A Hungarian Adventure. Europe VS The World again in TCR

June 21, 2023

Written by Chris Hosie

Image Credit: europe.tcr-series.com


The Hungaroring in Hungary would play host to the latest round of TCR Europe and the TCR World Tour. And it would see the world's best touring car stars duel with Europe’s brightest talents.

The World Tour contingent arrived in Hungary after an intense and exciting outing in Italy for the TCR Festival. Which saw TCR Italy in attendance along with a vast ACI support roster. This weekend both TCR Europe and World Tour stars would compete against each other once again. In support of the International GT and EuroFormula Open. Also, in support was F4 Italy and the Formula Regional by Alpine. With the Clio Cup adding to the multinational schedule of competition.

Race one got under way with the Lynk&Co of Yann Ehrlacher on pole Position alongside the Honda of Nestor Girolami. With the rest of the Lynk&Co and Hyundai contingent rounding out the top 10. Also staring well and being the one of the European competitors was the Privateer Lynk&Co of Viktor Anderson. He would start in the top 20. The race started with a drag race down towards turn one. With Girolami and Ehrlacher side by side. The Frenchman just managing to hold the Civic at bay as everyone else made it through the right first corner without any drama. Not that drama didn’t strike, a couple of cars in the World Tour contingent going wide a turn three. Thankfully with not lasting damage.

Mikel Azcona had a fantastic start and was in fourth putting pressure on Girolami. The Argentine driver losing second place to Ma Qing Hau and now had the Hyundai breathing down his neck. Tom Coronel and Kobe Pauwels rounded out the top 10 and were 1st and second in the European class. The leading Audi in all this was Fred Vervisch, he was in fifth place on the first lap and involved in a long train fight for third.

The cars snaked their way around the famed Grand Prix track with the ever-spectacular grace and splendour that one can only find in premiere touring car competition. On lap two the battle for third would quickly become one for second as the train led by Girolami’s Honda caught up with the Lynk&Co of Hau. With Ehrlacher sprinting away upfront. Anderson was in an intense battle with John Filippi and the Hyundai of Dusan Borkovic. However, that battle would be brought to a touchy end on the exit of turn four and Anderson and Borkovic touched fenders when the swede tried to pass the Frenchman’s Audi. The Swede was sent onto the tires and he was out. Borkovic received a tap himself at turn five but thankfully recovered.

As that happened Girolami passed Hau with a beautiful move in the penultimate corner and allowed Azcona to go past too. The Spaniard, however, wasn’t finished and tried round the outside of the Honda in a bid for second. The Honda miraculously holding out. As the race went on, the order settled itself down. At least for some. In the mid pack, Borkovic got into a real battle with the Hyundai of Mikeal Karlsson. The two of them exchanging 15th while Viktor Davidovski was battling with the Girolami’s teammate, Estonian Ruben Volt who had been on the tail of Davidovski’s teammate, Filippi. The Russian pulled off a fantastic overtake on the second to last corner, but he couldn’t make it work and was immediately under attack from Karlsson’s teammate, Kevin Ceccon. The Italian passing the Audi on the start/finish straight.

Volt would later pass Filippi on lap 9 only to retire with a problem on his Civic on the next lap. Ceccon blitzing past the Audis on the same lap in a thrilling battle for 13th. Up front however, no one could catch Yann Ehrlacher. The Frenchman cruising home to victory ahead of Girolami and Azcona making it three different brands in the top three places. Kobe Pauwels would finish 10th overall and lead home the European competitors. His teammate Coronel finishing second to the Belgian with Pauwels also taking another win in the Rookie class.

Race two saw Borkovic starting on pole alongside the Lynk&Co of Thed Bjork. And, once the lightest went out, it was the Hyundai that grabbed the lead but, only for the first few yards. As the Blue machine of Bjork, a multiple champion of the Swedish and Scandinavian touring car scene, grabbed the lead from the Elantra. Then, all hell broke loose as Borkovic was tagged by another of the blue machines and sent spinning out of turn one. He collected Azcona in the process who, while heading backward with traffic trying to navigate the chaos, tagged the Audi of Davidovski. Sending the Russian into the grass. 

This caused the safety car to be called despite Azcona getting back underway. With the initial distance extended to 15 laps from the original 13, the cars got back underway on lap four and Vervisch was immediately under pressure from Santiago Urrutia for second place. Bjork storming away up front. The battle for third would soon involve a recovering Azcona and Rob Huff as all four battled furiously for the last podium spot not just overall but also for valuable World Tour points. Kobe Pauwels meanwhile was heading up the European contenders in eighth place. Coronel was 11th overall behind the Elantra of Ceccon. 

Huff passed Urrutia and then challenged his French teammate for third. The two Audis squabbling like two siblings over the last cookie in the family biscuit tin. Further back, Urrutia was in a fierce battle with Azcona, Girolami and race one winner Ehrlacher for fifth. With the Spaniard winning out and then caught Vervisch. Dragging the Argentine and Erhlancher along with him. The battle soon becoming one for third with Borkovic dropping back due to issues with his car.

However, Vervisch would just hold on to third place as Bjork took victory in race two, making it another dominant win for the Chinese boys and girls in blue. With their Swedish counterparts from former Factory Volvo outfit, Cyan Racing, who build and run these cars in the World Tour and former WTCR. Huff got second with Pauwels taking another win in TCR Europe and a clean sweep of the Rookie class. 

And so, there you have it. A Hungarian showdown for the ages. Another incredible weekend of thrilling TCR action. Next stop for the World Tour stars is and Argentine double header in August after a much-deserved summer break. TCR Europe also takes a break until July 22-23rd. Where the stars and cars of Europe’s premiere touring car championship support the GT and EuroFormula Open once again in France. At the famed and revered Paul Ricard Circuit in Le Castellet. 


Log in to comment