Luca Engstler happy with ‘crazy’ maiden series victory, apologises for Filippi contact

Luca Engstler happy with ‘crazy’ maiden series victory, apologises for Filippi contact

Photo: TCR Media

M1RA Racing’s Luca Engstler was “more than happy” to secure his maiden TCR Europe victory in what he described as a “crazy” rain-affected race two at the Red Bull Ring, and has apologised for the last lap contact with Luca Filippi.

The multiple regional TCR champion started the second contest from fourth on the grid, but progressed after the final safety car period to battle with reverse-grid polesitter Tom Coronel and Luca Filippi in the closing laps.

Aware that Coronel had to serve a drive-through penalty, Engstler opted to stay behind but this allowed Filippi through, and after he eventually got past the Honda the Hyundai duo came to blows on the run to the penultimate corner on the final lap.

Engstler told TouringCars.Net he felt he was not to blame for the incident – for which there will be no further action – but said he was “really sorry” for Filippi and the BRC Racing Team.

“I’ve still not spoken to him, but I spoke to his engineer. I want to clarify that it was nothing to do by me, I went on the inside and he just turned into my door,” said Engstler.

“When you see the tyre mark it’s on my door so it’s not like I spun him out.

Engstler’s Hyundai post-race, with a clear tyre mark left by last lap contact with Filippi.

“But of course I am really, really sorry for the Hyundai family and for BRC because I would have loved to make a 1-2-3 but in the end I couldn’t do anything.”

The result means Engstler has now jumped to second in the championship standings, 36 points adrift of leader Josh Files, but says this will not change his approach to race weekends.

“For me I want to continue how I do now – just to go corner by corner, lap by lap, session by session and there’s still three weekends to go,” he said.

“If you have two DNFs then you’re out of the game, so I really don’t care about the championship now.

“I want to score some good points and maybe some more victories which is really tough, but I’m in the game now.”

With the series heading to Oschersleben next month, Engstler believes his form will depend on how favourable the Balance of Peformance is on his Hyundai for the remaining rounds.

“In the end it will all come down to BoP, I think now it will be again a strong BoP for the other rounds,” Engstler said.

“I’m really looking forward to Oschersleben, but in the end we still have Barcelona and Monza, so it will be quite tough.

“But like I told you in the beginning of the weekend I just want to focus on getting some good single results, and that’s what we did. 

“I’m more than happy now.”