The highly anticipated season has finally begun, marking the end of the winter hiatus. The TCR Eastern Europe’s opening round at Oschersleben certainly did not disappoint, featuring a great starting field, surprising rookies, exciting races, and thrilling qualifying session.
Hyundai Janík Motorsport arrived at Oschersleben as the favorite team. Led by number one driver Maťo Homola, alongside talented young Pole Carlo Czepiel, and the returning Adam Kout, the team was poised for success.
Petr Fulín, however, emerged as a potential disruptor to Hyundai Janík Motorsport’s dominance. In a surprising turn of events, Fulín secured pole position with a damaged shock absorber, edging out both Kout and Homola. Fulín’s performance was a testament to the fact that age is no barrier to success behind the wheel.
Ultimately, Homola clinched victory in the first race, followed by Fulín and Kout. Rene Kircher from the Mertel Motorsport Honda Civic team finished just behind them, representing the German team with ties to the legendary Engstler Motorsport. Kircher, along with experienced Davit Kajaia, solidified the team as the championship’s dark horse.
The competition was fierce in the mid-field, with a mere three seconds separating fifth to eighth place in the first race. Young rookies Czepiel and Tobias Poschik from Aditis Racing were part of this closely-contested group, demonstrating promising performances in their debut race.
In the second race, Poschik and Czepiel continued to impress; Poschik seized the lead from third place, while Czepiel followed closely from fifth. Czepiel eventually overtook Poschik, securing his first victory in just his second race. Although Poschik was unable to hold off Homola and finished third, both rookies showed immense potential for future success.
While Homola remains the favorite, the competition is far from settled. There are other fast drivers in the field, such as Sebastian Steibel from Aditis Racing or Italian Giacomo Ghermandi, who are still adapting to their new cars and have yet to showcase their full capabilities. Petr Čížek, third man in the last year´s drivers standing, is also very fast and let´s see if Latvian racer Ivars Vallers will show more of his speed.
This year’s TCR Eastern Europe boasts its strongest starting grid in history, promising a season filled with unforgettable moments and thrilling races. Fans eagerly await the next installment, set to unfold on April 29-30 at the Hungaroring.