Photo: FCP Euro Motorsports

Michael Hurczyn grabs St. Petersburg win despite incident with team-mate

Michael Hurczyn secured the Heinlein Racing Development team’s first win of the 2019 TC America championship season, taking back the lead of the race after his team-mate Nate Vincent served a drive-through penalty for knocking Hurczyn wide at the mid-point of the race.

Hurczyn started from pole position in the first of the two FCP Euro-backed HRD Volkswagen Golf GTI TCRs, and the two cars quickly pulled away from Bryan Putt’s Rowe Racing Audi RS 3 LMS DSG in third when the lights went out, with James Walker in the Risi Competizione-run Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR stuck behind the Audi driver and fighting to find his way past.

The two FCP Euro HRD cars were also fighting hard up front, with Hurczyn battling to keep back team-mate Vincent.

In the second battle group, Walker eventually made his move on Putt’s Audi into Turn 1 at the start of lap seven, and quickly began to close in on the battling Volkswagens ahead.

Just before half distance, the Alfa Romeo was right on the tail of the two Volkswagens, as Vincent was continuing to put pressure on his team-mate.

Vincent then made an error and ran into the rear of Hurczyn’s Golf GTI TCR at Turn 13 on lap 13, with Hurczyn running off wide and letting both Vincent and Walker’s Giulietta through into the top two positions.

Vincent was now able to begin to pull away from Walker’s Alfa Romeo, who now was struggling with the handling of the car. Walker soon ran wide and this allowed Hurczyn back up to second place, which soon became the lead after Vincent was handed a drive-through penalty for the incident with him four laps earlier.

Vincent fell back to fifth after serving the penalty, but was able to recover to fourth before the end of the race, crossing the line just four-tenths of a second behind Bryan Putt’s Rowe Audi, who grabbed the final podium position.

Hurczyn had built up a five second lead over Walker by lap 22, before the Volkswagen driver in turn began to struggle for pace, with Walker closing in on him, with the two drivers nose-to-tail for the last two laps of the race, but ran out of time to mount a serious challenge, with Hurczyn taking the win by 1.1 seconds.

Hurczyn now takes the lead of the championship from the absent Mason Filippi by eight points, while Vincent closes to within five points of Filippi heading into tomorrow’s second race, which is scheduled for 16:35 local time on Sunday (22:35 CET).