Bartosz Groszek dominated the opening round of TCR Eastern Europe Simracing series. The Polish driver won both races.
On Tuesday, the TCR Eastern Europe fans finally could celebrate a return of their favourite drivers. However, it all happened only virtual as the drivers took part in the first-ever race of the TCR Eastern Europe Simracing series at Hungaroring. This championship is only the 3rd official TCR virtual racing series after TCR Europe and TCR Australia.
And it was a perfect race for Bartosz Groszek, who will remember this opening round of the 2020 virtual season in the best possible way. The Polish driver won everything he could.
The BTC Maszyny Racing driver occupied the first place in qualifying already, driving a car that in the real TCR Eastern Europe series will be driven by Lukasz Stolarczyk. And it was an important start for Groszek, who apart from pole position also scored his first 10 points in the series.
Miklas Born took the 2nd place. The Swiss driver is racing for Autorama AG by Wolf-Power that also took part in the 2nd round of the 24H Series at Portimão last weekend, where it managed to win in the TCR category. And Born was a member of the winning crew.
The 3rd place in the qualifying went to Jáchym Galáš. The GT2 Motorsport driver finished 2nd in last year’s TCR Eastern Europe season and became the best junior driver of the year.
The opening race of the season delivered a dominating performance by Groszek, who became the first-ever winner of the TCR Eastern Europe virtual race.
He was followed by Balint Hatvani in the 2nd place. The Hungarian driver had a great start, where he moved from 4th to the 2nd place and then he managed it until the end.
While Groszek and Hatvani had a fairly calm race, the battle for the 3rd position was completely the opposite. Makeš, who is preparing for his TCR Eastern Europe series debut, used the chaos after the start to move to the 3rd place, but soon, he was under attack by another Czech driver Tomáš Korený. But that was not the end, as Gabriela Jílková started to catch up and at the beginning of Lap 10, she took the 3rd place after a very courageous move. However, there was still more to this story and she lost her podium hopes after she was forced to retire.
Drivers kept changing their positions behind her back and in the end, it was Miklas Born, who crossed the finish line in the 3rd place. While the Swiss junior qualified in the 2nd place, he had a rough path on his way to the podium. Born was one of the drivers who got caught up in a mass accident at the beginning of the race and by end of Lap 1, he was only in the 13th position. Michal Makeš finished in 4th place. Constantin Kletzer was 5th.
The reverse grid rule applied for the original TOP 12 ahead of Race 2, putting Petr Fulín in pole position ahead of Matěj Kácovský and Yannick Mettler. Bartosz Groszek was down in 12th place.
However, not even that could stop Groszek, who will race for BTC Maszyny Racing in the Endurance races this year. It was clear since the first lap, that he is going to be strong again and also thanks to mistakes of his competitors, he was already 4th by the end of the first lap.
But the 4th position was not enough for the Polish driver and at the beginning of Lap 2, he was already ahead of Tomáš Korený. It did not take much longer and Groszek got ahead of Matěj Kácovský to take the 2nd place. Only Petr Fulín was now remaining.
And he was indeed faster even than a 3-time European Touring Car champion. The final battle took place in Lap 11, with just 2 laps to go, when Groszek took the lead and nobody could stop him from taking another victory of the weekend. Fulín had to settle for only the 2nd place.
There were even others apart from Groszek who had improved their positions massively throughout the race. For example, Jáchym Galáš. The Czech driver had an unlucky first race, where he was involved in the mass accident in the opening lap, and he had to start from 16th place, but he managed to move up to the 3rd position in the end. But he couldn´t celebrate, as he was additionally disqualified for the collision of four cars.
However, originally 4th Tomáš Korený and 5th Matěj Kácovský also received the penalties. The former was disqualified for a collision with Pekař and Born. Kácovský received 25 penalty seconds for the incident with Martinek. So the bronze eventually traveled to Keijo Keke Platzer. Miklas Born was classified 4th and was best among juniors. Born´s teammate Constantin Kletzer took the 5th position.
Bartosz Groszek is at the head of the championship with a maximum of 90 points ahead of the 2nd Miklas Born (66 points), who is also the best junior, and the 3rd Petr Fulín (54 points). The 4th place belongs to Balint Hatvani (53 points) and the 5th to Constantin Kletzer (52 points).
„The first battle between young and experienced drivers ended in favor of experienced ones such as Groszek, Hatvani and Fulín. But the juniors as Born, Korený and Galáš are close behind them. Exciting and equal races are waiting for us, just like in the real TCR world. But I would like to appeal to the drivers regarding respect for others, especially after the start of the race, because of the avoiding unnecessary accidents. Hard contact can harm themselves and also innocent participants of the accident,” Josef Křenek, the championship promoter, said.
The TCR Eastern Europe Simracing series continues on June 30 with a round at Red Bull Ring, Austria.