Touring Car Racing

TCR customer round-up 6

Teams running Hyundai cars continued their dominant runs in both TCR Asia and TCR Eastern Europe

Teams running Hyundai cars continued their dominant runs in both TCR Asia and TCR Eastern Europe

Hyundai Motorsport customers further boosted their title hopes as they approach the mid-point of the year with great results in both circuit racing and rallying. Norbert Michelisz and BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse were able to add to their advantage in the Kumho FIA TCR World Tour over the course of two races at Mid-Ohio where the Bryan Herta Autosport team scored a first win of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season. Teams running Hyundai cars continued their dominant runs in both TCR Asia and TCR Eastern Europe with podium sweeps of weekends in both series, while – in his first race back in the Elantra N TCR he won the 2023 title with – Josh Buchan scored a podium in all three TCR Australia races at the most recent event.

Elantra N TCR customers extend lead after Mid-Ohio World Tour stop
Norbert Michelisz and BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse added to their leads at the top of the drivers’ and teams’ standings at the Kumho FIA TCR World Tour weekend at Mid-Ohio (June 7-8). Together with team-mate Mikel Azcona, Michelisz locked out the front row in qualifying for the Elantra N TCR. At the start of Race 1 polesitter Azcona took the lead, though Michelisz had to slot into third. Azcona pulled away and looked set for victory before he slowed in the second half of the race with a mechanical problem that caused him to slip to third after Michelisz passed him on the final lap. Néstor Girolami finished fourth to add more valuable points for the team.

From tenth on the partly reversed grid for Race 2, Azcona made his way up to finish fourth after an action-packed race. Michelisz, similarly made good progress to fifth, while Girolami finished eighth after sustaining damage in some of the close quarters racing in the middle of the order.

Michelisz now sits 22 points ahead of his nearest rival in the individual standings, with Azcona a further two points behind. In the teams’ standings BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse are now 20 points clear after starting the weekend with a lead of just one point.

Also on the Mid-Ohio grid, for their Kumho FIA TCR World Tour debut, were Bryan Herta Autosport driver Mark Wilkins and Harry Gottsacker. A week on from their roles in the class-winning car in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, both drivers scored their best results in Race 1 – Wilkins in tenth and Gottsacker 11th.

Hyundai Motorsport customers continue dominance in TCR Eastern Europe
Maťo Homola and Attila Bucsi again split the weekend’s wins in TCR Eastern Europe between them at the Slovakia Ring (June 7-9), following the same pattern as the previous rounds at Balaton Park and Red Bull Ring.

In his home round of the championship, Slovakian Homola put his Janík Motorsport Elantra N TCR on pole ahead of team-mate Adam Kout. The pair converted those positions into first and second after the start – though they were briefly led after a blatant jump start by a rival.

Homola held the lead through to the chequered flag, but a puncture forced Kout out of second, handing the place to M1RA Motorsport i30 N TCR driver Bucsi, with Jiří Zbožínek taking third – his first podium in the series for Janík Motorsport. Žarko Knego also scored his best finish of the season – fifth in his Auto Klub Dubrovnik-entered Elantra N TCR.

Both Bucsi and Homola made quick progress from their spots towards the back of the top ten at the start of Race 2 – moving up to second and third on the opening lap before leading a charge to close the gap to the early leader. An audacious move by Bucsi gave him the lead, but Homola was unable to craft a way to follow him past on track. However, Homola was still classified second after a penalty was handed to the driver ahead. The same penalty promoted Kout to third to secure another podium sweep for Hyundai Motorsport customers.

Race 2 win helps defending TCR China champion keep pace in standings
Martin Cao was the highest placed Elantra N TCR driver in both TCR China races on the Shanghai International Circuit (June 7-9) as he maintained his strong start of the season. The Hyundai N team driver took advantage of a front row start for the second competition of the weekend to take a second victory of the year only four races into the campaign. The result, coupled with a fifth place from ninth on the grid in Race 1, kept him close to the early championship leader in the points.

The weekend also brought a best finish so far this season for Evolve Racing driver Lo Sze Ho, who came home one place behind Cao in Race 1.

Z.Speed drivers sweep podium in both TCR Asia encounters
Hyundai N by Z.Speed drivers dominated the second weekend of the TCR Asia season at Sepang (June 7-9). Zhang Zhendong enjoyed a perfect weekend, taking pole position and winning both races at the Malaysian track in his Elantra N TCR. In both contests he led a 1-2-3 for the Hyundai Motorsport customer team. In Race 1 he was chased home by Irishman Max Hart and Indonesian driver Benny Santoso, each in their own Elantra N TCR. Hart finished second again in Race 2, this time with Korean Doyun Hwang completing the podium places.

Bryan Herta Autosport take first win of IMSA season from Mid-Ohio endurance race
Preston Brown and Denis Dupont delivered a first win of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season for Bryan Herta Autosport at Mid-Ohio (June 7-9). The TCR class featured close racing throughout the four-hour contest and all four cars entered by the Hyundai Motor America-supported team featured in the battle for the major positions.

The race win was decided by pit strategy, with all the leading teams trying to eke out fuel during the closing stints of the race. Dupont was the last of the front runners to take a final splash of fuel inside of the last 20 minutes of the race – and so had the shortest stop. Quick pit work put him back out in the lead which he held for the final laps of the race. Harry Gottsacker and Robert Wickens combined to finish fourth. The #77 of Taylor Hagler and Bryson Morris finished eighth and the Victor Gonzalez Racing Team entry of Morgan Burkhard and Chase Jones in ninth was the fourth and final Elantra N TCR in the top ten.

Buchan scores podiums in every race on return to Elantra N TCR cockpit
Josh Buchan finished on the podium in all three TCR Australia races at The Bend Motorsports Park (May 31-June 2) as he switched back to the Elantra N TCR he won the title with in 2023 after starting the season in an i30 N TCR. He showed excellent pace to qualify second but had to start Race 1 from seventh – his car swap counting as an engine change in the series’ regulations. Undeterred, a superb opening lap brought him back to third position which he held for the rest of the event.

Buchan’s progress up the order from eighth in Race 2 was slower – he actually lost a spot on the opening lap. However, his was still able to bring the #1 car back through the field, taking third place on lap six and securing a return trip to the podium and pole position for the finale.

Unfortunately, he was unable to take full advantage after a slow start left him only fifth at the end of the conclusion of the opening lap. Again, he was able to harness the performance of the Elantra N TCR together with his own racecraft to recover up the order – laying down a new lap record as he did so – to complete the weekend with a second place.

His HMO Customer Racing team-mate Tom Oliphant scored a best finish of fifth at the wheel of an i30 N TCR.

Podium finish is the highlight of Pergusa trip
Elantra N TCR driver Michele Imberti completed the TCR Italy meeting at Pergusa (June 7-9) with third place in a chaotic Race 2 on the high-speed track. He inherited the position after a mid-race incident that prompted a Safety Car intervention. Once the clean-up was completed, Imberti was able to defend his position for the handful of laps that remained to secure the final spot on the podium.

Target Competition driver Federico Paolino finished seventh, with Trico WRT man Damiano Reduzzi ninth, despite having to pit from seventh with a puncture picked up in the incident that caused the interruption. Such was the rate of attrition in the race that Alex Ley – who entered the weekend as the points’ leader – was still able to finish 13th even though he lost two laps after taking damage to his Elantra N TCR early in the race.

Imberti was also the best placed Hyundai Motorsport customer in Race 1, finishing fifth with South Korean trio Junesung Park – who was an innocent victim in Race 2’s major incident – Junui Park and Hwarang Kim seventh, eighth and ninth.

i30 N TCR driver collects career-first TCR UK podium
Darron Lewis took his first-ever TCR UK podium in Race 2 of the day on the Oulton Park Island circuit (June 8). At the wheel of a JH Motorsport-prepared i30 N TCR, Lewis finished third in the contest after avoiding the drama around him, including a multi-car crash that triggered a lap 1 red flag. Behind him, Callum Newsham brought his i30 N TCR home fourth. Newsham had picked his way through the chaos of the start perfectly. Despite starting eleventh, he was second when the race was brought behind the Safety Car but was then made to do all the hard work again when the race restarted in the original grid order.

In Race 1, Newsham came off worse after contact with a rival while disputing fourth place and finished two laps down. Lewis finished sixth after picking up a five-second penalty. In an i30 N TCR entered by Capture Motorsport Steve Laidlaw finished ninth and sixth respectively in the two races.

Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Manager Benoit Nogier said:

“The Customer Racing department and our customers can be quite happy looking back on results over the last few weeks. While it was not a perfect in Mid-Ohio for BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse, both they and Norbert Michelisz were able to stretch their points’ leads. Strong weekends for our customers in TCR Australia, TCR China and TCR Eastern Europe confirmed them as title contenders at the very least, and added further to the list of race wins half-way through the year.”


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