Mike Halder takes final victory of the season while Harald Procyzk is crowned champion with third
Harald Procyzk clinched the 2018 TCR Germany title with third place in the final race of the season, as Mike Halder took victory in a race littered with three safety car interventions.
Race 1 winner Proczyk needed only to finish ahead of chief title rival Luca Engstler (Team Engstler Hyundai), who started 19th after a receiving a 10-place grid penalty following Saturday’s opening encounter.
The HP International Racing driver fought Halder tooth and nail for race victory before settling for the final place on the podium, while Engstler sensationally recovered to finish fourth, just behind the Austrian.
Title outsider coming into the race Niels Langeveld got the best getaway from the second row on the grid to leapfrog pole-sitter Oliver Holdener into Turn 1, while Halder also made progress on the opening lap to run second.
Holdener and fellow front-row start Jussi Kuusiniemi dropped back at the start which allowed Procyzk to assume fourth place on the first lap.
Engstler also made significant gains, making up nine places to run inside the top ten.
His Team Engstler Hyundai team-mate Théo Coicaud brought out the first safety car appearance after the Frenchman was hit by Lukas Niederdtscheider’s Peugeot 308TCR approaching the first corner. The Hyundai i30 N TCR sustained substantial front-end damage but was easily recovered, with just one safety car lap needed.
The restart proved chaotic, with Engstler nearly becoming a victim of Benjamin Leuchter’s attack on him at the Hairpin. Leuchter looked to push his Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR down the inside of Engstler’s Hyundai on the run towards Turn 7, but Engstler was just able to hold onto the position.
Leuchter and Kuusiniemi then ran wide at Turn 8 and pincered Pascal Eberle’s Cupra and the Team LMS Audi RS 3 LMS of Antti Buri for the tightening Turn 9. All four made contact and Eberle’s car was tipped into a roll, bringing out the safety car for the second time.
Langeveld held the lead at the second restart from Halder and Procyzk, while Engstler survived contact from an out-of-control Dominik Fugel (Team Honda ADAC Sachsen Honda Civic Type R FK8) at Turn 2.
Engstler had dropped back to 10th, but made it back to eighth by passing both Holdener and Fugel on the same lap.
The 18-year-old’s progress was halted once more as Maurits Sandberg and J.C Reynolds made contact at Turn 10, forcing the safety car to come out again. Reynold’s Cupra sustained serious damage to the front of the car, but both drivers emerged unscathed after the crash.
Langeveld held the lead once more after the restart but was pushed wide by Halder under braking for Turn 8, dropping the Dutchman behind Procyzk and Buri to fourth.
Langeveld’s assertive pass on Buri along with the Finn’s retirement soon after held the Audi driver recover to third ahead of a last-lap pass on Proczyk to claim second at the flag.
Procyzk held on for third ahead of Engstler, who had made it past Niko Kankkunen and Luke Wankmüller in the remaining laps, to claim the championship title.