TCR Eastern Europe’s third event saw Milan Vuković and Davit Kajaia sharing honours at the Red Bull Ring. Vuković won Race 1 from lights to flag, scoring his second victory of the season, while in Race 2 Kajaia capitalised on a great start to claim his maiden win in the series.
By finishing fourth and third in the two races, Mat’o Homola has retained the lead in the standings, five points clear of René Kircher.
Race 1 – Milan Vuković sat on pole after having beaten Kircher by 82 thousandths in Qualifying. At the start Vuković rejected an attack from Kircher as they negotiated T1, while behind them Milenko Vuković and Kajaia who shared the second row made contact, which offered Homola the opportunity to move into P3. Milenko Vuković was quick to repass Homola who was chased by Giacomo Ghermandi, while Kajaia had dropped to sixth.
The safety car was deployed in lap 3 to recover Radim Adámek Audi that had stopped on the pit straight and when racing resumed, Sebastian Steibel overtook Kajaia for P6.
Up front, Milan Vuković built a small gap, while his father looked set to make a move on Kircher, but then lost contact. In lap 11, Carlo Czepiel passed Tobias Poschik for P8 and closed in on Kajaia. There were no further changes and Milan Vuković claimed his second win of the season from Kircher and Milenko Vuković.
Race 2 – Philipp Dietrich’s CUPRA Leon and Czepiel’s Hyundai Elantra shared the front row of the grid, with the draw having reversed Race 1’s first nine places. Kajaia from P3 had the best reflex and led at the start, from Dietrich who was soon passed by Steibel. Close behind Dietrich were Ghermandi, Milenko Vuković and Homola. In lap 3, Ghermandi tried to pass Dietrich into T1, but went wide and dropped back in fourth once again. One lap later, Ghermandi and Milenko Vuković clashed and soon afterwards Vuković’s Renault hit the back of Dietrich’s CUPRA and stopped on the track after a spin, which resulted in the safety car being deployed. When racing resumed, Kajaia led from Steibel, Milan Vuković, Homola, Dietrich – who had a 5-second penalty for a grid infringement – Kircher, Czepiel and Ghermandi. Soon Milan Vuković’s Renault slowed and retired, while Steibel began to put the pressure on Kajaia, with Homola and Kircher closing on the leading pair. In lap 13, Ghermandi passed Czepiel advancing to sixth. Kajaia managed to hold on to the lead and won from Steibel who beat Homola and Kircher on the line to finish second.
The series will resume at the Slovakiaring on June 9/11.
Red Bull Ring – Race 1
1. Milan Vuković (Vuković Motorsport, Renault Mégane RS), 14 laps
2. René Kircher (Mertel Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R FK7), 2.555
3. Milenko Vuković (Vuković Motorsport, Renault Mégane RS), 6.138
Red Bull Ring – Race 2
1. Davit Kajaia (Mertel Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R FK7), 14 laps
2. Sebastian Steibel (Aditis Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS II), 0.558
3. Mat’o Homola (Janík Motorsport, Hyundai Elantra N), 1.111
1. M. Homola, 101 pts; 2. R. Kircher, 96; 3. D. Kajaia, 80
Picture: TCR Eastern Europe