After following the likes of the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), the TCR Europe Touring Car Series and the TCR UK Touring Car Championship in recent seasons, TCR Talk will be following a new series for 2019:
The 2019 ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship
Here is the TCR Talk roundup of all the action that took place at the Red Bull Ring circuit in Spielberg, from Qualifying all the way through to Race One on Saturday and Race Two on Sunday…
In the build-up to the race weekend, there was some surprising news as the latest driver of the guest entry being run by Hyundai Team Engstler was revealed…
Tarquini is the Hyundai guest star at the Red Bull Ring
Gabriele Tarquini will be Hyundai’s guest driver in the 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 in the Czech Republic last time out.
“I saw many races on TV last year, especially after Hyundai’s joined 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 by Max Hesse (Team Engstler Hyundai) and Antti Buri (LMS Racing Audi RS 3 LMS) who are 15 and 17 points behind respectively.
Defending champion, Harald Proczyk (HP Racing International Hyundai), is placed fourth, a further 20 points adrift. In 2018 the two races at the Red Bull Ring were won by the Audi of Niels Langeveld and by Proczyk in an Opel Astra.
Steibel claims his first pole position in TCR Germany
Sebastian Steibel claimed his first ever pole position in the ADAC TCR Germany series as he topped both Q1 and Q2 at the Red Bull Ring.
Driving his Volkswagen Golf GTI run by his own team, Steibel posted a lap of 1:37.137 in Q2 that was only six-hundredths of a second faster than that set by Julien Apothéloz’s CUPRA (1:37.197), forming an unprecedented front row on the grid for race one.
Reigning champion Harald Proczyk qualified in third position, followed by young Malaysian Mitchell Cheah and Hyundai guest driver Gabriele Tarquini.
It was a bad day for the championship’s main contenders, as Mike Halder and Max Hesse – who were first and second in the standings coming into the event – were slowed by technical issues and did not qualify for Q2. Antti Buri made the cut but could not qualify better than seventh.
Proczyk storms to opening race victory at the Red Bull Ring
Reigning TCR Germany 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 the Audi RS 3 LMS of 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 the first turn with broken steering. The safety car was deployed while Tarquini’s Hyundai was recovered, with Proczyk leading from Julien Apothéloz and Mitchell Cheah. 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 whilst both Coicaud and Max Hesse had passed Steibel, who now dropped to seventh.
On lap five, contact between Bradley Burns’ Honda Civic and the Hyundai of Lukas Niedertscheider saw the British youngster up on two wheels before heading towards the pits and retirement. The incident clearly didn’t slow Niedertscheider, who was soon up into eighth place.
The race then settled down for several laps, with Proczyk opening up a slight gap over Apothéloz, Cheah and Buri whilst 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 which saw both Cheah and Buri quickly pass 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.
Proczyk was never troubled and took a straightforward win on home ground. Buri failed to snatch second place away from Cheah and so had to settle for third place ahead of Apothéloz. Coicaud was fifth, Steibel finished sixth and the top ten was completed by Niedertscheider, Michelle Halder, René Kircher and Maurits Sandberg.
Buri leads the Drivers’ series by nine points from Mike Halder, who slipped to second after being classified as the last-placed finisher, while Proczyk is now in third place on the same number of points as Halder.
Antti Buri claims another Race two victory in Austria
Finland’s Antti Buri, driving the LMS Racing Audi RS3 LMS, took victory in race two at the Red Bull Ring, holding off the reigning champion and race one winner Harald Proczyk, with pole-sitter René Kircher completing the podium places.
The opening moments of the race proved decisive. Michelle Halder, starting second on the grid, made a better start than Kircher and took the lead into turn one, with Buri having passed Dominik Fugel for third place. Guest driver Gabriele Tarquini briefly snatched third from Buri before contact with another car allowed the Finn to reclaim the position.
Buri then passed Kircher for second place on lap two, 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 on lap seven, with Buri immediately attacking Michelle Halder for the lead. Going into turn one, the Audi eased past the Honda on the inside line, with Cheah also passing as Halder was forced to run slightly wide. Following slight contact, Proczyk then also passed Halder for P3, with the Profi-Car Team driver dropping from the lead to fourth in the space of less than a minute.
Several drivers incurred penalties for infringements, with Bradley Burns given a drive-through for pushing another car. At the head of the field, and during a tense battle with Buri for the lead, Cheah also received a drive-through after it was judged that he had jumped the start. The penalty saw the Malaysian drop from second place to eventually finish the race in the tenth position and meant that Proczyk moved into second place.
It also took the pressure off Buri, who now had a comfortable advantage at the head of the field. Proczyk was too far back to make any inroads into that 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 Julien Apothéloz passed Mike Halder for eighth place, Halder would retake the position at the very next corner.
So Buri took his third win of the season, beating Proczyk by 6.7 seconds. Kircher’s third place meant there were two Audi cars on the podium, while Michelle Halder and Max Hesse completed the top five. The remainder of the top ten places were occupied by Lukas Niedertscheider, Théo Coicaud, Mike Halder, Julien Apothéloz and Mitchell Cheah.
Buri stretched his lead in the standings to 13 points over Proczyk, while Mike Halder is third, a further 18 points adrift. The 2019 ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship will now take a two-month break before racing at Zandvoort on 9-11 August.
Where can you watch the action?
The ADAC TCR Germany Series follows the successful route, which has worked for almost all TCR Series around the globe, of showing all of their races live on YouTube.
This is done on the ADAC YouTube Account which you can find here. The ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship is also the only other series outside of WTCR, TCR Europe and TCR UK that has English commentary, so this allows for a wider audience to follow the series. You can also find the races broadcast live at TCR TV.
To catch up with any of the 2019 races that you have missed with English Commentary, please follow the link to my YouTube Playlist:
I will be keeping things up to date on here as well as in The Official TCR Talk Group & The TCR UK Fans Group where members will also be sharing their thoughts and any news from The 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR), The 2019 TCR Europe Touring Car Series, The 2019 TCR UK Touring Car Championship and other Domestic & Regional TCR Series from around the world.
All images are used in this blog are courtesy of ADAC Motorsport-Gruppe C Photography unless otherwise credited.
Until next time, all the best!