Barcelona, Spain – 19 / 21 October 2018
RACE 2 REPORT
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.
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
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
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
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
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