Has it really been over eight weeks since the last outing in Germany??? Wow…
Well, here’s all the fun and heartbreak from the TCR International Series events from Thailand…
Thailand hosts the TCR International Series for the third time
The TCR International Series will resume this weekend at Buriram’s Chang International Circuit in Thailand, following an eight-week summer break after the meeting in Oschersleben, Germany.
The series visits Buriram for the third time and the Thai event has become one of the favourites for drivers and teams members who appreciate the state-of-the-art Chang International Circuit designed by Hermann Tilke that opened in 2014, but also the warm welcome provided by the local personnel and fans.
The track layout is well-suited to Touring Car competition, providing several overtaking places and corners where three or four cars can run abreast.
In the previous TCR appearances, SEAT drivers have taken the lion’s share of results. In 2015 Pepe Oriola and Stefano Comini took a win apiece; the Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Team posted a 1-2-3 in Race 1 (Oriola, Gené and Afanasyev) and Target Competition then returned a 1-2 in Race 2 with Comini and Hezemans.
Last year things went even better for Lukoil Craft-Bamboo, with the Oriola-Nash duo on top in Race 1 and the Englishman emerging as the winner in Race 2.
Nine points cover the first four drivers in the standings
The fight for the TCR International Series Drivers’ title is as close as ever, with the first four drivers in the standings covered by only nine points.
Scoring one third place in the previous event at Oschersleben enabled Jean-Karl Vernay to reclaim the lead in the classification and now, with 153 points scored so far, the Frenchman has a slim margin of two points ahead of Attila Tassi who had jumped on top of the standings after his home race meeting at the Hungaroring.
Roberto Colciago and the reigning champion Stefano Comini are currently lying in third and fourth positions, with gaps of eight and nine points. Behind the leading quartet, Pepe Oriola is fifth, but his 110 points are still keeping him well in contention.
To make the situation even spicier, these five drivers are driving four different car models: Volkswagen (Vernay), Honda (Tassi and Colciago), Audi (Comini) and SEAT (Oriola).
All the others competitors have only theoretical chances to fight for the title.
The battle for the Teams’ title seems to be restricted to M1RA (308 points) and Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing (275), while the first three cars in the ‘Model of the Year’ classification – the Honda Civic, SEAT León and Volkswagen Golf GTI – are split by only 51 points.
Success ballast for Morbidelli, Lloyd and Homola
Gianni Morbidelli’s hat trick at Oschersleben – pole position and two race wins at the wheel of his WestCoast Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI – not only earned him 55 points in the championship, but also the maximum Success Ballast of 30 kilos for the next event at Buriram’s Chang International Circuit.
The second-best scorer in Germany was Lukoil Craft-Bamboo’s Daniel Lloyd who will receive 20 kilos of Success Ballast, while Mat’o Homola of DG Sport Compétition will carry the 10 extra kilos imposed on the third best scorer of the previous event.
As a result, Morbidelli’s Volkswagen will weigh 1295kg (1285kg minimum weight + 30kg Success Ballast – 20kg Balance of Performance adjustment), Lloyd’s SEAT León 1295kg (1285kg + 20kg SB – 10kg BoP) and Homola’s Opel Astra 1305 kg (1285kg + 10kg SB + 10kg BoP).
M1RA Adds Altoe and Michelisz for Thai Races
With Roberto Colciago forced to miss this weekend’s TCR International Series race meetin at Buriram’s Chang International Circuit, the M1RA team reacted by entering Giacomo Altoè and Norbert Michelisz alongside Attila Tassi.
Colciago, one of the main contenders for the 2017 Drivers’ title, has been sidelined by medical reasons. In fact the Italian driver has not fully recovered from the incident at the start of the second race at Oschersleben that resulted in three cracked ribs.
To help Tassi, who is also in contention for the title – he currently lies second in the standings, only two points behind Leopard Racing’s Jean-Karl Vernay – M1RA team owner Norbert Michelisz rejoined the series after having raced at the Hungaroring claiming pole position and finishing second in Race 1. He will be obliged to carry 20 kilos of success ballast because of those results.
Altoè will be driving the team’s third Honda Civic car, following his switch from WestCoast Racing.
TCR Thailand competitors join the International Series field
The event in Buriram will also count as rounds 7 and 8 of TCR Thailand and six of the local competitors will join the International Series field. They are split into two classes: PRO and PRO-AM.
Pasarit Promsombat (RMI Racing Team by Sunoco – SEAT León DSG) is the current leader of the PRO Class; he has won no fewer than nine national titles in different categories, including three in the popular Thailand Super Series.
The other five drivers are all competing in the PRO-AM class that is currently led on equal points by Chariya Nuya (Billionaire Boys Racing – Honda Civic) and Nattanid Lewattanavaragul (Moring Racing – SEAT León DSG). Nuya has already won two rounds of the series at the Chang International Circuit, while Lewattanavaragul won the second race at Bangsaen, becoming the first lady driver to win a round of a TCR national championship.
The field is completed by Nattachak Hanjitkasen (TBN MK Ihere Racing – Honda Civic), Rattanin Leenutaphong (Yontrakit Racing Team – SEAT León DSG) and Malaysia’s Douglas Khoo (Viper Niza Racing – SEAT León) who is an International Series veteran having already joined several times in the two previous years.
A Thai driver for DG Sport Compétition at Buriram
DG Sport Compétition has signed a local driver for the next TCR International Series event at Buriram’s Chang International Circuit in Thailand.
It will be Munkong Sathienthirakul – nicknamed ‘Turbo’ – who will sit at the wheel of the Belgian team’s second Opel Astra car, alongside regular driver Mat’o Homola.
One of the top runners in the popular Thailand Super Series, Sathienthirakul was crowned champion of the Super 2000 class in 2015. This will be his third appearance in the TCR International Series as he already took part twice in the Buriram event in previous years. In 2015 he drove a SEAT León for Craft-Bamboo and a Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf last year. His best result was a brilliant 9th place in the 2015 Race 2.
Mat’o Homola places the Opel Astra back on pole
Mat’o Homola claimed his third pole position of the season, after those in Bahrain and Austria, at the wheel of his DG Sport Compétition Opel Astra car. The young Slovak topped the timesheet at the end of one of the most thrilling Qualifying sessions ever, that saw many position changes, penalties, red flags and breakdowns.
Eventually, Homola’s fastest lap in Q2 was quicker than James Nash’s by a mere four thousandths of a second, while Norbert Michelisz managed to qualify in third ahead of Jean-Karl Vernay, meaning four different brands – Opel, SEAT, Honda and Volkswagen – fill the first two rows of the grid for tomorrow’s Race 1. Attila Tassi, Vernay’s closest competitor in the title fight, qualified in fifth position.
The GE Force Alfa Romeo team suffered the greatest disappointment, as both the team’s drivers – Dušan Borković and Davit Kajaia – were eliminated despite being among the fastest. The Serbian broke his suspension after posting a provisional fastest lap in Q1 and was then not admitted to Q2 for receiving external aid, while his teammate blew the engine at the beginning of Q2.
Local hero Kantadhee Kusiri managed to qualify a brilliant eighth, while Aurélien Panis qualified tenth and won pole position on the reverse grid for Race 2 alongside Stefano Comini. Panis will start from the back of the grid in Race 1 due to an engine change.
Q1: Michelisz beats Homola by three tenths
It was a frantic start to the session, as very fast laps were clocked straight away. After Nash’s 1:44.121, Kajaia and Borković improved to 1:43.820 and 1:43.631 respectively. However, immediately afterwards the Serbian broke the front suspension after running over a kerb, stopping on the track and so prompting the red flag. Just before the session was suspended, Vernay (1:43.731) and Nash (1:43.971) had moved up to second and fourth.
The session resumed with 13 minutes still on the clock and immediately Oriola posted a new provisional fastest lap of 1:43.478 that was bettered by Vernay’s 1:43.456. As all competitors were eager to improve, Race Control began to disallow times due to disrespect of track limits.
Vernay improved further to 1:43.447, but with three minutes left, Michelisz stopped the clock at 1:43.315, towing Tassi to set the second fastest lap of 1:43.365. Eventually the young Hungarian was demoted to third when Homola moved up to second with a lap of 1:43.350.
Despite setting the 7th fastest lap, Borković was not allowed to run in Q2 because his car had been towed back to the pits after the breakdown, which promoted Morbidelli to tenth.
The following drivers went through to Q2: Michelisz, Homola, Tassi, Vernay, Oriola, Altoè, Nash, Kajaia, Panis, Comini, Kusiri and Morbidelli.
Among those who failed to make the cut were Huff, Lloyd and Vervisch.
Chariya Nuya set the pole in TCR Thailand, beating Morin Racing’s lady driver Nattanid Leewattanavaragul.
Qualifying 2: Homola sets pole by four thousandths
The second part of the session began just like the first. Michelisz (1:43.359), Tassi (1:43.322), Nash (1:43.314) and Kajaia (1:43.078) clocked consecutive provisional fastest laps. However, Kajaia’s, Michelisz’s and Tassi’s times were disallowed for infringing track limits. A similar penalty was imposed to Vernay and Oriola.
Homola set a new provisional fastest lap of 1:43.093 just before the session was disrupted by the red flag when Kajaia’s car stopped on the track with a smoking engine.
When the session resumed only three minutes were left, meaning that drivers had only one attempt to improve. Michelisz moved up into provisional second place (1:43.228), but Nash did better (1:43.097), failing to steal pole position from Homola by four thousandths.
Driver quotes after the Qualifying session
Mat’o Homola (1st): “Thanks to my team – we had a problem in Q1 and they repaired it quickly to enable me to go through to Q2. In Q2 there was a red flag and there was chaos but I managed to do one good lap and it was enough, so I’m really glad for that. I like this circuit and the car is behaving how I want it to. Everything is okay and so I’m really happy. I know the biggest part of the points comes in the races, not Qualifying, so I’m not really over the moon right now because I know this is just one part of my job and the second comes tomorrow.”
James Nash (2nd): “This circuit certainly throws up the odd challenge for me, but the results are always positive. It’s a track that suits my style and I enjoy driving it. Just after setting my best lap time, I hit the brakes for the hairpin at Turn 3, where I had the crash last year, and the driveshaft just snapped. Thankfully, the time was already done but I was only four thousandths from pole so I’m disappointed with that. Looking ahead to tomorrow, my starts have always been pretty good so I’ll do what I normally do and I think I’ve got the race pace to pull away.”
Norbert Michelisz (3rd): “P3 is okay, but the most important thing was to have the three cars in the top ten. It’s important for the team’s point of view and Attila also managed to get into the top five, so overall I’m really proud of the guys. I think we showed great teamwork in Qualifying and we helped each other with slipstreaming so I’m really happy. If you are on pole, it’s less risk for one race but if you are on the third row there is risk because you can suffer some damage if someone comes from the back. I would have preferred Attila to have been on the front row, but if everything goes well he has the possibility of being on the podium twice tomorrow.”
Aurelien Panis (10th): “It was a perfect result for us because of the penalty for the engine change after Oschersleben, so our goal was P10 and that was what we did. I’m very happy; the team did a great job and the car was very nice to drive. Pole position for Race 2 means we are all very happy. My goal will be to make a good start and I have Race 1 in which to practice a bit. It will be important not to make any mistakes in Race 1 and then I can focus on race 2. The level in TCR is very high, so I am happy to be with them and I think it will be a great fight.”
Chariya Nuya (19th & 1st TCR Thailand): “I feel very happy to be the first driver in the TCR Thailand category. I did my best, but it wasn’t enough to be with the International Series drivers. I need to spend a lot more time in the car to practice if I’m to be able to compete with them. The car is good and works very well and I will try my best in the two races tomorrow.”
Michelisz and Panis make a Honda double win in Thailand
Tassi leads the championship by 2 points ahead of Vernay
Buriram’s Chang International Circuit had never been successful for the Honda drivers in the two previous visits of the TCR International Series to Thailand. Today the luck of the men at the wheel of the Civic cars changed – and then some!
Not only did Norbert Michelisz (M1RA) and Aurélien Panis (Boutsen Ginion Racing) share race victories, but Michelisz’s teammates Giacomo Altoè and Attila Tassi were both able to finish on the podium and the young Hungarian has jumped back on top of the championship standings as a result.
The first race was one of the liveliest ever, bestowing both honours and tears in almost equal measure. It was a bitter end to the race for Mat’o Homola, DG Sport Compétition and the Opel Motorsport technicians who saw a well deserved first victory vanishing on the last-but-one lap because of a blown tyre.
Lukoil Craft-Bamboo, too, had reasons to lament as both James Nash and Pepe Oriola were stopped by technical failures while they were still fighting for the podium positions. Oriola’s withdrawal with a broken gearbox was especially painful, because it sidelined the Spaniard in Race 2 and so greatly compromised his hopes to fight for the title.
While some were weeping, M1RA – with Michelisz and Tassi first and third – and GE Force, with Dušan Borković second after a recovery, were over the moon. However, the Italo-Georgian team has some regrets, because Borković showed a pace that could have resulted in victory without his incident in yesterday’s Q1.
In the second race, Panis took an authoritative lights-to-flag victory, although a part of the credit goes to his crew that managed to solve a throttle issue on the starting grid. Altoè claimed his first TCR International podium on his maiden appearance at the wheel of a M1RA Honda, while Stefano Comini salvaged a third place that helps him to stay in contention for the title, third in the standings and 14 points from the leader.
Race 1 – Michelisz inherits the win as Homola stops
Mat’o Homola was on the verge of claiming his maiden win at the wheel of the DG Sport Compétition Opel Astra when he was forced to retire with a blown front tyre with only two laps to go. This is the second consecutive race in which the young Slovak has lost a victory in the final moments, after he was passed by Gianni Morbidelli on the last lap of Oschersleben’s Race 2.
As a result, Norbert Michelisz – who was not even expected to race in Thailand – gratefully inherited his first victory in the TCR International Series. The Hungarian ace, called in at the last minute to replace the injured Roberto Colciago, was driving with one eye on the rear view mirror to check how his M1RA Racing teammate Attila Tassi was performing while defending himself from the attacks of Jean-Karl Vernay.
Eventually he found himself the winner with Tassi in third, so claiming two of the podium places for the Honda Civic. Second place went to the Alfa Romeo of an ecstatic Dušan Borković who completed a fantastic recovery from 13th on the grid. An even better performance came from his teammate Davit Kajaia, who recovered from 23rd to 8th.
After being so competitive in previous years here at Buriram, Lukoil Craft-Bamboo suffered setbacks as both James Nash and Pepe Oriola retired while they were fighting for the podium positions.
Grid: Panis and Kajaia are at the back of the grid following engine changes
Start: Homola sprints from pole and takes the lead, followed by Michelisz and Nash
Lap 1: Tassi overtakes Nash for third
Lap 2: Vernay and Nash swap positions twice, Nash retains third place, Oriola follows them in fifth
Lap 4: Nash outbrakes himself at T1 and drops to fifth behind Vernay and Oriola; Borković overtakes Altoè for 7th
Lap 5: Morbidelli overtakes Vervisch for 9th
Lap 6: Vernay and Oriola are chasing Tassi
Lap 7: Oriola overtakes Vernay for fourth; Nash retires with a broken driveshaft
Lap 8: There are contacts in a four way fight for second place, Michelisz is followed by Oriola, Tassi and Vernay; Borković overtakes Vernay for fifth
Lap 9: Borković overtakes Tassi for fourth
Lap 10: Tassi is chased by Vernay, Altoè, Morbidelli and Huff; Huff and Morbidelli make contact
Lap 12: Morbidelli runs wide at T1 and drops to 11th behind Huff, Comini and Kajaia; Lloyd overtakes Morbidelli for 11th; Promsombat hits a pile of tyres and retires while leading TCR Thailand
Lap 13: Homola retires from the lead with a blown front left tyre ; Michelisz leads from Oriola and Borković
Lap 14: Oriola stops on the track from second with a gearbox failure; Michelisz wins from Borković; Tassi retains third place despite a contact with Vernay at the last turn; Nuya wins the TCR Thailand race from Lewattanavaragul and Leenutaphong
Race 2 – Panis victorious for Boutsen Ginion
In only his second appearance in the TCR International Series, Aurélien Panis scored his maiden victory at the wheel of the Honda Civic car run by Boutsen-Ginion Racing.
It was a lights-to-flag victory for the young Frenchman who took the lead at the start and built a small cushion between himself and Giacomo Altoè, who finished second.
It was a result to remember for the Italian teenager as well, after he had switched to a M1RA Honda Civic only on the eve of the Thai event.
Despite losing one place to Altoè at the start, Stefano Comini managed to collect a third place that keeps his chances of winning a third consecutive title well alive.
Attila Tassi finished fourth, ahead of Jean-Karl Vernay in fifth, and this helped the Hungarian to reclaim the lead in the standings, albeit only two points ahead of Vernay.
Actually Tassi’s margin could had been larger without a technical failure that stopped Norbert Michelisz on the last lap which prevented him from finishing fifth ahead of Vernay.
Grid – Oriola (5th) is missing, following the gearbox failure suffered in Race 1
Start – Panis starts well from pole and leads from Altoè, Comini and Tassi
Lap 1 – Comini and Tassi are in a close fight for second
Lap 2 – Vernay overtakes Nash for 7th; there is a four-way battle for 9th between Huff, Borković, Homola and Kajaia
Lap 4 – Vernay overtakes Kusiri for 6th; Nash hits Kusiri who drops to 11th
Lap 5 – Borković overtakes Huff for 8th; Nuya leads in TCR Thailand but is chased by Leewattanavaragul
Lap 6 – Hanjitkasen overtakes Leenutaphong for third in TCR Thailand
Lap 8 – Vernay is chasing Michelisz for fifth; Borković overtakes Nash for 7th
Lap 9 – Homola dives inside Kusiri, but goes wide; Ende overtakes Vervisch for 16th
Lap 10 – Vervisch retakes 16th from Ende
Lap 11 – Kajaia retires from 10th with a flat front tyre
Lap 12 – Leewattanavaragul attacks Nuya’s leadership in TCR Thailand
Lap 13 – Smoke comes out of Michelisz’s car
Lap 14 – Michelisz slows, Vernay moves up to fifth; Panis wins from Altoè and Comini; Nuya encores in TCR Thailand, beating Leewattanavaragul and Promsombat
Quotes from the podium finishers in the two races
Norbert Michelisz (1st in Race 1): “I’m absolutely over the moon! Before the weekend, we didn’t really expect to win races to be honest. The Civic is carrying a lot of weight but we did some great work and the team found a good balance. I’m really happy for Attila because he scored the most points and I’m also happy for Giacomo, because I think he can be proud of himself. We knew what we had to do in Qualifying and both races went well. I had luck because Homola suffered a puncture. I could see that he was pushing and so I followed him to increase the pressure, but I could see in the mirror that Attila might need some help so I dropped back. Oriola was too close and so it didn’t work as well as it might, but at the end it is how it is and so I’m happy for the team.”
Aurélien Panis (1st in Race 2): “I knew before the races that our pace was really good, because in Free Practice and Qualifying was really fast but we didn’t get the perfect lap to be in front. P10 and so start Race 2 from pole position was the best possible qualifying result for us. I must say thank you to the team because the car was great to drive. I’m very happy to be in TCR International and to win today. For the young drivers it’s a really good series and it’s great to be fighting with the top drivers like Michelisz, Vernay or Comini. The level is very high and for that reason I’m very happy to win today.”
Dušan Borković (2nd in race 1): “I was really disappointed after Qualifying because of what happened. To start from the middle of the grid is always difficult but I had an okay start and I was able to attack. On some circuits the car is good and in others we need to improve it, particularly in slow and medium corners, but the team did a really good job this weekend. The brakes were good in Race 1 and I decided not to change them, but I started locking up in Race 2 and so I had to be careful. Luckily the Alfa is a little bit faster on the straights and so I could keep Nash and Huff behind me. I’m not really focusing on the championship, but I know I’m not far behind Oriola now.”
Giacomo Altoè (2nd in race 2): “It’s unbelievable – I’m so happy. The car was perfect and this was a really good result for me and for the team. I feel really at home with this team and with JAS. After this result, maybe a victory is possible, so I will try the maximum to achieve it. I’m taking things race by race and my priority has to be to help M1RA to win the team’s championship.”
Attila Tassi (3rd in race 1): “This weekend couldn’t have been any better. It all came together in Race 1 and we had a good first lap. I overtook Vernay after the start and went around the outside of Nash at Turn 3. After that, it was tough as I fought with Vernay for 14 laps and had to manage my tyres. Norbi tried to help me once, but Oriola and Vernay were right behind me and it was a big risk. I lost two positions and then Borković came with the Alfa. P1 and P3 for M1RA was really good for the drivers’ and teams’ standings. In Race 2, I had another good start and then Norbi was behind me so it was a bit safer than Race 1. There was a good fight with Comini on the first lap and I always enjoy fighting with him, it was a lot of fun.”
Stefano Comini (3rd in race 2): “This wasn’t exactly what I needed, to be honest. I wanted to leave here leading the championship, but we didn’t have the pace. I ruined the first start and lost many positions. I only wanted to avoid contact to secure the car for Race 2. The second start was a little difficult as it took a bit too long and I was worried about the engine temperature and the clutch. It was a tough race as I wanted to preserve the tyres but it was a good race for me. It’s a bit more complicated now, but it’s still open. We need to work with Audi ahead of China but I’m fairly happy.”
The TCR International Series will resume in China, at the brand new Zhejiang Circuit, on October 7 and 8.
TCR Thailand – Nuya wins two from Lewattanavaragul
For the second consecutive year, TCR Thailand’s competitors raced together with the International Series at Buriram’s Chang International Circuit.
Chariya Nuya scored a double victory in the Billionaire Boys Racing Honda Civic, which helped him to take the lead in the series’ Pro Am class, 11 points ahead of Morin Racing’s Nattanid Lewattaravanagul. The lady driver proved to be fast and tough enough to make Nuya’s life hard in both races, finishing twice a very close second.
Despite the fact that he was forced to retire in Race 1 Pasarit Promsombat (RMI Racing SEAT León) clinched the title in the Am class with one event still to go.
In Race 1, Promsombat took the lead from Nuya on lap 3, however with only three laps to go he hit a pile of tyre and retired. Nuya inherited the lead and crossed the finishing line first, only three seconds ahead of Leewattanavaragul. Rattanin Leenutaphong completed the podium at the wheel of his Yotrakit Racing Team SEAT León.
Nuya led the whole second race, but he had to fight hard to defend his lead from the attacks of Lewattanavaragul who was chasing him within striking distance. Behind them, Nattachak Hanjitkasen (TBN MK Ihere Racing Honda) overtook Leenutaphong for third on lap 6; on lap 11 Leenutaphong lost also fourth position to Promsombat.
The fight for third was white-hot and eventually Promsombat managed to clinch it on the last lap from Leenutaphong and Hanjitkasen.
A delighted Nuya commented: “I’m very happy with the results in both races. I did my best, but it wasn’t enough to fight with the International Series drivers. My ambition is to maybe move up from TCR Thailand into TCR Asia or even higher. I will need to talk to my sponsor about that, but this weekend and the race results have helped.”
The TCR Thailiand championship will return to Buriram for its final race meeting on September 23 and 24.
Finally two great updates that once again prove TCR is the place to be in Touring Cars…
Giovanardi’s Racing Comeback in TCR Italy
Fabrizio Giovanardi returns to Touring Car competition the TCR Italy event at Vallelunga on September 24. Three years after his latest appearance in the BTCC, the former European, British and Italian champion will sit at the wheel of a SEAT León TCR run by BF Racing, sharing driving duties with Alessandro Thellung.
Giovanardi tested the car at Vallelunga last week, completing 40 laps with promising lap times.
“I am surely not racing just to make up the numbers. It is a one-off appearance and it can’t be more than that, for the time being. I decided to race only after I had the opportunity to test the car, because I want to be competitive,” said Giovanardi.
Talking of the SEAT TCR that is fitted with a DGS gearbox, Giovanardi commented: “It is a very honest car. It has more power than the SuperTouring and S2000 cars, but the chassis feels much better. The DSG gearbox does not allow you to attack as much as you would like and you have to get used to it. But, apart from that, it is a pleasure to drive.”
Hyundai i30 N TCR set for TCR International Series Debut
The Hyundai i30 N TCR will enter both remaining rounds of the 2017 TCR International Series season, starting with the one at Zhejiang Circuit in China.
Two cars will be run by BRC Racing, Hyundai Motorsport’s development partner on the i30 N TCR, for Gabriele Tarquini and Alain Menu. The team intends to use the experience gained from the race weekends to finalise the set-up for the car ahead of the first chassis being produced for customers.
Tarquini, the lead test driver for the project, will continue his work at the wheel of the i30 N TCR as one of the drivers for both of the TCR International Series events.
Throughout the testing phase the former World Touring Car champion’s expertise has proved invaluable in helping the team during the development phase. The second car will be driven by Alain Menu who brings further experience to the team, adding to considerable expertise of his new teammate. The additional input from a second, very experienced driver, will help the team continue to improve the set-up of the car through the final part of the year as Hyundai Motorsport’s attention turns to delivering completed chassis to customers, starting in early December.
Both drivers completed a two-day test last week in Valencia, conducting final preparations on the new chassis they will drive in China. Both i30 N TCR cars sported the race colour scheme that brings together the N logo and Hyundai Motorsport’s traditional colours.
Hyundai Motorsport Team Principal Michel Nandan said: “The debut in the TCR International Series is a big moment for the project. Coming in China, alongside the TCR Asia and TCR China series, the weekend is the ideal event to show the potential of the i30 N TCR to teams and drivers. The look of the cars ties the i30 N TCR very closely to the N line-up of road models, so a strong performance would promote both the racecar and the standard models”
Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Manager Andrea Adamo said: “Bringing the i30 N TCR to the TCR International Series for the final events of the season is a very important moment for all of Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing. The weekend in China comes at a crucial time of the year, as teams and drivers are now planning their campaigns for the 2018 season. To be able to show the performance of the i30 N TCR at the highest level is a big opportunity for us. However, the races also give us the chance to continue our development work.”
One final thing I’m going to add here is that as a long time Vauxhall/Opel fan in Touring Car racing over the years, I was devastated as I watched on Sunday Morning Mat’o Homola’s retirement from race one. I mean, what has this poor guy got to do to win a race a 2017!! What ever it is, he needs to find it!!
That Opel Astra is more than capable of taking a win and the proof is there after its been qualified on pole position on three occasions this year. Both Homola and DG Sport Compeition have four chances left to give the car its first win and I am confident that this will happen.
When it does, be assured, there will be tears from this long time Vauxhall/Opel fan!!
As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of both the TCR Talk International Facebook Group and the new TCR Talk UK Facebook Group who will also be sharing their thoughts as well as any news from The TCR International Series and any news on the TCR UK Series tat starts in 2018.
Until next time, all the best!