Photo: TCR Europe

Borković: Lapping cars as challenging as holding off Pauwels for Pau win

Dušan Borković says it was not just the challenge from behind that made his TCR Europe win in Pau difficult, but the cars he had to pass while leading.

The entry list was boosted by several French racers making cameos, but they were off the pace and two of them – Christian Philippon and Olivier López – were so slow that they ended up being lapped twice in Saturday’s 20-lap race.

And lapping proved difficult on the tight city streets even with blue flags.

“It was scary because you see the car behind you is really fast,” said Borković to TouringCarTimes. “Kobe Pauwels was doing a great job. And when you see him, and he was pushing really hard, and then you see the car [in front] not moving out of the way, and then you have to go in between them and the barriers. That was a little bit scary.”

Borković encountered the cars to lap at the turn six right-hander, while most of the rest of the field reached them coming out of the final corner and on to the wider pit straight.

“It was a scary moment a couple of times, but I am good at overtaking,” added Borković. “Tomorrow I will take less risks at some points, because in Portimao I lost points because I crashed with Pauwels. And now we are one P1 and P2! I needed those points. Also tomorrow I need to finish because the season is long and every point counts.”

Second place in qualifying and Race 1 victory lifts Borković from ninth to fifth in the standings, but the win meant more to him than just his championship position.

“It was really good. The main goal was a good start, and I managed to have a reasonably good start. After that I was watching the mirrors and watching not to do mistakes. In one lap I almost did a mistake, I touched a kerb really hard on the exit. And also for turn four I outbraked myself in one moment, but apart from that it was everything manageable and good and I’m really happy that I won again in TCR Europe.

“Big thanks to the team, they did a really good job. This is only my second round, without any prior testing, in the Hyundai Elantra N. In Portimao [for round one] I sat for the first time in the car, and it was everything new. And now I know the car a little bit better, but still I have to learn some things about the car.

“I’m happy because I won on such a difficult, difficult circuit. Here one mistake can cost you everything. And I was avoiding that. And big congratulations also to Kobe, he was keeping up really good, even with the ballast he has. I’m really happy for myself, for the team, for my sponsors and also for Serbia. They needed this.”

Borković’s dedication of victory to his home country came after two mass shootings and subsequent marches by the Serbian public this month in response to those tragedies.

A crash in a race before TCR’s left lots of fluid on the entry to turn two and marshals had to spend a long time covering it with absorbent powder to make it safe to race on. By the time TCR drivers took to the track “it was okay”, according to Borković.

“I was careful the first two, three laps, and after that I saw the grip from the braking was good, and also in the cornering for turn one it was good.”