- First Victory for Hurczyn, FCP Euro in TCR
- Risi’s Walker finishes second after FCP teammates clash
- Putt wins TCR Cup and takes outright podium
Michael Hurczyn recovered from potential heartbreak to claim his first-ever TC America TCR victory in a dramatic Saturday race on the streets of St. Petersburg.
The #71 FCP Euro driver won from pole in his Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR but it was far from a straightforward triumph, after a clash with teammate Nate Vincent dropped Hurczyn to the back of the TCR class battle.
Vincent, who started alongside Hurczyn after FCP Euro scored a 1-2 in qualifying, made a fantastic start and was all over the back of the sister Volkswagen until he tapped his teammate out wide as the pair raced into the final right-hander.
This promoted Vincent to the lead with James Walker Jr. moving up to second after having the best view of the incident from the cockpit of his #34 Risi Competizione Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR.
However, Hurczyn managed to recover from his setback and staged a magnificent recovery drive, first working his way past Walker out of Turn 10 before taking the lead when Vincent was called to serve a drive-through penalty for the earlier contact.
Hurczyn still had plenty of work to do as Walker narrowed the gap in the final stages, but the FCP Euro driver held on to take his first TCR victory, and a historic first win for the Connecticut-based team.
It also moves Hurczyn to the top of the drivers’ championship after three races.
Having served his penalty, Vincent rallied to set the fastest lap of the race but ran out of time to catch TCR Cup winner Bryan Putt, who held on to take an overall podium by 0.386 seconds.
Putt set a series of quick laps in the #15 e.europarts.com ROWE Racing Audi RS 3 LMS TCR to fend off Vincent and earn his first outright top-three finish.
Completing the podium in TCR Cup were the Audis of Jay Salinsky (#11 RS Werkes) and Michael McCann Jr. (#3 McCann Racing) who finished ahead of the Alphasonic Motorsports Audi pairing of Nelson Chan and Alain Lauziere.
A dominant run from Eric Powell saw the invitational TCA class honours go to the driver of the #91 TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ tS. Mike Ogren came through to finish second, ahead of Kevin Anderson.
TC America race 2 gets underway tomorrow at 4:40 p.m., with live coverage available at World-Challenge.com.
Michael Hurczyn (#71 FCP Euro Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR): “I’ve got to thank FCP Euro and HRD for giving us a really good race car. The car was good over the bumps but I had an unfortunate incident with my teammate Nate in [Turn] 13. I was trying to just pace the field and he just got into the back of me a little bit. We’ve been struggling with high gearbox temps all weekend so downshifting has been a struggle for us. I’ve been trying to brake smoothly into there and it may have caught Nate out a bit. The Alfa was coming up quickly from behind him so he may have been checking his mirrors. But that’s Ok, it’s racing and we fought back.”