Race 1 via tcr-series
Reigning TCR Germany champion Josh Files took his fourth victory of the season after making a brilliant start in Race 1 at the Nürburging. The Target Competition Honda Civic of Files passed both the Wolf-Power Racing SEAT León of pole-sitter Mike Halder and the Racing One Audi RS 3 LMS of Niels Langeveld on the run down to Turn 1, setting the scene for a race-long battle between the trio.
A collision involving several cars at the first corner brought out the Safety Car, with Jason Wolfe, Niko Kankkunen, Sven Markert, Kai Jordan and Gosia Rdest all retiring because of the incident.
The race then restarted 22 minutes remaining and Files resumed the defence of his lead from Halder and Langeveld. The Audi of Antti Buri soon passed the similar car of Sandro Kaibach for 6th place, while Moritz Oestreich and Luca Engstler both then passed Kaibach on lap 7, although Engstler then ran wide and so dropped to 12th. On the following lap, it looked as though 2nd place had changed hands when Langeveld briefly nosed ahead of Halder, but the SEAT driver held the position.
On lap 13, there was contact at Turn 1 between Engstler and Lukas Niedertschreider, with the latter forced to pull up with broken suspension. That meant the Safety Car made a second appearance while the SEAT was recovered. Less than three minutes of the race remained at the restart, with Files again defending from Halder and Langeveld. Buri passed Harald Proczyk for 5th place on the penultimate lap, while the final lap saw Files and Halder head down the start/finish straight side by side in a last-ditch bid by Halder to snatch the lead. It so nearly worked, but Files held his nerve and so took the win to extend his lead in the series. Halder was second ahead of Langeveld, with the Opel of Dino Calcum in 4th place making it four different car brands in the top four places. Buri, Proczyk, Steve Kirsch, Sheldon Van Der Linde, Oestreich and Max Hofer rounded off the top ten.
A dramatic second race at the Nürburgring saw Finland’s Antti Buri claim his first victory of the season, with the LMS Racing Audi RS 3 LMS finishing ahead of the similar car of South Africa’s Sheldon van der Linde. The race, however, will be remembered for a number of incidents, including two that occurred within seconds of both the start and finish.
For two of the top ten on the grid, their race was over almost as soon as the start lights were extinguished. A collision between Dino Calcum’s Opel and the Honda of Josh Files saw the Astra hit the wall at the pit lane exit and deposit debris across the track, forcing the deployment of the Safety Car. Files – the winner of yesterday’s Race 1 – limped back to the pits, but while the Target Competition team repaired the damaged steering and got the car back out again, any chance of a decent result was gone and so Files eventually retired.
The Safety Car was withdrawn after around ten minutes and race leader Buri led from Steve Kirsch; the pair having started from second and fourth places respectively. Pole-sitter Max Hofer had dropped to third and subsequently received a drive-through penalty for causing the collision between Files and Calcum. Kirsch snatched the lead on lap 7 when Buri ran wide at Turn 3, but the lead was short-lived after an apparent electrical fault saw the Honda lose power on lap 10 and Kirsch was forced to retire.
The Safety Car made a second appearance when the Audi of Sven Markert had to be recovered after a technical problem left the car stranded and just under four minutes of the race remained when it pulled into the pits. This time, Buri judged the restart beautifully and seemed to catch second-placed Sheldon van der Linde napping. The South African was then left to defend second place from Mike Halder, but Halder was himself passed by the SEAT of Harald Proczyk on lap 14. It looked as though that was how the race would finish, but Proczyk and Halder made contact heading towards the final corner and both briefly crossed the white line into the pit lane entrance. The incident was referred to the Stewards, but the only action taken was a post-race black and white flag and so Proczyk kept his 3rd position.
Files’ lead in the series has been reduced to 77 points ahead of Halder, while Langevend and van der Linde lie in third and fourth with gaps of 91 and 101 points respectively.
The next event is at the Sachsenring in mid-September.