Max Hesse wins thrilling red flag-interrupted first Zandvoort race
Team Engstler driver Max Hesse claimed his maiden TCR Germany championship victory from sixth on the grid in a thrilling race at Zandvoort that was interrupted with a brief red flag session for barrier repairs. The Hyundai driver won the race after a tough battle with Honda driver Mike Halder and reigning champion Harald Proczyk.
It was Dominik Fugel that started from pole position in his Fugel Sport Honda Civic TCR, claiming the lead into turn one after a strong start.
The safety car was issued on the first lap as Volkswagen Team Oettinger’s Mitchell Cheah was tapped into a spin by the Honda of Michelle Halder. Cheah was able to limp back into the pits with broken rear suspension but the race was red-flagged as the barriers needed repairs.
The race was restarted behind the safety car with 19 minutes left, with Proczyk making his way past Halder for second position at the restart.
Behind the leading trio, championship leader Antti Buri made a move on Pyro Motorsport driver Bradley Burns for fourth position, resulting in three cars going side-by-side into the “Audi S”.
The move saw Hesse taking the opportunity to pass both Buri and Burns up into fourth position.
HP Racing International driver Proczyk made a move on Fugel coming into the first corner with 13 minutes left of the race. The two made contact and Fugel lost another place to fellow Honda driver Halder.
The stewards decided that Proczyk had to return the position to Fugel because of the incident, dropping him down to fourth position.
With just one minute left of the race, Hyundai driver Hesse made a move on leading driver Halder and was able to get past, but only briefly. Halder switched back to try and regain the position, resulting in contact and a half-spin by Hesse.
But a couple of corners later, Halder seemed to slow down to give the position back, handing victory to Hesse as the chequered flag dropped after 14 laps.
Halder crossed the line in second place ahead of Proczyk and Fugel. Championship leader Buri finished fifth ahead of Burns and Hyundai guest driver Lance David Arnold in seventh.
Buri still heads the points table, but is just five points ahead of Proczyk and 19 points ahead of race winner Hesse.
The second race of the weekend at Zandvoort starts at 16:05 CEST tomorrow.