Luca Engstler takes commanding victory at the Lausitzring
Team Engstler’s Luca Engstler gave no opportunity to his rivals in the opening race at the Lausitzring, dominating from start to the finish to also extend his lead in the TCR Germany standing.
At the start Engstler took the lead from the pole position, followed by fellow Hyundai driver Karklys Jonas. Christian Voithofer, driving a Wimmer Werk-Cupra Leon Competición and team-mate Peter Gross in his Audi then tangled at turn five, with both rejoining the race on their own power.
Eric Scalvini struggled and started to drop back, losing spots to the Fugel brothers and, on lap two, to Rene Kircher – with the Italian falling to eighth place. Scalvini would recover seventh place from Kircher on lap six.
Soon Karklys came under fire from Martin Andersen at the wheel of a Hyundai i30 N TCR from Team Engstler and the paid caught up with the leader, who couldn’t open a gap, on lap eight.
Andersen overtook Karklys for second place on lap ten and Nico Gruber then stared closing onto Karklys, as Dominik Fugel, in fifth place, also reduced the gap to the leading group.
The safety car was called into action on lap 16 as Kircher stopped on the side of the track with smoke coming out of his engine.
The race was relaunched with just enough time for two racing laps. Engstler retained the lead at the restart, with Marcel Fugel overtaking his brother Dominik for fifth place, who also came under fire from Scalvini.
The Italian launched himself on the inside of turn one on the last lap, going deep but managing to recover to stay ahead and take sixth place.
At the chequered flag, Engstler claimed the victory, with Andersen and Karklys completing the podium.
Gruber fended off Marcel Fugel to finish fourth, with Scalvini crossing the line in sixth place. Christopher Röhner overtook Dominik Fugel on the last lap to be seventh, ahead of the second of the Fugel brothers.
Philipp Regensperger was ninth, with Roland Hertner completing the top ten.
After the first race at the Lausitzring, Engstler leads the championship with 153 points, 42 more than Scalvini and 50 ahead of Dominik Fugel.
The TCR Germany field returns to action on Sunday morning, with the qualifying session for Race 2 scheduled for 9:35 CEST.