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Segunda, 22 Outubro 2018 08:23 | Actualizado em Sábado, 12 Junho 2021 22:58

Barcelona, Spain – 19 / 21 October 2018

Mikel Azcona is the champion, as Mike Halder claims race victory
Hell Energy Racing with KCMG grabs the Teams’ title

Mission accomplished! At the end of a nearly spotless season in which Mikel Azcona asserted himself as a fast and consistent driver, the young Spaniard has grabbed the TCR Europe Series title. An exploit that is even more impressive considering that both, the 22-year-old driver and the PCR Sport team were facing their maiden international season.
Today, Azcona was entirely focused on the title and let the others fight for the positions. Eventually he drove his Cupra safe to the end in eighth place, right behind Jean-Karl Vernay, the only title contender survived who finished runner up in the standings.
The others – Dušan Borković and Attila Tassi – had been eliminated during the first lap in a collision that was later investigated by the Stewards and considered as a normal racing incident.
With the title fight being decided by the placing, other drivers had an opportunity to shine.
Series newcomers Mike Halder and Ashley Sutton proved they have a place amongst the top-runners in TCR Europe. Halder, a title contender in TCR Germany, had been hired by the Hell Energy Racing with KCMG to help the team clinching the Teams’ title, and he successfully performed his duty driving his Honda Civic to a lights-to-flag victory that was worth the points needed to clinch the title. Sutton, a former BTCC champion and TCR UK race winner, conquered a well-deserved podium by finishing third, sandwiched between M1RA teammates Dániel Nagy and Norbert Michelisz.

Key facts
Start – Halder pips pole sitter Terting at the start and leads the field into Turn 1
Lap 1 – Borković and Tassi collide, the Hungarian’s Honda spins off and stops onto the gravel; at the back of the field a collision eliminates Sathienthirakul, Berthon and Gavrilov
Lap 2 – the safety car is deployed; Borković pits and retires; the surviving title contenders are 7th (Azcona) and 8th (Vernay)
Lap 5 – racing resumes; Sutto overtakes Terting for 3rd; Paulsen overtakes Abreu for 10th
Lap 6 – Terting defends fourth place from Michelisz, but the Hungarian manages to go through; Barr overtakes Andreas Bäckman for 12th
Lap 7 – Sutton is chasing second-placed Nagy; Barr overtakes Abreu for 11th
Lap 8 – Vernay and Briché overtake Azcona who drops to ninth
Lap 9 – Navarro goes off onto the gravel
Lap 10 – Briché retires from eighth
Lap 11 – Halder is closely chased by Nagy, Sutton and Michelisz; Terting defends the fifth position from Files and Vernay
Lap 12 – Halder wins from Nagy and Sutton; Azcona finished eighth and grabs the title

Driver quotes after the second race

Mike Halder (winner): "I am of course very happy of this first participation in TCR Europe. It was my first time with the team, with the Yokohama tyres and here at Barcelona, so I can only be very satisfied with the result in Race 2, where the package proved really competitive. Not bad, considering that after being bumped off by another car in Free Practice 2, our plan for the weekend was disrupted. Next year I really would like to be able to do a double programme, TCR Germany and TCR Europe."

Dániel Nagy (second): "It was much harder than it could seem from the outside. I am happy with the performance and to finish the season like that. My tyres were gone quite early, because of the close fight with Sutton. When I eventually could pass him, I had to manage the tyres and still, I was able to reduce the gap from Halder. I think that with a couple more laps, I could have caught him."

Ashley Sutton (third): "I'm obviously very satisfied with the experience. It was my first race out of the UK and in such a big circuit. It was a good weekend for me and I enjoyed the TCR Europe a lot."

Mikel Azcona (TCR Europe champion): "It's great, I am so happy of this title! I can't realize I have conquered a great continental championship such as TCR Europe, against such big names of Touring Car racing. And being crowned here, in Spain, in front of all my people, it is just a dream come true. I really want to thank everybody in the team and at Cupra for making this possible."

Kris Richard was excluded from the event

Target Competition’s Kris Richard has been excluded from the Barcelona race weekend following remarks made on social media after Qualifying. The Stewards announced that the remarks ‘caused moral injury to the Stewards’ and so the Swiss driver will lose the four points he scored in Race 1 as well as being excluded from the final TCR Europe race of the season.
The remarks, since deleted, are understood to have been critical of the Stewards’ decision to award Richard a ten-place grid penalty as well as deleting his lap time following a breach of track limits during Q2.
The decision means Target Competition drops a two points behind Hell Energy Racing with KCMG in the fight for the Teams’ Championship. The two teams are now five points apart going into Race 2 in Barcelona.

2018 TCR Europe Series – calendar

5/6 May – Circuit Paul Ricard, France (International GT Open)
19/21 May – Circuit Zandvoort, Netherlands (Jumbo Racing Days) *
9/10 June – Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium (International GT Open) *
7/8 July – Hungaroring, Hungary (International GT Open) *
18/19 August – TT Circuit Assen, Netherlands (Gamma Racing Days) *
22/23 September – Autodromo di Monza, Italy (International GT Open)
20/21 October – Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya, Spain (International GT Open) *

* With TCR Benelux



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