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TCR Europe Series – Mat'o Homola and Julien Briché win one race apiece

The TCR Europe Series began in Hungary with two exciting series in mixed weather conditions that saw Mat’o Homola and Julien Briché sharing the honours with one race win apiece.

Although victories went to a pair of experienced Touring Car drivers who were surely deemed to be amongst the top seeds, a couple of rookies created a surprise. In fact, the standings after this season opener in Hungary are topped by the 19-year-old Belgian Gilles Magnus and by former Sportscar racer Nelson Panciatici who were both facing their maiden commitment in tin-top competition. Only three points behind the Magnus-Panciatici pair there is a trio formed by Race 1 winner Mat’o Homola, Dániel Nagy and Dušan Borković. They too are on equal points. Martin Ryba and Milovan Vesnić shared victories in the TCR Eastern Europe powered by ESET.

TCR Europe will resume at Hockenheim for round 3 and 4, on May 24/26.

Race 1 – Homola is the first winner of the season

Target Competition’s Mat’o Homola converted his pole position into a victory to become the first winner of the 2019 TCR Europe Series. The young Slovak was followed by his teammate Josh Files, while Nelson Panciatici of M Racing finished third, completing a Hyundai 1-2-3. Julien Briché was the best of the rest, as he was classified fourth in his JSB Compétition Peugeot 308; the Frenchman managed to keep Dušan Borković and Dániel Nagy at bay during the final laps. However, after the race, Briché was excluded because his car was underweight.

Race 2 – Briché survives some exciting battles

After being excluded from Race 1, Julien Briché didn’t lose heart; he hit the track with the will of making up and claimed a glorious victory for JSB Compétition and Peugeot Sport. While weather and track conditions changed from wet to dry and wet again, Briché engaged his competitors in a series of battles and won them all. He overtook Santiago Urrutia, Dušan Borković and finally the local hero Dániel Nagy. Behind him, Gilles Magnus stole second from Nagy finish on the podium on his second Touring Car race. Two other drivers deserve to be mentioned as they both completed great recoveries: Josh Files and Luca Engstler. Files started from the pits, as the front left wishbone bearing needed to be changed, and climbed to the eight position; Engstler started 37th, after he missed Qualifying due to his crash in Practice, and finished 12th. Quotes from the podium finishers in the two races

Mat’o Homola (1st in Race 1): « The key was the good start, I think. I didn’t practice at all before this race, so I was a little afraid, but I had some very good advice. I was able to make a good start and then I could try and control the race. Files was very fast and also the Peugeot, but I was concentrating on my driving and not making any mistakes; I made two really small mistakes and Files was immediately right behind me. This was the perfect result for the team and the perfect result for Hyundai. »

Josh Files (2nd in Race 1): « That was good for me. I didn’t make a brilliant start, but the others made worse ones. I managed to get second at the first corner but Briché was very fast so he was hassling me; the Peugeot is really quick on the straight so it was hard to defend from him into Turn 1. I saw Homola was struggling with the tyres, so I was definitely faster at the end, but going into Turn 11 he kicked up dirt every time and so I was losing four-tenths in one corner. »

Nelson Panciatici (3rd in Race 1): « I’m very happy with my first race in Touring Cars! I just have to work on my standing starts because it’s been about ten years since I last did one. I had a good pace, so I’m very happy with the first part of the weekend. It was a nice fight, a good race. I overtook Briché which was good but there wasn’t enough time left for me to try to pass the car in front, but I’m very happy to be on the podium. »

Julien Briché (1st in Race 2): « I am super happy, especially after I was from Race 1. With this victory I made up for the disappointment. It was a great race, with changeable weather conditions, and I gave everything I had. No strategies, just attacking at every corner. I had some entertaining battles, especially with Borković and Magnus. After I was able to pass Nagy for the lead it was a matter to avoid mistakes until the end. »

Gilles Magnus (2nd in Race 2): « I didn’t expect such a result on my first Touring Car appearance. It has been funny, because with this mixed weather conditions races become very interesting. I really enjoyed all the fights while I was recovering the positions. My car was perfect and I have to thank Comtoyou Racing for preparing it at its best. Now I’m looking forward to the next rounds knowing that I have already scored some points and I can be competitive. »

Dániel Nagy (3rd in Race 2): « I’m very happy to be on the podium in my home race. It could have been a victory, but I’m satisfied. We have done a good job during the whole weekend, improving lap after lap until we were competitive enough to fight for winning. Everything went well in the first half of the race and as the track began to dry, I was able to pull away. However, when the rain started again, the Peugeot and Audi cars were more stable. I preferred to let them go rather than risking an incident and settled for a podium finish. »

Press release TCR Europe Series

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