Milan Vuković claimed his first win in TCR Eastern Europe in the first race at the Hungaroring at the wheel of his Renault Mégane RS, while René Kircher came through to win the second race for Mertel Motorsport after penalties were handed to the first two drivers due to track limits infractions.
In qualifying, the weekend had started perfectly for the Janík Motorsport team, with Mat’o Homola leading a top three lockout for the Hyundai-equipped operation, however it soon unravelled from there.
Race 1 - At the start, the three Elantra cars of Homola, Adam Kout, and Carlo Czepiel all made contact as they went three-wide into the first corner, as the Mertel Motorsport Honda Civic of Kircher made his way down the inside and into the lead. The German was now running ahead of the Renault of Milan Vuković, but the later had greater pace and took the lead on lap two, breaking away from Kircher. Homola and Kout were recovering after their first corner drama, with Homola making it up to fifth on lap 3 ahead of Kout before the two held formation to the finish.
The race came to an abrupt end on lap 9, when Adam Rzepecki’s Audi crashed out at Turn 1 with the barriers requiring extensive repairs. This left Vuković with his first victory, ahead of the two Honda cars of Kircher and Davit Kajaia. Milan’s father Milenko Vuković finished fourth, but was later excluded for a ground clearance infringement, promoting Homola to fourth and Kout to fifth.
Race 2 - The top seven were reversed, with Sebastian Steibel’s Audi on pole position.
Steibel lost the lead to a fast-starting Kout at Turn 1, but Steibel and Kajaia both came back at him at Turn 9, with Kout running wide, cutting the circuit to hold the lead, while Kajaia was now up to second. Kajaia’s teammate Kircher passed Steibel at the hairpin for third and the two Mertel Honda cars were now right behind Kout’s Hyundai. It was soon confirmed that Kout would receive a ten-second penalty post-race for cutting the corner on lap one, which would leave Kajaia and Kircher 1-2, but Kajaia then fell foul of multiple track limits warnings himself and picked up a time penalty post-race.
While Kout crossed the line first ahead of Kajaia and Kircher, the reshuffle saw Kircher classified as the winner, the fourth different winner from four races, with Kajaia second and Homola completing the podium.
Homola continues to lead the championship on 74 points, while Kircher is now his closest rival on 64 points.
The third event of the season will be on 19/21 May at the Red Bull Ring.
Hungaroring – Race 1
Hungaroring – Race 2
Picture: TCR Eastern Europe/Petr Frýba