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TCR Series Roundup: 4 June – 12 June

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The 2019 TCR Australia Touring Car Series at Phillip Island. Credit: TCR Australia/Daniel Kalisz

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 ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship, The 2019 TCR Australia Touring Car Series, The 2020 TCR New Zealand Touring Car Championship, The 2019 TC America Endurance Championship, The 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series and The 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR).

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

Kent, Gavrilov and Sutton join TCR Europe in Belgium.

Klim Gavrilov. Credit: ACI Sport / TCR Italy

Three Wildcard entries will join the thirty one car field of drivers for this weekends 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series rounds with one driver making his debut in TCR Europe and the other two making a return to the series.

This weekend gives Lewis Kent his first chance of sampling the competition at European level. TCR Europe is already seen as the biggest and most competitive series in the TCR Global Family, giving Kent the chance he needs to see where he stands.

Klim Gavrilov will return to the series at Spa-Francorchamps, driving the same VRC Team Audi RS 3 LMS he’s currently using in the TCR Russia Touring Car Championship. The 19-year old from St. Petersburg took part in last year’s European finale at Barcelona. Gavrilov has already expanded his racing by making a one-off appearance in TCR Italy at Monza this year, where he won the first race. The young Russian is lying fifth in the TCR Russia standings with one victory at Nizhniy Novgorod.

Finally, former TCR UK race winner Ashley Sutton returns to the series, signing a deal with WRT to race a second Volkswagen Golf GTi alongside regular driver Maxime Potty and Audi driver Santiago Urrutia. Sutton is already familiar with the car and the series, having made his debut in Spain last year for the WestCoast Racing squad, where he took fourth place in race one and third place in race two.

Tarquini to guest star at the Red Bull Ring

Gabriele Tarquini. Credit: ADAC Motorsport/Gruppe C Photography

Gabriele Tarquini will be Hyundai’s guest driver in this weekend’s 2019 ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship event at the Red Bull Ring. The Italian ace who is currently seventh in the WTCR standings follows Jessica Bäckman who drove the guest i30 N car at Most three weeks ago.

“I saw many races on TV last year, especially after Hyundai’s joned the series,” said Tarquini. “The races are very exciting and great to watch, because the level of the drivers is very high. I’m looking forward to starting in a German racing series again after the 1999 STW season.”

The Austrian event is the third of the season for the German championship that is currently led by Mike Halder in the Honda Civic run by the Profi-Car Team. Halder is followed in the championship by Max Hesse (Team Engstler Hyundai) and Antti Buri (LMS Racing Audi RS 3 LMS).

Hamish Ribarits takes third Audi seat in TCR Australia

Hamish Ribarits will join TCR Australia at Phillip Island in a third Audi. Credit: TCR Australia/Daniel Kalisz

Hamish Ribarits will join Melbourne Performance Centre in one of the team’s Audi RS 3 LMS cars for the 2019 TCR Australia Touring Car Series event at Phillip Island this weekend.

The former karting champion will drive the Audi that Rik Breukers drove in the opening round of the series at Sydney Motorsport Park last month. He currently leads the Super3 Supercars Series after two rounds; last year the 19-year-old finished runner-up in the Australian Formula Ford Championship.

Ribarits will be driving one of the four cars fielded by the MPC squad this weekend. Garth Tander will be in another Audi, with Leanne Tander completing the Audi lineup. The team’s fourth entry is Aaron Cameron’s Volkswagen Golf GTI.

ARG awarded commercial rights to TCR New Zealand

The 2019 TCR Australia Touring Car Series at Phillip Island. Credit: TCR Australia/Daniel Kalisz

MotorSport New Zealand has awarded the commercial and promotional rights of the 2020 TCR New Zealand Touring Car Championship to the ANZ Motorsport Group, a new subsidiary company of the Australian Racing Group – the same promoter as the 2019 TCR Australia Touring Car Series.

The ANZ Motorsport Group will oversee the introduction of the popular TCR Series to New Zealand, giving the closely knit Australia and New Zealand motor racing communities a strategic touring car alignment.

The deal between the ANZ Motorsport Group and MotorSport New Zealand is a multi-year arrangement, ensuring stability in the formative stages of TCR in the Australasian region. By aligning both Series’ with no date clashes to be scheduled between each calendar, all TCR competitors in the region will have the opportunity to compete in both the New Zealand and Australia series

Antti Buri secures WTCR Wildcard entry in Germany

Image Credit: Gruppe C Photography

Antti Buri, the current leader of the TCR Germany points standings, has been revealed as a wildcard entrant into the upcoming World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) event at the Nurburgring.

Buri and his LMS Racing crew picked up their third race victory of the season last weekend at the Red Bull Ring, handing the Finnish driver a 13 point advantage over reigning champion, Harald Proczyk.

However, Buri will not be representing the LMS Racing team on his World Cup adventure. Instead, the Finn shall compete with AS Motorsport; a new outfit which he has played a role in establishing. The car, however, will be familiar. Just as in the TCR Germany Series, the Audi RS3 TCR will be Buri’s weapon of choice.

Briché takes third win of the year as Magnus wins in home TCR Europe event

Image Credit: TCR Europe Series

The 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series saw its third weekend of action at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium, with the venue witnessing lots of exciting racing, questionable driving standards and a plethora of post-race penalties.

Championship leader Josh Files knew he had a difficult weekend ahead after recent changes to the Compensation Weights of the other models in competition and this matter was made worse when the three-time TCR Champion crashed heavily during Qualifying.

With Ashley Sutton and Klim Gavrilov returning to the series after their debuts in Spain last year and TCR UK podium finisher Lewis Kent making his debut in the series, Spa witnessed two exciting races from the thirty-four car field with another debut winner in Gilles Magnus. Meanwhile, Julien Briché scored his third win of the year to take the championship lead.

To find out how the races went, you can find out the report of race one here and the race two report here.

O’Keeffe and Brown lead the way at Phillip Island

Dylan O’Keefe and Will Brown at Phillip Island. Credit: TCR Australia/Daniel Kalisz

Dylan O’Keeffe claimed Alfa Romeo’s first victory in TCR Australia at the end of a thrilling race at Phillip Island. The competitors delivered an exciting show with plenty of contacts and overtaking manoeuvres. Eventually, five different brands filled the five top positions: Alfa Romeo, Hyundai, Renault, Honda and Audi.

O’Keeffe sprinted from the pole into the lead, followed by Tony D’Alberto (Honda), Jason Bright (Volkswagen) and Will Brown (Hyundai) who went wide at turn two. Contact between John Martin’s Honda and Nathan Morcom’s Hyundai prompted the safety car into action as both cars limped back to the pits.

In the attempt to recover the position, Bright hit the back of Heimgartner’s car; they clashed and collected Vernon who spun off. The safety car was deployed again. At the restart on lap 9, O’Keeffe pulled away again, while there was a tough fight behind him with D’Alberto chased by James Moffat (Renault), Tander, Brown and Hamish Ribarits (Audi).

Moffat dived to the inside of D’Alberto, while Tander was trying to overtake them both on the outside line; the three of them were abreast and made contact, Moffat moved into third, while Tander went wide and lost a couple of places. Brown took the most out of the action and overtook D’Alberto for third, then attacked Moffat’s second place. They delivered another thrilling fight and eventually Brown prevailed on the final lap.

Chris Pither. Credit: TCR Australia/Daniel Kalisz

The second and third races provided plenty of drama. In Race two, O’Keeffe and his Alfa Romeo Giulietta encored their Race one victory, beating Brown’s Hyundai i30 N once again. In Race three, O’Keeffe was eliminated in an incident after the start and Brown went to claim his third win of the season ahead of his teammate Morcom.

O’Keeffe made good use of the pole and took the lead of from Brown, D’Alberto and Ribarits. During the opening lap, Moffat’s Renault spun from fifth and was collected by Heimgartner’s Subaru and Garth Tander’s Audi.

They all rejoined but a couple of corners later there was a second collision between Aaron Cameron’s Volkswagen and the Audi cars of the Tanders, Garth the husband and Leanne the wife. Garth was the only one forced to retire.

On lap two, Brown stole the lead from O’Keeffe, but then outbraked himself and O’Keeffe went through again. Behind them, Ribarits overtook D’Alberto for third.

While O’Keeffe was able to pull away from Brown, there was a tough fight for the fourth position that involved D’Alberto, John Martin, Chris Pither, Morcom and Alex Rullo. Both the Honda cars of D’Alberto and Martin retired into the pits with a flat front right tyre each. Eventually, Morcom and Rullo were able to overtake Pither to finish fourth and fifth. In a last fight for the ninth position, Alexandra Whitley beat Moffat after they made contact several times.

The third TCR Australia race at Phillip Island. Credit: TCR Australia/Daniel Kalisz

Race three began with a pile-up as O’Keeffe spun after contact with Brown who in turn was t-boned by Martin’s Honda; Whitley’s Golf and D’Alberto’s Honda were also involved, while Ribarits’ Audi crashed into Chelsea Angelo’s Holden.

The safety car was deployed and when racing resumed on lap six, Brown was leading from Morcom, Rullo, Cameron and Pither. Vernon overtook Rullo and Pither, but then went on the grass and dropped behind.

The two Hyundai cars of Brown and Morcom pulled away whilst behind them Cameron and Garth Tander secured third and fourth positions as Rullo dropped to finish outside the top ten. In the battle for fifth position, Moffat beat Heimgartner, Pither, Jason Bright and Ribarits. The 2019 TCR Australia Touring Car Series will resume for the third event of the season on July 13-14 at The Bend Motorsport Park.

Proczyk storms to victory at the Red Bull Ring as Buri takes the lead

The 2019 ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship in Austria. Credit: ADAC Motorsport/Gruppe C Photography

Reigning ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Champion Harald Proczyk took a stunning victory in the opening race at the Red Bull Ring after a brilliant start saw him leap from third on the grid into the lead by the first turn.

A chaotic start saw Antti Buri take to the grass in the dash for the first corner, while contact with Théo Coicaud meant guest driver Gabriele Tarquini pulled up at the exit to Turn one with broken steering. The safety car was deployed while Tarquini’s Hyundai was recovered, with Proczyk leading from Julien Apothéloz and Mitchell Cheah, with pole-sitter Sebastian Steibel having dropped to fifth behind Buri.

When racing resumed after two laps behind the safety car, Proczyk caught out the chasing pack and began to build a comfortable lead. Cheah was soon battling with Apothéloz for second place and both Coicaud and Max Hesse passed Steibel, who dropped to seventh.

The race then settled down for several laps, with Proczyk opening up a slight gap over Apothéloz, Cheah and Buri while there were several changes of position behind the scrap for the podium places. At the start of lap eleven, there was contact between Cheah and Apothéloz and both Cheah’s Volkswagen and Buri’s Audi quickly passed the CUPRA for second and third places respectively.

While the battle for second and third positions raged, several drivers received drive-through penalties for overtaking while the safety car was on track. Michelle Halder steadily improved to eighth, while Hesse dropped outside the top ten. Despite a dramatic late series of challenges,

Proczyk was never troubled and took a straightforward win on home ground ahead of Cheah, Buri and Apothéloz. Coicaud was fifth, Steibel finished sixth and the top ten was completed by Niedertscheider, Michelle Halder, René Kircher and Maurits Sandberg.

Antti Buri. Credit: ADAC Motorsport/Gruppe C Photography

Antti Buri took victory in Race two, holding off the reigning champion Proczyk, with pole-sitter Kircher completing the podium places.

Michelle Halder, starting from second on the grid, made a better start than Kircher and so went into turn one in the lead, with Buri having passed Dominik Fugel to lie in third place. Guest driver Gabriele Tarquini briefly snatched P3 from Buri before contact with another car allowed the Finn to reclaim the position.

Buri then passed Kircher’s Audi for second place on the next lap, followed swiftly by Cheah who moved into third position. Racing was then put on hold for several laps after the safety car was deployed while Dominik Fugel’s car was recovered following contact with the Opel Astra of Jan Seyffert.

Racing resumed several laps later, with Buri immediately attacking Michelle Halder for the lead. Going into the first turn, the Audi eased past the Honda on the inside line, with Cheah also passing as Halder was forced to run slightly wide. Following a slight contact, Proczyk then also passed Halder for P3, with the Profi-Car Team driver dropping from the lead to fourth place in the space of less than a minute.

Proczyk was too far back to make any inroads into Buri’s lead, while there were also sizeable gaps between Proczyk, Kircher and Michelle Halder. Things were a lot closer in a five-way battle for fifth to ninth, although it seemed that every time Apothéloz passed Mike Halder for eighth place, Halder would retake the position at the very next corner.

Buri took his third win of the season, maintaining his 100% record of winning the second race at every event, beating Proczyk. Kircher’s third place meant there were two Audi cars on the podium, while Michelle Halder and Hesse completed the top five.

Buri stretched his lead in the standings to thirteen points over Proczyk, while Mike Halder is third, a further eighteen points adrift. The 2019 ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship will now take a two-month break before racing at Zandvoort on August 9-11.

González takes maiden emotional win at Sonoma as Filippi returns

Victor González. Credit: SRO/TC America

VGMC Racing’s Victor González took his maiden win in the 2019 TC America Endurance Championship at the end of a thrilling race that was led by Mason Filippi first and Michael Hurczyn later. This was also the first victory in the current season for the Honda Civic.

After winning both races in the season opener at Austin’s COTA, Filippi had skipped the two following events at St. Petersburg and Virginia International Raceway due to clashing commitments in the IMSA Challenge. He came back at Sonoma ready to resume the winning streak at the wheel of his Hyundai Veloster N. He set pole position and took the lead at the start keeping Hurczyn’s Golf GTI at bay. The pair fought for the first two laps, then Filippi built up a gap of a couple of seconds.

Behind them Hurczyn’s teammate Nate Vincent overtook the Honda Civic of Harry Cheung, moving up to third. Cheung’s pace continued to fade and he dropped to the back of the field.

Halfway through the race, Filippi made contact with a slower car of the TCA class, damaging the front splitter. From that moment on he lost his pace, which helped Hurczyn and Vincent to close the gap.

On lap fifteen, Hurczyn passed Filippi on the outside of turn one and took the lead. A couple of laps later Vincent tried to steal second from Filippi, but missed the braking point at the hairpin and collected the Hyundai. González who was following them took the opportunity to move into second place and so did James Walker into third.

In the final laps, Hurczyn’s tyres were falling off allowing Gonzáles to attack him and allowing the Puerto Rican driver take the lead on the penultimate lap and win from Hurczyn and Walker.

Mason Filippi at Sonoma. Credit: SRO/TC America

Filippi made up for the disappointment of losing a possible victory in race one at Sonoma and drove his Copeland Motorsport Hyundai Veloster N to a lights-to-flag win in the second race.

Started from pole position, Filippi took the lead from the pair of the FCP Euro Volkswagen Golf GTI cars and he was able to build up a small margin that was zeroed twice by the interventions of the safety car. But after the second restart, Filippi pulled away again and controlled the rest of the race.

During the penultimate lap, González overtook Hurczyn for second and so they finished with Filippi the winner from González, Hurczyn, Vincent and Walker. Putt encored his sixth place overall and first in the DSG class at the wheel of his ROWE Racing Audi RS 3 LMS.

In the championship standings, Hurczyn has stretched his leading gap even further to thirty-six points over Vincent.
The next event of the 2019 TC America Endurance Championship will take place on July 12-14 at Portland International Raceway.

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I have been a very passionate fan of Motorsport for over 30 years with Touring Cars as my favourite form of Motor Racing. I cover The TCR UK Series, The TCR Europe Series and The FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) as well as following various TCR Series around the world.
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