Michelle Halder becomes first woman to win in TCR Europe

Michelle Halder became the first woman to win a race in the TCR Europe series, as she beat fellow Honda racer Dan Lloyd to victory in race two at Zolder in Belgium.

Michelle Halder started on the front row of the reverse-grid race and when the lights went out she got away from the line better than Lloyd, leading the Brit into the first corner.

Behind the duo, JSB Compétition’s Julien Briché was looking to get past Target Competition’s Andreas Bäckman into Turn 2 but the pair made contact, pitching both off the circuit and Bäckman into the barriers and out of the race.

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Briché was able to limp back to the pits, and the position of Bäckman’s car and recovery by the marshals negated the need for a safety car intervention.

That allowed Halder to open up a lead of half a second on the opening lap, and the German never looked troubled throughout the duration of the race as she won by almost two seconds and wrote herself into the history books.

Lloyd settled for second, his second podium of the year, and in doing so the Brutal Fish Racing driver extended his championship lead to nine points.

BRC Racing’s Dániel Nagy was up into third by the end of the opening lap and the Hyundai driver would remain there for the rest of the race, the Hungarian taking his first podium of the season.

Mike Halder claimed fourth, limiting the championship points loss to rival Lloyd, ahead of comtoyou Racing’s Mehdi Bennani in fifth.

Saturday’s race winner Nicolas Baert was sixth in his Audi, the Belgian setting the fastest lap of the race but unable to make further progress beyond claiming the position on lap three when he passed Mat’o Homola.

With just three laps to go, Brutal Fish Racing’s Pepe Oriola took seventh from Homola, who had been defending hard for several laps from the Honda driver and the Audi of Sami Taoufik.

Moroccan racer Taoufik had looked likely to claim a top ten finish, but on the final lap he had contact with Homola, knocking his Audi into the gravel and dropping him to 12th at the chequered flag.

Homola held on to eighth, whilst the top ten was completed by the Peugeot of Teddy Clairet, who had closed on the battle ahead in the final laps, and the Target Competition Hyundai of John Filippi.

Jessica Bäckman lost out to Filippi on the fifth lap and was 11th, gaining a place at the end of the race with Taoufik’s off.

Florian Briché had looked set to claim a couple of points for 14th, but the son of Julien dropped down the order on lap ten and was the final classified finisher.

The next TCR Europe round takes place at Monza on 25 – 27 September.

Race result

POS NO DRIVER NAT ENTRANT CAR LAPS TIME BEST GD
1 53 Michelle HALDER Profi Car Team Halder Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 23:11.230 1:38.528 2
2 123 Daniel LLOYD Brutal Fish Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 1.953 1:38.627 1
3 99 Dániel NAGY BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 14 5.475 1:38.873 5
4 7 Mike HALDER Profi Car Team Halder Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 5.792 1:38.884 6
5 250 Mehdi BENNANI Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 14 6.663 1:38.846 8
6 8 Nicolas BAERT Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 14 8.265 1:38.485 10
7 74 Pepe ORIOLA Brutal Fish Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 11.261 1:38.741 12
8 70 Mat’o HOMOLA BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR 14 17.034 1:39.034 9
9 20 Teddy CLAIRET Team Clairet Sport Peugeot 308 TCR 14 17.288 1:39.432 13
10 27 John FILIPPI Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 14 17.856 1:39.412 16
11 26 Jessica BÄCKMAN Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 14 19.479 1:39.497 14
12 25 Sami TAOUFIK Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 14 20.988 1:38.957 7
13 21 Jimmy CLAIRET Team Clairet Sport Peugeot 308 TCR 14 21.926 1:39.545 15
14 6 Jean Laurent NAVARRO JSB Compétition Peugeot 308 TCR 14 26.617 1:40.038 20
15 81 Stéphane VENTAJA Team Clairet Sport Peugeot 308 TCR 14 29.579 1:40.249 19
16 66 Gilles COLOMBANI Team Clairet Sport Peugeot 308 TCR 14 30.212 1:40.264 18
17 17 Martin RYBA Brutal Fish Racing Team Honda Civic Type-R FK8 TCR 14 31.224 1:39.929 11
18 4 Florian BRICHÉ JSB Compétition Peugeot 308 TCR 14 32.237 1:39.762 17
R 24 Julien BRICHÉ JSB Compétition Peugeot 308 TCR 5 DNF 1:39.283 4
R 19 Andreas BÄCKMAN Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR 0 DNF N/A 3

TCR Europe points deficit after Round 4
Graphic: TouringCars.Net

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