Target Competition’s Kris Richard was delighted to fend off late pressure from Julien Briché’s Peugeot, saying that it was a ‘real punch in the face’ to the Balance of Performance troubles Hyundai have had at Spa-Francorchamps.
The Swiss racer jumped reverse-grid polesitter and stale-mate Reece Barr at the start, and held off pressure from Josh Files and then Briché in the closing stages.
There was contact between Richard and Briché on the penultimate lap at the end of the Kemmel Straight, forcing the latter onto the run-off at Les Combes.
Richard told TouringCars.Net that the contact was unintentional and he believes it was a racing incident.
“It was an almost perfect race,” said Richard. “I made a really good start and was able to catch Reece [Barr] in the beginning, and then I just concentrate to make no mistakes.
“I had to do a fast infield because on the straight we lose so much so that means that I need an advantage when I go on the long straight so that they were not able to overtake me.
“The safety car for me was quite good to give the tyres some time to relax, and then after the restart I just pushed as hard as I can I had a little contact with the Peugeot but it was definitely not my intention I was full on the brakes and he changed his line a little bit and we had a really small contact and due to that he had an unstable rear.
“I think this was a normal racing fight.”
Richard also believes that a race win for Hyundai on a weekend where they have really struggled was a ‘punch in the face’ to the troubles they have suffered with Balance of Performance.
“In the end I was happy that I was able to make it. Also happy for the team and also regarding the BoP I think it’s a real punch in their face when you see how slow we are on the straights and we were still able to make it only in the infield.
“It was not a good feeling to be honest when I saw in the mirrors Josh went away and then the Peugeot directly behind me and I thought ‘OK, how many laps do we have?’ and I ask on the radio and they say two or three more laps and then last laps I just fought and it was really good that we were able to make it.”