Update: Homola wins again, Groszek escapes penalty
A dramatic battle for the win and also for the championship was featured in the second race of the TCR Eastern Europe series at Slovakia Ring. Local driver Maťo Homola has won again and his teammate Petr Semerád finished second while third Groszek lost a championship lead for a moment, as he was penalised after the race for dangerous driving. However he successfully appealed against the penalty and kept the third place.
Robert Pravdič, in an Audi, started from pole position, thanks to the draw, which had the Top 10 drivers from the previous race starting in reverse order. Alongside Pravdič, Žarko Knego started in a Cupra. In the second row, sat TCR Eastern Europe debutant Adam Rzepecki and, next to him, Václav Janík. Lined up behind them were Levente Losonczy and Sebastian Steibel. Championship leader Bartosz Groszek started from seventh position, next to the third man in the standings, Petr Čížek. The fifth row belonged to teammates Petr Semerád and Maťo Homola.
As the red light went off, it seemed that Adam Rzepecki had a rocket start and took the lead with a nice gap. However, that was thanks to a jump start and Rzepecki received a drive-through penalty later in the race. Václav Janík moved up to second place and, just behind him, was Maťo Homola after a couple of corners.
Rzepecki’s gap advantage disappeared after the opening lap and Janík was pushing on him, as well as Homola, who was more cautious about overtaking his teammate and team boss. Janík finally took the lead during the third lap and enjoyed a free view of Slovakia Ring’s track.
A hard fight was put up by two championship contenders, Groszek and Semerád. The Polish driver moved up from seventh position to fourth pretty quickly and was defending his position from Semerád. They were racing hard and also side-by-side through many corners. Eventually, Semerád successfully overtook Groszek and soon passed Rzepecki, who then made a mistake and went off the track.
After five laps, the Hyundai / Janík Motorsport team held the first three places with Homola in the lead, Semerád in second, and Janík in third. Although Janík’s position was under threat by Groszek and, with just two laps to the finish, they were joined by Petr Čížek. Groszek made a move to pass Janík on the start/finish line and there was even contact between the two of them. Čížek, meanwhile, used this as an opportunity to pass Janík, who fell from third to fifth place in a split second.
The fight on the track wasn’t over yet. Čížek made a mistake, went off the track for a moment, and then the battle for positions continued between himself, Janík, and Levente Losonczy. For a time, they were racing three-wide in the corner and it wasn’t clear who was going to win this fight until the last corner of the last lap, as Čížek unexpectedly overtook Janík and finished fourth – or so he thought.
Right after the finish, third-place Groszek was penalised 10 seconds for dangerous driving and fell to seventh position. Čížek moved to third behind Semerád and winner Homola. However Groszek successfully appealed against the penalty and kept the important third place. Čížek was moved back to fourth position, fifth place was taken by Janík, in sixth was Losonczy. Seventh position belongs to Tomasz Rzepecki. Sebastian Steibel, who went off the track in the opening lap, finished eighth, in front of Robert Pravdič, who started from pole position. Vít Smejkal took one point for tenth place.
The title battle of the championship will be decided in the very last race weekend of the season in Most in the beginning of September.
TCR Eastern Europe 2022
|08.-10. 04. – Hungaroring|
|04.-05. 06. – Red Bull Ring|
|24.-26. 06. – Poznaň|
|23.-24. 07. – Grobnik|
|20.-21. 08. – Slovakia Ring|
|02.-04. 09. – Most|
|Bartosz Groszek – 156|
|Petr Semerád – 154|
|Petr Čížek – 105|
|Maťo Homola – 83|
|Václav Janík – 80|