Hungarian driver Levente Losonczy debuted in the TCR Eastern Europe championship in front of his home crowd at the Hungaroring circuit, although he was really close to not starting in the race due to technical difficulties.
An Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR in the colours of the Zsille Motorsport team was the only Alfa Romeo car on the starting field, and everybody was looking forward to discovering its pace. After all, Zsille Motorsport was joined by Matteo Moro, an experienced engineer from the Italian team Romeo Ferraris, who was a big help to the mechanics, the engineers, and to driver Levente Losonczy.
However, during Friday’s test sessions, there was a problem with the gearbox and Losonczy had to stop in the first turn. Examination in the garage revealed that the issue was much bigger than it looked, and there was no way to fix the gearbox due to missing spare parts. The race against time was about to begin. Matteo Moro sent two mechanics to Milano for the necessary spare parts. They got on the road immediately and went from Hungaroring to Milano, where they picked up the parts, then hurried back to Hungary.
Two mechanics appeared at Hungaroring just an hour and a half before Saturday’s qualifying race, and the team managed to repair the gearbox in time for a wet qualifying. The race weekend was saved.
“The weekend went pretty well, although we lost three training sessions due to gearbox failure, so we were a bit sceptical about our pace. We had managed to do one test day before race weekend and time during Friday’s training was limited,” explained Losonczy, who has been racing in the Clio Cup for the last four years and has a lot of experience with front-wheel drive cars.
“The Alfa Romeo is pretty comparable to a Clio. It’s FWD, so you have to do the same things as you would in a Clio. It just has more horsepower, so you need to be more careful about managing the tyres,” continued Losonczy.
The qualifying race went really well and Losonczy managed to set the fourth fastest time in wet conditions. Saturday’s race was as good as the team had hoped. Losonczy fought for positions and, even though he lost a couple of those, he found his pace and moved up from seventh place, finishing in fifth. That was a huge success for the young driver.
The second race of the weekend was unlucky for Losonczy. Unfortunately, contact was made between him and Radim Adámek, driving an Audi. The Alfa Romeo had a damaged front, but mechanics checked the car in the garage and sent Losonczy back to the track so he could gain more kilometres and experience.
After attaining fifth place overall, third place in the TCR Trophy category, and second place in the Junior drivers’ category, the big question is, will Levente Losonczy continue in TCR Eastern Europe?
“It will be decided soon, but I’m hoping to do the full season. It depends on the sponsors,” said the young driver, who really enjoyed his first TCR race weekend. “I’m really happy with the weekend. I would like to improve race by race and score more points. The starting field is really experienced and the drivers are very fast. I want to get to know the car, how it behaves, and how to find an ideal car setup, as we don’t have much experience with the car,” said Losonczy, wrapping up his Hungaroring impression.
photo: Zsille Motorsport