The pause between the fourth and fifth events has concluded, and we’re eagerly anticipating the next chapter of the TCR Eastern Europe 2023 season. The racing weekend at Autodrom Most promises to be highly exciting, as Petr Fulín makes his comeback behind the wheel and Maťo Homola is positioned to clinch the driver’s championship.
The headline news for Czech spectators and competitors alike is the return of touring car champion Petr Fulín. The experienced Czech driver raced in the opening round at Oschersleben with Cupra, but will this time drive an Audi for the Aditis Racing team. Following Sebastian Steibel’s withdrawal from the remainder of the season, Fulín has stepped into his place in the Aditis race car. With Fulín’s competitive spirit, there’s no question that he’ll be vying for top results. After all, he won both races in the final round of the TCR Eastern Europe 2022 season at Most, which is his favourite circuit and knows every inch of the track intimately.
However, Fulín is expected to face stiff competition, primarily from Maťo Homola from the Hyundai Janík Motorsport team. As the current leader in the drivers’ championship, Homola could secure this season’s championship at Most if he gains a 56-point lead over second-placed David Kajaia or third-placed Rene Kircher. Currently, Homola holds a 41-point lead from the second position.
It remains to be seen how quick Homola and Fulín will be. Both are familiar competitors from the European Touring Car Cup, and undoubtedly, they are strong contenders for race victories at Most. Interestingly, this will be the third time Petr Fulín will race against his son, Petr Fulín Jr., who drives a Cupra for the Fullinrace Academy. Fulín Jr.’s teammate is Carol Wittke.
Homola’s teammates are Adam Kout and this season’s rookie, Carlo Czepiel, both driving Hyundai Elantras. The fourth Hyundai Elantra, fielded by Auto Klub Dubrovnik, caused a stir at the Slovakia Ring due to its unique livery, and its driver, Žarko Knego, attracted considerable attention to his team and car.
Mertel Motorsport’s Honda Civics, driven by René Kircher and Davit Kajaia, have consistently been among the top performers this season, with both drivers already securing race victories. As such, both drivers could pose significant challenges for Homola and Fulín. Kajaia currently ranks second in the championship, just five points ahead of Kircher, who also leads the Junior classification.
Giacomo Ghermandi made a strong impression at the Slovakia Ring, consistently driving his Audi to increasingly higher positions in the overall results. It will be interesting to see how he fares at Most. The Czech circuit is virtually a home track for Expres Auto Racing and its drivers, Petr Čížek and Vít Smejkal. Although Čížek had hoped to score more points this season, he can take pride in his 23 consecutive points finishes.
Ivars Vallers, who drives an Audi, has never competed at Most, but he’s hopeful for his first points of the season. Sebastian Kolakowski and Antonio Citera, both driving Honda Civics, share similar hopes. However, both drivers have scored many points in the Trophy classification for older generation cars, with Kolakowski currently ranking second behind Tobias Poschik, who will not be competing in Most. The confirmed entries for Aditis Racing Team are therefore Petr Fulín and Radim Adámek.
The fifth round of TCR Eastern Europe kicks off at Autodrom Most on Friday with free practice sessions. The qualifying rounds will follow on Saturday at 10:10, and the race will begin at 14:35. The second race takes place on Sunday at 12:10.