Michelle Halder becomes first female winner of TCR Europe race at Zolder
Michelle Halder became the first female winner of a TCR Europe series race after producing a superb drive in the second race at Zolder.
The Profi Car Team Halder Honda Civic Type-R TCR driver started the reversed-grid race from second on the grid but got a better start than pole-sitter, and points leader, Dan Lloyd as the lights went out.
From then, Halder maintained her lead and extended her advantage over Lloyd, ultimately coming home 1.953s ahead of the British driver.
Behind Lloyd, BRC Racing’s Dáni Nagy claimed the final step on the podium in third.
Lloyd initially got away well but was soon out-dragged into the first corner by Halder’s Honda, which swept around the outside to claim the lead.
Behind, Julien Briché (JSB Compétition Peugeot 308TCR) and Andreas Bäckman (Target Competition Hyundai i30 N TCR) came together at Turn 2, with both going into the gravel trap.
Bäckman’s race was over for the second day in a row, while Briché managed to carry on round to the pits with damage.
Halder was immediately able to build a slender, but comfortable eight-tenths of a second margin over the heavier Lloyd, while Dáni Nagy headed Mike Halder for third.
Her lead at half-distance was extended to just over 1.3 seconds as Lloyd appeared to not have an answer for the pace of the Profi Car Team Halder driver.
In stark contrast to Saturday’s opening race, this was a far tamer affair although the racing was just as close behind the leading trio.
Nagy and Mike Halder were engaged in a race-long squabble for third place, while Nagy’s team-mate Mat’o Homola embroiled in a lively fight over seventh with the Brutal Fish Racing Honda of Pepe Oriola and the Comtoyou Racing Audi of Sami Taoufik.
Oriola tried everywhere he could to unsettle Homola in front of him, but the experienced Slovak held his nerve in his Hyundai i30 N TCR.
That nerve only held so long as Oriola eventually got by Homola at the final corner. Slowed by this manoeuvre, Homola also fell into the clutches of Taoufik, Team Clairet Sport’s Teddy Clairet and Jessica Bäckman.
Taoufik eventually took a trip through the gravel trap, falling out of contention before the end.
Out front, Halder was untroubled en route to her first Series win, beating Lloyd by almost two seconds.
Outside of the podium finishers, Mehdi Bennani finished fifth behind Mike Halder and ahead of Race 1 winner Nicolas Baert.
Oriola headed Homola, Teddy Clairet and John Filippi to round out the top ten finishers. Taoufik eventually came home 12th.
The next TCR Europe race takes place at Monza on September 26-27.