- Norbert Michelisz won Race 1 of the FIA WTCR Race of Portugal weekend to close the gap on his title rival ahead of the fly-away portion of the season
- The i30 N TCR dominated the TCR Europe weekend at the Red Bull Ring, taking pole position and both race wins
- Bob de Jong took a stunning overall victory at the GTC Rally in Netherlands, winning by nearly three minutes over his nearest R5 rival.
The European portion of the FIA WTCR season came to an end in Portugal with i30 N TCR customers well placed in both the drivers’ and teams’ titles and a dominant weekend for Hyundai customers in TCR Europe put i30 N TCR drivers first and second in the points’ standings to start the second half of the season.
Victory keeps Hyundai customers in WTCR title hunt
BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse driver Norbert Michelisz continued his push for the FIA WTCR title on the street circuit of Vila Real (July 5-7) at the Race of Portugal. The Hungarian led an i30 N TCR 1-2 in the weekend’s first qualifying session to lock out the front row for Race 1 alongside Augusto Farfus. He scored a second podium of the season in third, but Michelisz claimed a second win of the 2019 season in dominant fashion to close the gap on his title rival.
Michelisz continued to close the gap with a ninth place finish in Race 3, but it was BRC Hyundai N Lukoil Racing Team driver Nicky Catsburg who was the best of the Hyundai drivers on Sunday. He secured a fifth place finish from Race 2 on a high speed, narrow circuit where overtaking is notoriously difficult. The results of the weekend leave the Hyundai customer teams third and fourth in points heading into the fly-away portion of the season.
i30 N TCR customer team secures TCR Asia title
A Hyundai driver is guaranteed the 2019 TCR Asia crown after teammates Luca Engstler and Diego Moran won a race apiece at Zhejiang International Circuit (July 5-7). The drivers’ title fight will be decided between the two Liqui Moly Team Engstler i30 N TCR drivers – the team having now clinched their championship with a weekend to spare. Engstler won Race 1 in dominant fashion, converting his pole position into a lights-to-flag victory. In Race 2 the young German, part of the Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver stable, fought from tenth on the reverse grid up to third, setting fastest lap in the process to round out an all i30 N TCR podium
It was Moran who won – his first victory in an i30 N TCR – ahead of Solite Indigo Racing’s Pepe Oriola, who finished second in both races at the Chinese track, having completed a Hyundai 1-2 behind Engstler in Race 1.
i30 N TCR drivers take double victory from Red Bull Ring weekend
Target Competition’s Josh Files retook the lead of the TCR Europe series after a dominant weekend for the i30 N TCR teams at the Red Bull Ring (July 12-14). He qualified second fastest, in the middle of a Hyundai 1-2-3 lead by BRC Racing Team man Luca Filippi and completed by M Racing driver Nelson Panciatici. However, Files was able to get the best start of the three and take the lead, holding off Filippi for his second win of the season at the head of a Hyundai 1-2.
Panciatici finished just off the podium in fourth, ahead of Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Junior Driver Luca Engstler and Dušan Borković, who made it five i30 N TCR in the top six.
Engstler added to his successful season with his first TCR Europe victory in Race 2. A brief rain shower made for difficult conditions during the race, but Engstler was able to control the car on slick tyres despite the slippery surface. Patiently moving up through the field Engstler only took the lead on the final lap. He led home another i30 N TCR 1-2 completed by Josh Files who moved up after starting ninth to bolster his championship lead at the start of the second half of the campaign, now with Engstler as his nearest competitor.
It was another strong showing for Hyundai customers. Panciatici again finished fourth with fellow Hyundai drivers Maťo Homola and Andreas Bäckman also in the top ten.
Double victory leads the way to TCR UK points lead
Lewis Kent was unstoppable at Croft (July 6-7) as he took victory in the two races of the TCR UK championship. The 19-year-old took pole position and then led both events uninterrupted and set the best lap for the TCR class in each to complete a perfect weekend. The performance did not go unrewarded, as he leaped into the championship lead to begin the second half of the season.
Fourth win of the year stretches TCR Australia points’ advantage
HMO Customer Racing driver Will Brown extended his lead in the TCR Australia series standings after the championship’s first of two visits to The Bend Motorsport Park (July 12-14). Despite qualifying only 16th he was able to drive through the field in Race 1. The performance of the i30 N TCR meant he was able to make up ten places on the opening lap alone, before focusing his attention on the podium places to score an excellent second overall. He used the resulting front row start to leap into the lead at the start of Race 2 to secure a fourth win of the season despite having to defend after two interruptions by the Safety Car and completed the weekend with a fifth place in Race 3.
In the team’s second car Nathan Morcom finished the opening race in fourth place and added a seventh and eighth from Sunday’s back-to-back to round out a consistent weekend.
Hyundai customers take double podium from TCR Russia weekend
Ivan Lukashevich and Dmitry Bragin both returned to the podium in Race 2 of the TCR Russia weekend at the Kazan Ring (July 13-14). The i30 N TCR pair finished second and third respectively in the contest, which began the second half of the season. The result meant that TAIF Motorsport driver Bragin increased his advantage at the top of the championship, leaving the track with 15 points in hand over his nearest rival.
In Race 1 of the weekend Bragin finished sixth after starting 12th, while Lukashevich had taken his Lukoil Racing Team car to eighth.
Veloster N TCR shows pace north of the border
The IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge travelled to Canada and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (July 5-7), where the pair of Bryan Herta Autosport Veloster N TCR again showed their pace at the front of the series. The two cars qualified second and third for the two-hour race and were part of the podium battle in the early exchanges. Following a full course yellow period the team was in a strong position to take a second win of the season, only for a minor problem to drop them out of contention with one car, and for contact with a rival to send their other entry down the order.
Double podium from TC America Portland weekend
Mason Filippi scored a fourth win of the TC America season in the Veloster N TCR in his second weekend in the series as part of the Copeland Motorsports team. Filippi set the fastest lap in qualifying for the Rose Cup Races meeting at Portland International Raceway (July 12-14) and dominated the first race of the weekend for victory. In Race 2 he added a third place to his podium tally, but was ultimately frustrated. While the Veloster N TCR obviously had the pace to challenge for the lead the race was marred by a long Safety Car period, and eventually a red flag that sadly limited the opportunities for him to move up the order.
i20 R5 Romanian domestic dominance continues
Simone Tempestini continued his dominant form in the Romanian national championship in taking a third win of the season at Raliul Harghitei (July 12-13). Driving an i20 R5 prepared by the Friulmotor team he and co-driver Sergiu Itu won all but one stage on the two-day event to take victory with a margin of well over a minute. In a second i20 R5 on the rally Hungarian Zsolt Marozsi finished seventh overall.
Overall victory for i20 R5 crew in latest Dutch event
By taking overall victory on the GTC Rally (July 12-13) in his native Netherlands Bob de Jong added to his string of strong 2019 results. The win, which he achieved with nearly three minutes in hand over his nearest rival, came at the end of an event where de Jong was only outside of the top three times once on the fifteen stages. Following on from his national series win to start the season, and second in his previous outing, the result kept him at the top of the national series.
The weekend featured a total of three i20 R5 crews. Antoine Biesheuvel and co-driver Saskia Bleijenberg joined de Jong in the top ten, finishing eighth overall.
Nunes continues podium run in Madeira
Miguel Nunes scored a fifth overall podium of his season in the Madeira rally championship, finishing second in the Rali do Faial (July 12-13). The event was a typically closely contested affair in the series. Nunes took the lead at the end of the opening loop of stages, and even when he was pushed back into second he maintained the pressure on the leader to finish just seven seconds behind at the close of the rally.
To have so many Hyundai TCR customers either leading their championships, in close contention for the points lead and in one case having already secured the teams’ title is a great illustration of the performance of the car. Hyundai i30 N TCR drivers are showing what an excellent all-round package the Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing department has produced. In recent weekends they have won on a street track, a tight, technical layout and a track where straight line speed is crucial. The Hyundai Veloster N TCR is also at the very front of both series in the US after strong performances. On the rally stages our customers continue to show the capabilities of the Hyundai i20 R5, with dominant performances on national events proving the car against its rivals.