Local driver Maťo Homola dominated the first race of the fifth round of TCR Eastern Europe at Slovakia Ring. Team Hyundai / Janík Motorsport scored a double victory with Petr Semerád in second position.
Two Hyundai Elantras from Janík Motorsport locked in the front row on the starting grid, with Homola in pole position and title contender Semerád next to him. Joining these two Hyundai Elantra N TCRs and starting in third was another Elantra, driven by Levente Losonczy, who was lined up next to championship leader Bartosz Groszek.
As the red lights went off, Groszek had another slow getaway, as he did at Grobnik, and lost a couple of positions. Homola maintained his lead and slowly began to build a gap between himself and Semerád.
Semerád had to watch Levente Losonczy at his back, who was himself being pushed by Žarko Knego. Knego’s fine race didn’t last long, however, as some mechanical issues with his Cupra resulted in the car suddenly slowing down. Meanwhile, Petr Čížek, in a Cupra, caught Losonczy by surprise and moved up into third place.
Homola looked solidly in the lead, a couple of seconds ahead of Semerád, who was also enjoying a nice gap between himself and Čížek in third. In fourth, Losonczy defended his position from Groszek, who was having to deal with 40 kilograms of weight ballast and, therefore, a slower Audi than he would have wished for. Although in the fifth lap, the championship leader managed to defeat Losonczy and moved forward, just two places behind his main rival, Semerád.
Although the race was calm for the most part, it was spiced up with a couple of laps spent fighting for seventh position. Radim Adámek tried to defend his place from Václav Janík. The two drivers and team bosses of ADITIS Racing and Hyundai / Janík Motorsport had a nice and respectful fight, which was eventually won by Janík.
There was also a fight for ninth place in the closing stage of the race. Žarko Knego caught up with some fast laps after the short-lived issues with his Cupra and successfully attacked series debutant Adam Rzepecki in his Audi. In the last corner of the lap, spectators also watched a close fight between fifth-place Losonczy and sixth-place Steibel. Just a little touch from Steibel was enough to unbalance Losonczy’s Elantra and the German driver went through to take fifth place.
Maťo Homola is then the winner of the first race at Slovakia Ring. After the podium ceremony, he drew number ten, which means that today’s top ten drivers from Race 1 will be starting in Sunday’s race in reverse order. So Robert Pravdič has scored pole position in front of Žarko Knego.