Harald Proczyk took victory in opening TCR Germany contest at Hockenheim – his third of the campaign – which moves the HP Racing International driver back into the championship lead with a single round remaining.
Luca Englster briefly took the lead in his Hyundai on the opening lap after getting the inside for the sharp right-hander at Turn 1, but a sweeping move in front of the Mercedes Arena six corners later handed the advantage back to Proczyk.
The Austrian Opel racer then went on to establish a lead of 2.387 seconds at the chequered flag, having had to twice defend his lead at safety car restarts.
Third for Luca Englster’s Hyundai i30 N TCR behind Mike Halder effectively sets up a two-horse title decider between Englster and Proczyk’s Opel Astra tomorrow [22nd September], with fourth for Niels Langeveld leaving him 22 points adrift of the summit.
Engstler only claimed the final podium position on the final lap, however, after a thrilling battle to take the position from Racing One’s Langeveld, who had been determined to keep the German behind him in his own title challenge. The duo had in turn been under threat from Max Kruse Racing’s Benjamin Leuchter, who took fifth.
Dutchman Langeveld remains in title contention, although he faces a mammoth task to overturn his increased points deficit in Sunday’s final race of the year.
Steibel Motorsport’s Pascal Eberle took sixth in his CUPRA, although the Swiss racer had been running in fifth before he was hit by LMS Racing’s Antti Buri at the Sachs-Kurve on lap 13, which broke the Finn’s right-front suspension and sent him out into the gravel, whilst Eberle dropped to eighth.
That incident prompted the last late-race safety car, which resulted in a two-lap sprint to the finish.
Hyundai Team Engstler’s Theo Coicaud fought through the field to take seventh, from 12th on the grid, ahead of Lukas Niedertscheider’s Peugeot in eighth.
Prosport Performance youngster Max Hesse brought his Audi home in ninth, having slipped down the order during the race, whilst Team Engstler’s Niko Kankkunen completed the top ten.
Florian Thoma had earlier been running just outside the top ten, but the Swiss racer was handed a drive-through penalty for repeated track limits exceedances, dropping him to 18th.
Jasmin Preisig retired her Opel after seven laps when it came to a halt on the exit of Turn 2, requiring a brief safety car period to remove her stricken car.
The second TCR Germany race of the weekend is scheduled to take place on Sunday at 14:50 CEST (13:50 BST).
|1||22||Harald PROCZYK||HP Racing International||Opel Astra TCR||17||17 LAPS||1:48.405||1|
|2||7||Mike HALDER||Team Honda ADAC Sachsen||Honda Civic TCR 2018||17||2.387||1:48.818||3|
|3||8||Luca ENGSTLER||Hyundai Team Engstler||Hyundai i30 N TCR||17||5.505||1:48.905||2|
|4||14||Niels LANGEVELD||Racing One||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||17||6.101||1:48.940||6|
|5||10||Benjamin LEUCHTER||Max Kruse Racing||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||17||6.666||1:49.618||10|
|6||28||Pascal EBERLE||Steibel Motorsport 2||CUPRA TCR||17||6.974||1:49.030||5|
|7||27||Theo COICAUD||Hyundai Team Engstler||Hyundai i30 N TCR||17||7.242||1:49.218||12|
|8||42||Lukas NIEDERTSCHEIDER||Niedertscheider Motorsport||Peugeot 308 TCR||17||8.342||1:49.492||11|
|9||19||Max HESSE||Prosport Performance||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||17||8.890||1:49.445||4|
|10||47||Niko KANKKUNEN||Team Engstler Europe||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||17||9.510||1:49.538||17|
|11||3||Kai JORDAN||Team Engstler Germany||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||17||9.898||1:49.834||16|
|12||77||Justin HÄUßERMANN||Team Engstler Germany||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||17||10.931||1:49.225||13|
|13||88||Dominik FUGEL||Team Honda ADAC Sachsen||Honda Civic TCR 2018||17||11.280||1:49.883||15|
|14||6||Oliver HOLDENER||Wolf-Power Racing||CUPRA TCR||17||11.527||1:49.671||8|
|15||53||Michelle HALDER||Profi-Car Team Halder||CUPRA TCR||17||11.767||1:50.235||20|
|16||29||Jussi KUUSINIEMI||Positione Motorsport||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||17||13.360||1:49.891||7|
|17||34||Julien APOTHÉLOZ||Young Driver Challenge||CUPRA TCR||17||13.546||1:50.901||22|
|18||39||Florian THOMA||Team Engstler Europe||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||17||14.313||1:49.132||18|
|19||11||Luke WANKMÜLLER||HP Racing International||Opel Astra TCR||17||14.330||1:50.228||28|
|20||55||Marcel FUGEL||Profi-Car Team Halder||Honda Civic TCR 2018||17||14.765||1:50.316||23|
|21||99||Maurits SANDBERG||Racing One||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||17||15.040||1:51.404||27|
|22||9||Daniel DAVIDOVAC||HP Racing International 2||Opel Astra TCR||17||15.725||1:51.993||25|
|23||33||JC REYNOLDS||TOPCAR Sport||CUPRA TCR||17||16.691||1:51.145||26|
|R||30||Antti BURI||LMS Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||13||DNF||1:49.022||9|
|R||54||Simon REICHER||YACO Racing||Audi RS3 LMS TCR||8||DNF||1:49.443||14|
|R||17||Jasmin PREISIG||Steibel Motorsport||Opel Astra TCR||7||DNF||1:50.097||21|
|R||23||Sebastian STEIBEL||Steibel Motorsport||Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR||7||DNF||1:49.919||24|
|R||60||Loris PRATTES||TOPCAR Sport||CUPRA TCR||6||DNF||1:50.129||19|