Looking back at the opening event of TCR Eastern Europe

Looking back at the opening event of TCR Eastern Europe

29. 4. 2024 0 News , ,

The fifth season of TCR Eastern Europe kicked off with its first event at the Hungarian circuit Balaton Park, showcasing an exciting spectacle and revealing the contenders for this year’s championship. Reigning champion Maťo Homola won the first race, but a strong competitor has emerged.

Adam Kout, driving a Hyundai Elantra for Hyundai Janík Motorsport, clinched the pole position on the 4115-meter-long Balaton Park circuit. Hungarian racer Attila Bucsi, with an older generation Hyundai i30 N from team M1RA Motorsport, finished second. From the second row, Kout’s teammate Maťo Homola and Italian Giacomo Ghermandi, who switched to a Honda Civic from MM Motorsport this year, started the race. However, the qualifying times for the entire grid were somewhat inconclusive. A red flag was waved three minutes before the end of the session due to a crash, halting the battle for the most advantageous positions. Practically every driver still had a faster time up their sleeve, but they never got the chance to show it.

Adam Kout also squandered his opportunity in the race. He had a poor start, and Bucsi immediately took the lead. In the melee on the long straight, he accidentally pushed Homola onto the grass, but the Slovak champion managed the crisis well and didn’t lose much ground. After the first turn, Homola slotted behind leader Bucsi and they continued in tandem to the finish. However, both knew their positions might not be final. The stewards began investigating Bucsi for a false start, and the Hungarian’s fears were confirmed shortly after crossing the finish line. He received a ten-second penalty, dropping him from first to seventh place.

Thus, Hyundai Janík Motorsport celebrated the first double win of the season. Following Homola was Kout, who recovered from his poor start and advanced through the field with impressive battles to reach the podium. They were joined by a familiar face from last season – René Kircher. The young German racer has returned to TCR Eastern Europe, once again behind the wheel of the black and green Honda Civic from Mertel Motorsport. Both Hyundai and Honda cars seemed well-suited to the new track, as another Honda representative, Giacomo Ghermandi, finished fourth, maintaining his position behind Homola for a long time. However, once Kout and Kircher caught up to him, the Italian fiercely defended his position until he made a mistake in the final turn, which Kout and Kircher capitalized on.

The best performer from the Cupra brand was Petr Čížek of Expres Auto Racing. The Czech racer qualified eighth and improved three places during the race. Right behind him finished the top Audi representative, Martin Kadlečík from Aditis Racing. Although new to TCR Eastern Europe, Kadlečík, who had his first experience in an Audi RS3 LMS TCRduring practice sessions, displayed a fantastic performance. He moved up to second place at the start of the second race and maintained that position until the finish, almost mirroring the winner Bucsi.

Bucsi and Kadlečík posted nearly identical times, and only two and a half seconds separated them at the finish line. Not a bad performance considering Bucsi was only in his fourth TCR Eastern Europe race and Kadlečík in his second. Homola, who finished third, vaulted to the top of the overall drivers‘ standings with a win and a third-place finish.

Ghermandi finished fourth in the second race but didn’t enjoy the this spot for long. A six-second penalty for exceeding track limits dropped him to sixth place, allowing Kout and Kircher to move ahead.

Time penalties significantly affected the overall results of both races. However, false starts and track limits are strictly monitored in racing championships worldwide, and if a driver commits an infraction, penalties follow. Nevertheless, the opening event of TCR Eastern Europe hinted at who will be contending not only for race victories but also for the championship title. We’ll see how things unfold at the next event at the Red Bull Ring in mid-May.


Race 1

Race 2

Driver Standings

Juniors and Teams Standings