The TCR Eastern Europe weekend at Automotodrom Brno was filled with the spirit of bidding farewell to the 2023 season. Although this year’s champion had already been decided in the previous event, there was still something to fight for. The focus was on determining who would be the best overall behind the victorious Maťo Homola in the final standings.
Automotodrom Brno is notorious for being hard on tires, and many drivers struggled with tire wear. This was especially evident during qualifying, where setting the fastest time was crucial in the first flying lap. After that, the tires lost grip, and unless a driver made a serious mistake in the first lap, it was difficult to improve their best time in the second lap. When it was time for the race, the conditions were the same for all drivers, and it was up to them how they managed their precious tires during the twenty-five-minute duration.
A newcomer, Attila Bucsi from the M1RA Motorsport team, provided a big surprise by securing the pole position with a Hyundai i30 N TCR and ultimately winning the race. The sixteen-year-old Hungarian driver displayed such speed on Saturday that not even a poor start, which forced him to battle with competitors in the opening laps, could stop him from pursuing victory. Eventually, he fought his way back to the front and clinched first place on his first attempt. Maťo Homola from Hyundai Janík Motorsport and last year’s TCR Eastern Europe champion, Bartosz Groszek, who returned to the series only for the final event and raced with the Audi RS3 LMS of the Aditis Racing team, joined him on the podium.
Adam Kout finished in fourth place, significantly reviving his hope for second place in the final driver standings. Before the Sunday race, the standings were as follows: René Kircher (130 points), Davit Kajaia (129), and Adam Kout (125).
In the second race, the top nine drivers switched their positions on the starting grid. Bucsi started from ninth place, while Petr Fulín Jr. started from pole position. After the red lights went out, René Kircher performed the best, moving from third to second position and swiftly overtaking the leader, Žarko Knego. At that moment, an open path and a chance for victory lay ahead of Kircher. However, Carlo Czepiel and later Adam Kout were closing in on the fast-driving Knego. The Czech driver eventually secured second place, but Knego managed to hold onto his position.
Kircher, driving a Honda Civic for the Mertel Motorsport team, won his second race of the season after a dominant performance and solidified his second place in the final standings. Kout’s second-place finish not only added another trophy to his collection but also propelled him to third place overall. Žarko Knego also celebrated his success. The first podium finishes were a great satisfaction for him after two seasons in TCR, during which he had come close on several occasions but never succeeded.
Another season of TCR Eastern Europe is behind us. Maťo Homola emerged as the champion. However, that doesn’t mean that the year 2023 didn’t offer a variety of sporting experiences. After all, a total of eight drivers achieved victories, and fifteen different drivers stood on the podium.
Text: TCR Eastern Europe / Aleš Sirný
Foto: TCR Eastern Europe / Petr Frýba