Here is the TCR Talk roundup of all the 2018 TCR Europe Series action that took place at the Hungaroring circuit, from Qualifying all the way though to Race One on Saturday and Race Two on Sunday…
The 2018 TCR Europe Series Entry List For Hungary:
The Parish Notes for Hungary…
The TCR Europe series resumed at Budapest’s Hungaroring for rounds 7 and 8 with PCR Sport’s Mikel Azcona as the current points leader. The young Spaniard looked to try and defend his 11-point margin ahead of Dušan Borković (Target Competition), while Jean-Karl Vernay (Leopard Lukoil Team WRT) has hopes to further reduce his gap of 39 points.
TCR Europe welcomed back Igor Stefanovski (Stefanovski Racing Team) who was forced to miss the previous race meeting at Spa for the consequences of his crash at Zandvoort, and return with the aim of showing their potential.
The other two drivers supported by Autodis Racing, apart from Stefano Comini, swapped cars for the weekend in Hungary: Cedric Piro took over the Hyundai i30 N run by Piro Sport, while Loris Cencetti moved to the Honda Civic run by THX.
Two Hungarian teams also took part in the event alongside the regular M1RA with Nagy and Francisco Mora. Zengő Motorsport returned to the series with a Cupra TCR DSG for Ferenc Ficza whilst JLG Sport lodged an entry for former TCR International Series driver Mark Jedloczky also in a Cupra TCR.
Balance of Performance/Compensation Weight Update…
The combination of BoP and Compensation Weight listed the Audi RS3 LMS as the heaviest car (1315kg); the Cupra, Honda Civic and Hyundai cars are 50kg lighter, while the Volkswagen Golf and Peugeot 308 are a further 10 and 40kg lighter respectively.
Azcona pips Tassi and Files in Qualifying
After being the last driver to make the cut for Q2, Mikel Azcona secured his first pole position of the year with a last gasp lap on the drying track.
A perfect strategy from PCR Sport meant that the young Spaniard waited until the final moments in Q2, when the racing line were dryer, to mount two slick tyres at the front and set the fastest lap of 2:05.652. Thus, he pipped Tassi (2:06.105) and Files (2:06.393) who seemed to have locked the front row of the grid for Race 1.
Target Competition drivers Dušan Borković and Reece Barr qualified fourth and fifth respectively, with the Irishman making up from a disappointing day of Practice and claiming his best Qualifying result so far.
Zengő Motorsport’s TCR returnee Ferenc Ficza put in a brilliant effort to place his Cupra DSG in sixth position, ahead of his fellow countryman Dániel Nagy who had been fastest in Q1.
Francisco Abreu qualified eighth despite having his fastest lap disallowed for a track limit infringement, while Julien Briché and Francisco Mora rounded off the top ten and secured the front row on the reverse grid for Race 2 where Mora will be on pole.
It was a disappointing session for Kris Richard, who was the first to miss the cut for Q2 by 48 thousandths of a second only whilst Jean-Karl Vernay and Stefano Comini who were also eliminated after Q1.
The Frenchman had a quick lap disallowed for a track limit infringement, was called back to the pits by his team and rejoined when it was too late, while Comini’s car suffered from a gearbox issue.
Borković wins a thrilling race from Paulsen and Nagy whilst Azcona retains the points lead
Dušan Borković returned to victory in a very entertaining Race 1 at the Hungaroring, after a thrilling fight on a track that was humid and treacherous after the morning rain.
The Serbian driver at Target Competition, who had won the two races of the season-opener at Paul Ricard, collected his third victory at the wheel of his Hyundai i30 N. He chased the leading trio of Josh Files, Mikel Azcona and Attila Tassi during the first three laps, then chose the right moment to attack while his competitors were fighting.
After a contact between Files – who stopped with a puncture – and Azcona – who lost a few places, the battle continued with Tassi defending second from a charging Julien Briché. A contact ensued, which eliminated them both: Tassi in the gravel, Briché with a drive-through.
This promoted Stian Paulsen to second and Azcona to third; while the Norwegian was happily flying towards his first podium, Azcona did not settle for third and attempted an overtaking manoeuvre. He found himself involved in the duel between Stefano Comini and Reece Barr and was lucky to escape the collision and finish fourth behind Dániel Nagy.
Thus he retained the championship lead, only one point clear of Borković.
Kris Richard, Jens Reno Møller (his best result of the season so far), Jean-Karl Vernay (TCR Benelux winner), Stefano Comini (who recovered from 22nd on the grid), Danny Kroes and Márk Jedlóczky (who scored his first point) rounded off the top-ten.
Marie Baus-Coppens won the DSG Trophy in 15th position overall.
Mora takes maiden victory from Nagy as M1RA claims 1-2 finish on its home racetrack
On a warm afternoon, the Hungaroring produced another lively race, which was won by Francisco Mora, at the wheel of the M1RA Hyundai i30 N. This was the maiden win for the Portuguese driver and M1RA, with Dániel Nagy providing the icing on the cake by securing a 1-2 finish for the Hungarian team.
Mora made a perfect use of the pole position on the reversed grid, having to fight in the early stages with the Peugeot 308 cars of his fellow countryman Francisco Abreu and Julien Briché; then he managed to maintain a safe leading gap ahead of local hero Nagy in the closing lap.
Josh Files emerged from the tough battle to take the third spot on the podium, ahead of his teammate Attila Tassi, while Abreu was classified fifth – his best result so far – as he was able to keep at bay Reece Barr and Kris Richard.
The remaining points positions were filled by Stefano Comini – who recovered again from 22nd on the grid – series returnee Ferenc Ficza and Stian Paulsen.
In a race that saw both Mikel Azcona and Dušan Borković – first and second in the standings – out of the points, Nagy has closed the gap and is now a closer third, 25 points behind Azcona and 24 from Borković.
Borković and Files get grid penalty for next race
Both Dušan Borković and Josh Files will be dropped by three positions on the starting grid for the first race of TCR Europe’s next event at Assen.
The Target Competition driver was penalised for bumping into the back of Josh Files’ car during today’s second race at the Hungaroring.
Files was given a similar penalty for pushing wide Julien Briché during the very same race and overtaking him.
The TCR Europe series will resume at Assen TT Circuit on August 18/19.
The Guru’s Thoughts…
The TCR Europe Series weekend in Hungary brought up on of the most talked about topics in Turing Car racing in general: Contact and the acceptable levels of it.
Now the fans and drivers love both closing racing and an acceptable level of contact on track, but there were several times in Hungary that the level of contact was pushed a bit too far. I reference the contact in race one between Tassi and Briche which led to Tassi being effectively nurfed off into the gravel and caused a safety car period.
Whilst the field went around behind the Safety Car, there was a message on screen for Briche to serve a Drive Through Penalty…which the French driver subsequently ignored! This resulted in a 30 second penalty added to the race results however, if Briche had not carried on the contact on the rear of Tassi’s Honda…that would have been avoided!
This is one example of the many example of contact that took place within both races but it also highlighted that the Stewards weren’t afraid to punish the drivers. After all we want to see good close racing but we also want it to be fair and there’s been a few occasions this year where it hasn’t been the case.
The series moves on to the fast Assen circuit in mid August and its one that’s going to test the drivers and also start to weed out those who will be racing for the title and those who will be after race wins…
As per usual, I will be keeping things up to date on here with the blog as well as with the members of The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group who share their thoughts as well as any news from FIA WTCR, The TCR Europe Series, Domestic & Regional TCR Series and any news on the TCR UK Series which started this year.
All images are used courtesy of WSC / TCR Europe Touring Car Series
Until next time, all the best!