TCR Europe set for journey into the unknown for 2022 opener
The opening round of the 2022 TCR Europe season features a mix of familiarity and novelty as the Portimão circuit in the Algarve makes its series debut this weekend.
Due to the topography of the circuit, with steep inclines and declines, the “Rollercoaster” as it is nicknamed is sure to produce action aplenty as the season kicks off as one of the support categories for the DTM in Portugal.
A total of 21 cars will take to the grid, signifying a reduction in entries from the previous three years (22 in 2021, 24 in 2020 and 31 in 2019) but with nine different race winners on the entry list, it is most certainly not short on talent.
The weekend will also be the first with the series’ new tyre supplier for the season, having made the switch from Hankook to Kumho in the off-season.
Returning to the series this year is 2019 champion Josh Files, who teams up with Target Competition once more aboard a Hyundai Elantra N TCR. He partners Italian duo Felice Jelmini – who stays for a second season in the series – and experienced campaigner and 2017 TCR Italy champion Nicola Baldan.
The competition will be fierce, particularly at Halder Motorsport, which will field three Honda Civic Type-R TCRs for siblings Mike and Michelle Halder, while Jack Young makes the move over from Brutal Fish Racing for his second full season.
The team which Young vacates will continue with Honda machinery this season but with a reduced effort of two cars, reserved for team boss Martin Ryba and TCR veteran Pepe Oriola.
Last year’s champion team Sébastien Loeb Racing has also made the headlines this week as it announced it would be switching from Hyundai to Cupra for the 2022 season. John Filippi leads the team as a solo entry in the series, running the new spec León Competición TCR.
In the battle of the Cupras, Volcano Motorsport have numerical superiority with four cars on the grid. Evgenii Leonov and Klim Gavrilov will form half of the line-up, racing under the neutral flag, while teenage sensation Isidro Callejas joins from Brutal Fish Racing to partner Gustavo Moura Jr in the team.
Comtoyou Racing will have a heavy presence this season, with three official cars alongside partner team Élite Motorsport. Tom Coronel, Franco Girolami and Viktor Davidovski will race for the main team, with the latter pair moving from Honda equipment to the latest Audi RS 3 LMS for the first time.
For Élite, Luís Cidade and Miklas Born will also drive the new-for-2022 Audi RS 3 LMS.
Recently announced Hyundai Junior driver Jachym Galaš will team up with Mat’o Homola in a two-car entry from Janík Motorsport while Lema Racing returns to the TCR Europe fold with Giacomo Ghermandi following their series debut last year at Barcelona.
Following a pre-season test session, the weekend finally begins in earnest on Friday, with the first free practice scheduled to take place at 12:05 CEST. FP2 will then run later in the afternoon at 15:30. Both sessions will last 30 minutes.
Then it’s onto qualifying on Saturday, which will take place at 09:35 before the first race of the weekend later that day at 15:15. Race 2 will conclude the weekend on Sunday at 14:15.
2022 TCR Europe – entry list
2 – Luís Cidade (Élite Motorsport by Comtoyou, Audi RS 3 LMS II TCR)
3 – Giacomo Ghermandi (Lema Racing, CUPRA Leon Competición TCR)
7 – Mike Halder (Halder Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR)
8 – Nicola Baldan (Target Competition, Hyundai Elantra N TCR)
10 – Viktor Davidovski (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS II TCR)
14 – Klim Gavrilov (Volcano Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición TCR)
16 – Evgenii Leonov (Volcano Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición TCR)
17 – Martin Ryba (Brutal Fish Racing Team, Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR)
18 – Miklas Born (Élite Motorsport by Comtoyou, Audi RS 3 LMS II TCR)
24 – Jáchym Galáš (Janík Motorsport, Hyundai Elantra N TCR)
26 – Isidro Callejas (Volcano Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición TCR)
27 – John Filippi (Sébastien Loeb Racing, CUPRA Leon Competición TCR)
33 – Tom Coronel (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS II TCR)
44 – Felice Jelmini (Target Competition, Hyundai Elantra N TCR)
53 – Michelle Halder (Halder Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR)
62 – Jack Young (Halder Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR)
70 – Mat’o Homola (Janík Motorsport, Hyundai Elantra N TCR)
72 – Franco Girolami (Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS II TCR)
74 – Pepe Oriola (Brutal Fish Racing Team, Honda Civic Type R FK7 TCR)
99 – Josh Files (Target Motorsport, Hyundai Elantra N TCR)
124 – Gustavo Moura jr. (Volcano Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición TCR)