Photo: TCR World Tour

High emotions after “crazy” FIA TCR World Tour weekend in the USA

Emotions ran high after two eventful FIA TCR World Tour races at Mid-Ohio in the USA which several drivers labeled “crazy”, especially after the incident-packed second race.

Mikel Azcona looked set to secure his second win of 2024 in the first race until the Hyundai driver suffered an issue with his front anti-roll bar, something that enabled Thed Björk to get past and claim his first win of the year.

“I could hear this strange noise and the car balance was really bad, so something broke,” said Azcona.

“When I realised that I started to manage the car because I didn’t want a DNF. It was very hard to defend against Björk, I was doing my best. I was thinking to finish P2, but the team told me to give up the position. Overall, a crazy and challenging weekend, especially the second race. It was probably the toughest of the season so far in terms of fights and battles.”

Cyan Racing’s Björk was one of the fastest drivers this weekend, quickly extending his lead after he got past Azcona in the first race.

The second race saw the Swede charging from eighth place on the grid to first pass Honda driver Dusan Borkovic (Honda) after having been let past by team-mate Santiago Urrutia. Björk then quickly reeled Yann Ehrlacher who also let him past in order to fight leading driver Marco Butti (Honda).

Björk was able to get past Butti with some contact, for which he later received a five-second penalty for, and soon handed over the lead to team-mate Ehrlacher.

“It felt so good to win in the US! Both races were super exciting and the team gave me an amazing car,” said Björk.

“But the second race was actually one of the best touring car races of my life. It was fighting all through the race, really crazy.”

Lynk & Co’s Ehrlacher then became the first driver to claim two wins this year.

“We got very good points this weekend and the team gave me a great car for both races, super nice feeling to become the first driver with two wins this year. A big thanks to the team and to Thed who helped me a lot. Let’s keep pushing for the final half of the season,” said Ehrlacher.

But despite his win, Ehrlacher lost seven points over the weekend to points leader Norbert Michelisz who now heads the standings by 22 points after another consistent weekend.

“We collected a lot of points. My start for Race 1 was quite bad so I immediately lost a position. The blue cars were quite fast, they improved a lot compared to yesterday,” said Michelisz.

“But from the beginning of the race I felt strong, the car began to come alive. Finishing second is OK. I feel sorry for the Matador [Azcona], he deserved a win. But sometimes it’s like this. In Race 2 we stayed out of trouble, so I’m happy. Looking at the incidents it could have been much worse, it would have been easy to be caught up. We cannot afford not to score.”

The race weekend ended in controversial style as Santiago Urrutia hit Esteban Guerrieri after the finishing line, a move which saw the Uruguayan driver disqualified from the weekend.

Michelisz leads on 150 points, with Ehrlacher second on 128 and Azcona third on 126.