Hyundai FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) driver Thierry Neuville wins TCR Germany race on debut.
Neuville entered the TCR Germany round as a guest racer for Hyundai Team Engstler, driving a Hyundau i30 N TCR car at Nurburgring. It is the Belgian’s first time at a circuit racing championship.
He qualified on pole and won the Race 1 of the weekend at ease to create history, showing his capability as an universal racer. Here’s how the race panned out as per the press release from ADAC TCR Germany:
Rally superstar Thierry Neuville (31, Belgium, Hyundai Team Engstler) has crowned his guest appearance in the ADAC TCR Germany with a victory. The four-time WRC Vice World Champion won the ninth race of the season at the Nurburgring in the Hyundai i30 N TCR, celebrating a confident start-finish victory.
Second was Hyundai driver Max Hesse (18, Wernau, Hyundai Team Engstler) in front of Julien Apotheloz (18, Switzerland, Topcar Sport) in the Cupra Leon TCR, the first time in his career on the podium in the ADAC TCR Germany drove and the Honda Junior Challenge won.
It was a lot of fun, the result is always fun, I had a very good race, the start was the hardest, but he was very good, so I had to focus on getting the ideal line and mine Neuville said: “I did a good job, only in the end did the tires break down a bit and I had to make sure I finished well.”
Fourth was Antti Buri (30, Finland, LMS Racing) in the Audi RS3 LMS, the Finn claimed his lead in the overall standings. The championship leader now has 302 points, followed by Hesse with 278, followed by Harald Proczyk (43, Austria, HP Racing International) who scores 276 points.
Mike Halder (23, Meßkirch, professional car team Honda ADAC Sachsen) is fourth with 258 points. Lukas Niedertscheider (24, Austria, HP Racing International) finished fifth in the race ahead of his Hyundai brand colleague Theo Coicaud (19, France, Hyundai Team Engstler).
Guest starter Pascal Eberle (28, Switzerland, Steibel Motorsport) in the Cupra, the two juniors Mitchell Cheah (21, Malaysia, VW Team Oettinger) in the VW Golf GTI TCR and Rene Kircher (19, Hunfeld, racing one) in the Audi followed on the squares , Kai Jordan (50, Wolfsburg), who replaces newly-crowned dad Maurits Sandberg in the VW Team Oettinger, finished a good result in tenth place.
At the start, pole sitter Neuville got away well in the VIP car of Hyundai and converted the best starting position into the lead. Behind him, however, things got turbulent. Proczyk touched with his Hyundai the Honda of third place started Mike Halder – which triggered a chain reaction.
Theo Coicaud and Dominik Fugel (22, Chemnitz, professional car team Honda ADAC Sachsen) and guest starter Karen Gaillard (18, Switzerland, Topcar Sport) were also affected. A little later, the field had sorted out, and Neuville drove forward, followed by Hesse and Apotheloz.
Then Bradley Burns (18, Britain, Pyro Motorsport) Honda suddenly caught fire. The Briton climbed out of his car, which was quickly extinguished. However, the incident led to a longer safety car phase in which the field came closer together again.
With 13 minutes left on the clock was the restart, which Neuville mastered and claimed his lead. Antti Buri, who started in seventh place, overtook Luke Niedertscheider with a strong maneuver and thus improved to fourth place.
Then he put pressure on Julien Apotheloz, but the Swiss defended himself successfully against the overtaking attempts of the championship leader. Thierry Neuville got hardly anything in front. In the end, the Belgian, who will be back in his traditional Hyundai i20 WRC at the ADAC Rally Germany next weekend, had 4.2 seconds ahead of Hesse. Apotheloz followed with some distance in third place.
On Sunday afternoon (14:40 clock) climbs the tenth of a total of 14 races of the season. In this, guest starter Eberle, who had already driven in the past three years in the ADAC TCR Germany, according to the reverse grid rule on the pole position. Cheah starts next to the Swiss from the front row, followed by Fugel and Buri. Neuville has to start this race from tenth place.