Hyundai Motorsport: i30 N TCR Results Round-Up
Hyundai customers continued to compete at the very front of national and international championship with the i30 N TCR, adding further wins to already successful seasons.
i30 N TCR returns to the top in FIA WTCR
i30 N TCR customer teams MRacing and BRC Racing Team returned to the top of the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) standings after a strong showing at the Race of Portugal in Vila Real (23 – 24 June).
The four Hyundai drivers showed strong pace around the high-speed street track in practice and qualified in the top-ten for the weekend’s first race, with BRC man Norbert Michelisz leading the way in third. Unfortunately, he, together with MRacing’s Thed Bjork were among ten cars caught up in a lap 1 pile-up that prompted a lengthy red flag and were forced to miss the restart while the teams began lengthy repair work.
With those who had qualified ahead taken out by the accident Yvan Muller was presented with the lead for the restart, a position which he refused to surrender to collect his second win of the season. Gabriele Tarquini finished fourth, unlucky to lose a podium position on the final lap due to puncture. The win put Muller back into the points’ lead, a position he only improved in the reverse grid Race 2, when he claimed a second podium of the weekend with second position.
His success in Race 2 came – partly – due to only setting the ninth best time in qualifying. His MRacing teammate Bjork, and the BRC Racing Team pair however set the three fastest laps from the session, collecting the bonus points on offer and securing the best possible starting positions for the finale of the weekend.
Bjork dominated the race, using the pace of the i30 N TCR, as well as smart tactics in taking the circuit’s unique Joker Lap early, to take his second win of the season. Though the contest was interrupted several times by Safety Car periods the three i30 N TCR held the places at the front of the pack, Michelisz having to protect third place on several occasions from attacks mounted by those behind. The Hungarian chased second placed Tarquini across the line, completing a second i30 N TCR podium sweep of the WTCR season to complete an excellent weekend for Hyundai customers.
Podium performance provides TCR Europe highlight
Six i30 N TCR customers lined up at Spa-Francorchamps (8 – 10 June). Suffering a severe top speed deficit on the circuit’s Kemmel Straight they were not able to compete for pole position, the best i30 N TCR starting sixth for Race 1 in the hands of Target Competition driver Dušan Borković. The race brought predictable results. Despite rising to fourth place on the opening lap it was impossible for Borković to match the pace of the leaders, falling to more than ten seconds behind the car ahead. In the closing laps he had to resort of defensive driving in the closing laps to make up for considerable difference in speed through the high speed sections of the Belgian circuit.
Starting from the front row of the reversed gird for Race 2 Target Competition drivers Kris Richard and Reese Barr had differing fortunes on the opening lap. While Irishman Barr was swamped by the chasing pack and tumbled to eighth place Richard was able to stay clear, leaving the Race 1 leaders fighting behind him. However, again, defensive driving was required to protect any position, and while the Swiss driver crossed the line first he was handed a controversial penalty for contact where a competitor moved across the nose of Richard’s car while trying to complete an overtake. The one-second penalty dropped the Swiss to second position in the final standings, a result which was still his best of the season to date following his sixth in Race 1
After a first lap incident Borković added seventh place to his Race 1 result to hold second place in the championship standings. He finished Race 2 one spot behind the M1RA entry of Daniel Nagy, the Hungarian another Hyundai driver to score points in both contests. Barr and M1RA’s Francisco Mora finished eighth and tenth respectively, putting five i30 N TCR in the points to complete a difficult weekend.
Young driver gives Hyundai a first TCR UK podium
18-year-old racer Lewis Kent claimed his first podium of the season at the Brands Hatch round of TCR UK (2 – 3 June). The weekend at his local track gave him the perfect opportunity to show the performance of the i30 N TCR, as well as his promise during his first season in the category.
After starting fourth on the grid Kent fought his way into third during a typically combative opening lap on the tight 1.9km ‘Indy’ circuit. From there he was able to hold position, matching the lap times of the leading pair, despite his relative lack of experience.
Third 1-2 finish of 2018 keep US team in title contention
Both Mark Wilkins and Michael Lewis remain part of a closely fought three-way battle for the TCR class of the Pirelli World Challenge. Driving i30 N TCR run by the Hyundai America supported Bryan Herta Autosport team the drivers continue to showcase the car at the front of the championship. After finishing second and third – Wilkins ahead of Lewis – in Race 1 at the tight Lime Rock Park circuit (25 – 26 May) the pair claimed a third 1-2 of the year for the team.
From pole Lewis jumped into the lead with Wilkins moving into second from third on the grid. The duo were able to use the performance of the car to break away from the pack on three subsequent restarts following Safety Car periods, the last of which reduced the 40 minute race into a single lap sprint.
Pace shown by frustrated TCR Italy customers
Eric Scalvini’s fourth place in Race 1 was the best result for a i30 N TCR customer during the TCR Italy weekend at Misano (16 – 17 June). Running with BRC Racing Team, Scalvini qualified fourth and maintained the position throughout, eventually having to defend masterfully during the closing laps from two drivers to keep the place.
He was not able to repeat the achievement in Race 2, when he was spun out of fourth when he was – again – forced to try and keep two rivals at bay. Initially falling to 14th, he recovered to tenth place to add a single point to his championship tally. He finished one place behind Pit Lane Competizione driver Nicola Baldan in his i30 N TCR. After an early problem in Race 1, Baldan started the second encounter from the rear of the grid. However, a stellar drive from the defending champion lifted him into ninth place. Federico Paolino, in the second BRC Racing Team entry, completed the trio of Hyundai in 12th place.