Photo: ADAC Motorsport

Harald Proczyk takes his first victory of 2019 at the Red Bull Ring

HP International Racing’s Harald Proczyk scored his first win of the season in this afternoon’s TCR Germany championship race at the Red Bull Ring, after a decisive move at the start that allowed the German driver to take the lead from third on the grid.

The Hyundai driver got between the front row drivers to take the lead.

LMS Racing’s Antti Buri, at the wheel of an Audi RS 3 LMS, went wide through the grass to challenge for third place, although the Finn finally settled in fourth behind Volkswagen Team Oettinger’s Mitchell Cheah and Julien Apotheloz’s TOPCAR Sport Cupra.

Reigning WTCR champion Gabriele Tarquini started well and was fighting for third place on the first lap, but was sandwiched between Buri and Team Engstler’s Theo Coicaud, retiring with broken steering.

The incident caused the safety car to be called out to remove his stricken Hyundai i30 N TCR of Team Engstler. Buri was investigated for causing the incident and also received a warning for not respecting the track limits.

At the restart, Proczyk kept the lead ahead of Apotheloz, who had to defend from Cheah and Buri. Standings leader Mike Halder, driving a Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR, went wide, falling further to the back of the field.

Lukas Niedertscheider and Bradley Burns collided at Turn 2 on lap three, with the Briton jumping and landing on two wheels, having to retire to the pits for repairs.

Leader Proczyk was never able to open a gap but, after ten laps he was under pressure from Apotheloz and Cheah. But the duo fought for second and collided at the last turn as Cheah tried to pass. They both made side-by-side contact again on the main straight, with Cheah overtaking for second and Buri taking advantage of the situation to take thirdfrom Apotheloz.

Buri challenged Cheah for second during the closing stages, with the Malaysian driver closing the door hard on the Finn. The battle allowed Proczyk to open a small gap at the front, with Apotheloz closing the distance and rejoining the pair in the fight for second.

Audi driver Buri threw everything he had at Cheah, with them touching several times during the last lap, but the Volkswagen driver managed to stay ahead.

At the chequered flag, Proczyk took his first win of the season, ahead of Cheah and Buri, with Apotheloz in fourth place.

Coicaud was fifth, followed by pole man Sebastian Steibel in sixth and Niedertscheider in seventh position.

Michelle Halder climbed up to eighth in her Honda Civic Type R FK8 TCR of Team Halder, with René Kircher, driving an Audi RS 3 LMS, in ninth. Maurits Sandberg completed the top ten in the second Volkswagen of VW Team Oettinger.

Race 2 is scheduled for 14:40 CEST on Sunday.