Mike Halder takes his first win of the season in TCR Europe
02 July 2022
Mike Halder became the seventh race winner from the seven TCR Europe races held so far this season when he took a lights-to-flag victory in Race 1 at the Norisring. His winning margin over Josh Files was less than half a second, with the third-placed Franco Girolami another six-tenths behind.
At the start, there was contact between Felice Jelmini and pole-sitter Halder as they headed through the right-hand Turn 1. Jelmini nosed ahead of Halder to take the lead but missed his braking point for the Turn 2 hairpin and ran wide, dropping out of the top ten. The same corner saw contact between the Hyundai Elantra cars of Nicola Baldan and Pepe Oriola, with the Spaniard’s car left stranded on the kerb. There was another contact between the CUPRA of Evgenii Leonov and Marco Butti’s Audi, and with three cars needing recovery, the Safety Car was called into action.
Racing resumed on Lap 11 and Halder was immediately under pressure from Files; Viktor Davidovski was third ahead of Isidro Callejas and Girolami who had moved from P8 on the grid to fifth. Immediately after the restart, Callejas and Girolami both passed Davidovski for P3 and P4 respectively.
On Lap 13, Callejas passed Files for second place and then Girolami began attacking Files on the next lap. It was the start of a series of battles for the podium places that would last for the remaining 12 laps. On Lap 16, Callejas attacked Halder at Turn 2, but ran wide and allowed Files through into P2 before Callejas retook the position shortly afterwards. Lap 18 then saw contact between Girolami and Files while the pair were battling for P3, but the English driver held the position.
Lap 22 finally saw a breakthrough in the fight for the podium when Files passed Callejas for second place. That move was followed on the next lap by both Girolami and Davidovski passing Callejas for P3 and P4.
The final few laps then saw more determined attempts by both Files and Girolami to claim an extra place, but Halder held his nerve and continued the brilliant defensive drive. He held off Files to take the victory at his and the team’s home event, with Girolami finishing third and so extending his lead in the standings.
Race 2 starts at 17:00 CEST tomorrow.
Norisring – Race 1
1. Mike Halder (Halder Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R), 26 laps
2. Josh Files (Target Competition, Hyundai Elantra N), 0.473
3. Franco Girolami (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS II), 1.074
1. F. Girolami 235 pts; 2. T. Coronel 174; 3. I. Callejas 173
Picture: TCR Europe
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