Niels Langeveld believes that Sunday’s reverse-grid race will be crucial in the TCR Europe title fight, after the Hyundai driver moved up to third in the drivers’ standings by finishing race one at the Nürburgring on the podium.
Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Langeveld finished the race where he had started, in third, after being unable to take the fight to the leading duo of Mikel Azcona and Franco Girolami.
Although the Dutchman has now moved up to third in the drivers’ standings, 75 points behind Azcona, he has dropped yet further behind in his quest for the title.
The result was only Langeveld’s second visit to the podium this season, and he cited a lack of balance in his Hyundai Elantra N as the reason why he was unable to fight for the win.
“The start was good, I was on the outside for Turn 1 and I wanted to overtake [Isidro] Callejas but I overshot a little bit,” explained Langeveld.
“Then I lost a place because I was on the wrong side, but after that the pace was good, like in qualifying.
“Then the balance was going slightly in the wrong direction in the car and I couldn’t keep up.
“I still hoped that the two in front were fighting so hard that I might get a late birthday present! In the end, I was P3 and of course I’m happy with the points but P1 and P2 in the championship gained some more points and that’s a pity.”
Langeveld will start Sunday’s reverse-grid race from eighth on the grid, but he believes it will present more of an opportunity for him to close the gap in the championship, even though he will start behind Azcona, who will line up in sixth.
“Okay, you have free practice, you have Q1 and Q2 and then race one but for me the key moment is the reversed-grid race; tomorrow a lot of points can be won and lost, so we need to score points and finish off a perfect weekend.”