modulo Racing with Dome have added Super GT race winner Tomoki Nojiri to the usual quartet of Shinji Nakano, Tadao Uematsu, Hiroki Otsu and Mitsuhiro Endo.
Audi is represented by the three teams that lead the Super Taikyu standings will all fight for victory in the Fuji race: Birth Racing Project (‘Hirobon’-Shinohara-Matsumoto-T. Okumura-Oota), Team Mars (Okajima-Kato-Shimoyama-Imamura-Matsui) and Team DreamDrive (Takeda-Shirasaka-Tagahara-Y. Okumura).
Hyundai unveils driver line-up for Nürburgring 24 hours
Hyundai Motorsport unveiled its driver line up for the ADAC 24H Rennen that will take place at the Nürburgring Nordschleife in June.
The team will enter one i30 N TCR and one Veloster N TCR in the June event. Driving duties in the two cars will be split between seven drivers, each of who has been a part of the team at events already this year. This includes all six drivers involved in the strong run at the Qualifying Race earlier this month.
The decision confirms Andreas Gülden, Manuel Lauck, Moritz Oestreich and Peter Terting for a second Nürburgring 24 Hours with the Hyundai Motorsport team.
Former overall winner Marc Basseng and Nico Verdonck continue with the team following their appearances in the VLN and Qualifying Race events. The formation for the race is completed by Harald Proczyk, the defending TCR Germany champion.
Fox Motorsport confirm TCR UK entry
The 2019 TCR UK Touring Car Championship gained a new entry with the announcement that Fox Motorsport will make their touring car debut in the series at Donington Park next month.
The international GT race-winning team from Essex confirmed that reigning Ginetta GT5 Am champion Nick Halstead will drive a Honda Civic FK2 TCR in a limited programme. This gets underway on the Grand Prix layout of the Leicestershire venue, where TCR UK supports the British GT Championship.
Halstead has tested the car during the winter and is eager to get into the action next month at Donington Park, where he will also compete in the GT5 Challenge over the same weekend.
Kent confirms TCR Europe Wildcard entry
TCR UK stalwart Lewis Kent has announced that he will be competing in the next round of the 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series, which takes place in Belgium on June 8-9.
He will race alongside the fleet of Hyundai teams already in action, including the likes of Target Competition, M1RA Motorsport, M Racing and BRC Racing outfits, taking the total number of Hyundai’s to eleven for this event. Kent will also join fellow British drivers Josh Files and Daniel Lloyd on the grid.
“I have been looking forward to the Spa event since it was announced that TCR UK was going to join TCR Europe there. Since then, TCR UK has been undergoing changes but we as a team were set on joining the grid for that weekend, and hopefully, others later in the year depending on how this one goes,” said Kent.
Jessica Bäckman to race at Anderstorp in TCR Scandinavia
Jessica Bӓckman will compete in the 2019 TCR Scandinavia Touring Car Championship this weekend at Anderstorp, marking two firsts – bringing the Hyundai brand onto the grid for the first time and the highest number and proportion of female racing drivers in history for the region.
Fresh off the back of a stunning first podium in the TCR Europe Series last weekend at Hockenheim, Bӓckman will race her Target Competition Hyundai i30 N in the series, with the South Korean marque competing in the championship for the first time against the field of Honda, Volkswagen, CUPRA and Audi cars.
Bӓckman joins fellow female racers Louise Frost and Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky on the grid this weekend, the first time three women have raced at the same time in Scandinavian touring car history.
Garth Tander joins TCR Australia at Phillip Island
Touring Car ace Garth Tander will compete in the second round of the 2019 TCR Australia Touring Car Series at Phillip Island this weekend. The Victorian, who has won every major Australian motorsport championship and trophy worth winning, will drive one of the brand-new Audi RS 3 LMS cars for the Melbourne Performance Centre team.
Tander is part of Australian motorsport royalty, having won the Bathurst 1000 three-times, a Supercars Champion (2007) and the Bathurst 24 Hour endurance race. He also sits fourth on the all-time list of Supercars Championship race wins. This will be Tander’s first time that he has ever raced a front-wheel drive race car.
“I’m looking forward to it. I was a keen observer of the first round in Sydney, so to get my opportunity to drive a brand new Audi at Phillip Island is fantastic. It will be different to drive than anything I’ve done before so it will be a challenge to get my head around it. I’ve never raced a front wheel drive car before. That will be the main thing to get across,” said Tander.
Lloyd and Engstler dominate in Shanghai
Daniel Lloyd and Luca Engstler dominated the joint TCR Asia/TCR China weekend at the Shanghai International Circuit, where both men extended their respective championship leads
Lloyd took a dominant victory in the first race, overtaking his teammate and pole sitter Martin Xie halfway through the ten-lap race to take the lead. He then pulled away and won with a margin of four seconds over Luca Engstler who was the winner of the TCR Asia race.
At the start, the two Dongfeng MacPro Racing Hondas of Xie and Lloyd sprinted from the front row of the grid and took command, while Engstler jumped from fifth to third at T1. During the first lap a collision between Alex Liu and Alex Hui forced the latter to retire.
Behind the leading trio, Pepe Oriola and Diego Moran delivered an exciting fight for fourth, swapping the positions several times, while Sunny Wong was following them closely in sixth place. Lloyd began to attack Xie and eventually passed him on lap 6; Engstler benefited from the situation and passed Xie as well moving up into second.
While Lloyd was able to create a gap, Xie momentarily lost third position to Oriola on lap 8, but regained it on the following lap. In the final moments, Wong retired with a turbo issue and Huang Chu Han inherited sixth place. Lloyd won from Engstler, Xie and Oriola.
Engstler took his fifth victory of the season, stealing the lead from Oriola with an authoritative overtaking manoeuvre. Race one overall winner Lloyd, finished third and encored his success in TCR China.
At the start, Oriola started better than pole sitter Liu and took the lead from Daniel Miranda and Engstler who was sixth on the grid. Both Engstler and Lloyd overtook Miranda and began chasing Oriola. Moran passed Miranda for fourth position on lap four after several on-track clashes.
On lap seven, Engstler attacked Oriola and passed him on the outside line before he began to pull away and take the win from the Spaniard, with Lloyd completing the overall podium. Moran and Miranda were classified fourth and fifth, making four Hyundai cars in the top 5. They were followed by the Audi pair of Huang Chu Hang (second in TCR China) and Hui.
With only two events to go, the fight for the 2019 TCR Asia International Series is now between Team Engstler teammates Engstler and Moran, who are now split by twenty-seven points. In the 2019 TCR China Touring Car Championship standings, Lloyd has stretched his leading margin to twelve points over Huang.
Victory for Audi Team DreamDrive in the 24H Fuji
Audi Team DreamDrive claimed its maiden victory in the 2019 Super Taikyu Endurance Series most difficult race, the 24-hours of Fuji. This was also the third consecutive victory of an Audi team during the current season, following those scored by Team Mars at Suzuka and BRP at Sugo.
Qualifying at Fuji saw two Honda Civic teams setting the fastest laps: the reigning champion Modulo Racing DOME claimed pole position from KCMG.
The pole-sitting car lost time to replace a broken exhaust and eventually retired after nine hours with a broken gearbox. The KCMG car driven by Paul Ip, Josh Burdon, Matthew Howson and Attila Tassi led the race during the first six hours, but then it also suffered from a gearbox failure, losing time in the pits to replace it.
The Team DreamDrive Audi RS 3 LMS of Naoto Takeda, Takuya Shirasaka and Shozo Tagahara took the lead during the seventh hour and never lost it, winning with a 3-lap margin over the Adenau Racingline Performance Volkswagen Golf GTI shared by Philippe Devesa, Shogo Mitsuyama, Jake Parsons and Jyuichi Wakisaka. This was the team’s and Volkswagen’s best result so far in the series.
The podium was completed by the RFC Racing Honda Civic of Jun Fuji, Takahisa Oono, Toshio Suzuki and Seiji Ara that finished a distant third, thirteen laps behind the winners. The series will resume at Autopolis on July 19-21
Dahlgren and Ahlberg cruise to victory in Anderstorp
PWR Racing’s Robert Dahlgren and Micke Kågered Racing ‘s Andreas Ahlberg shared the wins at Anderstorp, host to rounds three and four of the 2019 TCR Scandinavia Touring Car Championship, with Dahlgren leaving as Chmapionship leader.
The 2017 STCC Champion converted his pole position into a comfortable victory in the third round at Anderstorp. This was Dahlgren’s first win of the season and helped him to equal the points score in the standings with Andreas Wernersson who finished second.
At the start Dahlgren took the lead as behind him Wernersson was able to retain the second place keeping Mattias Andersson at bay. During the opening lap, Wernersson’s teammate Tobias Brink moved up into third overtaking Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Andersson. Tomas Engström and Hannes Morin were given drive-through penalties for jumping the start and dropped at the back of the field.
For the rest of the race, positions remained mostly frozen, as the first four built a gap. The only fight was for fifth position between Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Andreas Ahlberg. The pair were joined by Jessica Bäckman, but Åhlin-Kottulinsky was able to stay ahead.
Race two was a more active affair with Andreas Ahlberg taking his maiden victory in TCR Scandinavia as he led Tobias Brink throughout the second race.
Jessica Bäckman was on pole with Tomas Engström alongside but during the first lap, they were passed by Ahlberg and Brink. Behind the leading quartet, Mattias Andersson and Dahlgren overtook Åhlin-Kottulinsky, moving into fifth and sixth. Åhlin-Kottulinsky defended her seventh position from Wernersson, but she made a mistake on lap five and dropped to twelfth.
The two final laps were enlivened by the battles for the fifth and sixth positions. On lap 11, Dahlgren overtook Andersson for fifth, while the latter was able to retain sixth, keeping Wernersson at bay.
Ahlberg won from Brink and Bäckman who finished on the podium again one week after her second place in TCR Europe at Hockenheim. Race one Dahlgren was classified fifth and took the lead in the standings, one point ahead of Ahlberg and four over the pair of Wernersson and Brink. TCR Scandinavia‘s third event of the season will take place at Skellefteå on 14/15 June.