Photo: TCR Series

Mike Halder aiming for TCR Europe return in 2021

The 2020 TCR Europe series season finale at Jarama left a bitter taste for former points leader Mike Halder, who saw his chances of winning the drivers’ title slip through his fingers with a double non-finish at the Spanish track.

The German driver, who left TCR Germany for TCR Europe this year, arrived at Jarama with a 26-point lead over Comtoyou Racing’s Mehdi Bennani.

But the 60kg of compensation weight that Halder was carrying in his Honda Civic Type-R TCR saw the German driver struggling in qualifying to start both races from 14th position.

In Race 1, Halder lost control of his car under braking at Turn 1 under mixed conditions, hitting PSS Racing Team’s Franco Girolami, with both drivers retiring from the race. Bennani’s fourth place allowed the Moroccan to overtake Halder in the championship classification.

The Team Halder mechanics, Mike included, worked frantically to repair the Honda in time for Race 2, with Halder jumping into the car just in time to do an evaluation lap before the grid formation.

The Team Halder driver gained some positions before crashing out again on lap six. The incident ended his options to fight for the crown, with Halder finishing the championship in fourth place, 43 points behind Bennani.

“We did everything we could to get the car repaired and out in time again,” Halder told TouringCarTimes, pointing to his dirty clothes.

“But the conditions were difficult, and it wasn’t possible in the end.”

The situation created by the COVD-19 pandemic has made matters worse for privately funded racing drivers around the world, but Halder believes he should be able to return to the TCR Europe grid next season.

“We are a small family team and things aren’t easy for us,” added Halder. “I want to thank my sponsors for making it possible for us to be in the European championship this year, I know it’s difficult to invest in something that some see as a hobby.

“But I have hope that the situation will improve for next year and that we will be able to compete again and maybe even have better luck.”