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 Nürburgring, 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…
Thierry Neuville is the Hyundai guest star at the Nürburgring
World Rally Championship star Thierry Neuville was the latest Hyundai guest driver at the Nürburgring, where his Hyundai i30 N car was run by Hyundai Team Engstler.
The 31-year-old Belgian has finished four times a runner up in WRC (2013, 2016, 2017 and 2018), scoring 11 victories. At the wheel of a Hyundai i20 Coupe he lies in third place in the standings, twenty-five points behind the leader Ott Tänak (Toyota Yaris) and three behind the second-placed Sébastien Ogier (Citroën C3).
This will be Neuville’s first-ever participation in a major circuit race, for which he is being coached and tutored by the reigning WTCR champion Gabriele Tarquini.
Thierry Neuville sets pole position for his maiden race
World Rally Championship star Thierry Neuville managed to surprise all of his competitors in Qualifying at the Nürburgring. Coached by WTCR champion Gabriele Tarquini, Neuville drove his Hyundai i30 N to set the fastest laps in both Q1 and Q2.
Neuville’s fellow driver at Team Engstler, Max Hesse, qualified in second position and pocketed the five points awarded for the ADAC TCR Germany pole position because the guest driver is not eligible to score points.
Title contenders Mike Halder and Harald Proczyk posted the third and fifth fastest laps and so scored four and two points, reducing their gaps to championship leader Antti Buri to 20 and 10 points respectively.
In Q1 Julien Apothéloz and Théo Coicaud were the first drivers to post provisional fastest laps, but it was Hesse who was the first to clock a time under the 1 minute 35 mark. The young German set two provisional fastest laps of 1:34.681 and 1:34.294. However, with seven minutes left on the clock, Neuville set a time of 1:33.815. With the Belgian firmly in control, the focus switched to the battle to make the cut for Q2.
Kai Jordan, Apothéloz and Buri made it into the top twelve, while Michelle Halder – the winner of the second race at Zandvoort – was eliminated, only 65 thousandths of a second behind Jordan.
In Q2, Hesse and Neuville were the only drivers to lap in the 1:33 range on their first attempt. The second run resulted in improvements for Halder, Coicaud and Proczyk who were placed third, fourth and fifth respectively.
Hesse was also able to go faster, but his 1:33.845 was 37 thousandths of a second too slow for stealing the pole from Neuville. Series returnee Pascal Eberle and Mitchell Cheah qualified tenth and ninth, securing the front row spots on the reverse grid for the second race that took place on Sunday.
Winning debut for Thierry Neuville at the Nürburgring
Guest star Thierry Neuville completed an amazing debut in circuit racing, as he dominated the first ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship race at the Nürburgring. Neuville led for the whole distance and his race leading position was never questioned, despite dealing with a safety car period.
With Neuville not eligible to score, his team-mate Max Hesse happily settled in second position to take away maximum points to aid his championship charge.
At the start, Neuville sprinted away from pole, while Harald Proczyk dived to the inside of Hesse at turn one, making contact with Mike Halder’s car that spun triggering a chain reaction. Michelle Halder swerved onto the grass in avoidance as Théo Coicaud, Dominik Fugel and Karen Gaillard all came together and spun, causing Antti Buri to lose several positions.
Proczyk’s car was damaged after the incident and so the Austrian was passed by team-mate Lukas Niedertscheider, Julien Apothéloz, Buri and Mitchell Cheah, dropping from third to seventh place.
On lap five, Burns pulled over the Pyro Motorsport Honda after a scary engine failure on track and the safety car was deployed. When the race restarted on lap eleven, Neuville pulled away again, followed by Hesse, while Apothéloz and Buri began a thrilling fight for third place that lasted until the end of the race with the Swiss driver managing to beat Buri by one-tenth of a second at the finish line.
Proczyk dropped further down the order thanks to his damaged Hyundai and finished in eleventh position, while half-a-dozen drivers were given a drive-through for a jump-start, including the Halder siblings.
The race one result means that Buri is still at the head of the standings, with Hesse now moved into second place only twenty-four points behind. Proczyk has slipped down to third, two points behind Hesse, while Halder is fourth with a gap of forty-four points to Buri.
Max Hesse declared the winner of a shortened race two
The second race at the Nürburgring was plagued by terrible weather conditions as torrential rain hit the track after a few laps, resulting in a safety car intervention that was followed by the red flag and the announcement that the race would not be resumed.
Eventually, Max Hesse was declared the winner with Pascal Eberle in second place ahead of championship leader Antti Buri and Mike Halder… however, the race originally had a much different look…
In dry conditions pole-sitter Eberle stalled at the start allowing Dominik Fugel to take the lead ahead of Buri, Cheah and Proczyk. Cheah passed Buri for second before the Finn was hit by Lukas Niedertscheider and sent wide at turn two, dropping to eleventh place.
As the rain began to fall, Proczyk passed Cheah and Fugel to take the lead whilst Théo Coicaud, whose car was badly damaged at the front, and Hesse followed in fourth and fifth places respectively. Eberle, Mike Halder, Thierry Neuville, Julien Apothéloz and Buri completed the top ten places.
Coicaud stopped, smoke coming from his engine just before a shower hit the track. A number of drivers pitted for rain tyres, including Proczyk, Fugel and Cheah, while Hesse inherited the lead ahead of Eberle, Buri, Halder, Apothéloz and Neuville.
Proczyk rejoined having lost one lap, but rain intensified and on lap six all of the drivers who hadn’t pitted – Hesse, Eberle, Buri, Halder, Apothéloz and Neuville – went off the track and rejoined. Buri, Halder, Apothéloz and Neuville elected to pit for rain tyres, while Hesse and Eberle stayed off, still on slicks in first and second position.
As the weather worsened, the safety car was deployed and after two laps the race was red-flagged. The final results were declared at the end of lap six, with Hesse, Eberle, Buri, Mike Halder, Apothéloz and Neuville declared in the first six places of the final order.
The race was not resumed and so only half points were awarded. Buri has retains the lead in the standings with a margin of twenty-two points over Hesse, while Proczyk and Halder are third and fourth, with gaps of thirty-eight and forty-six points respectively.
The 2019 ADAC TCR Germany Touring Car Championship’s next race meeting will be at Hockenheimring.
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!