The final race of the TCR Eastern Europe 2023 season was dominated by René Kircher driving a Honda Civic for Mertel Motorsport. The battle for the podium unfolded behind him throughout the entire race, and Adam Kout, in a Hyundai Elantra, managed to secure second place despite a less-than-ideal start. Žarko Knego put on a great defensive race in another Hyundai Elantra and secured the third spot on the podium.
Petr Fulín Jr. started from pole position alongside Žarko Knego. René Kircher and Giacomo Ghermandi formed the second row, followed by Hyundai Janík Motorsport teammates Carlo Czepiel and Adam Kout. The fourth row belonged to Bartosz Groszek and this year’s champion, Maťo Homola. Yesterday’s race winner, Attila Bucsi, started from ninth place due to the reverse grid rule.
Fulín Jr. had a slow start and lost positions during the opening lap. Žarko Knego took the lead before the first corner, but soon René Kircher claimed the first position, important for his fight in the overall championship standings. Knego defended his second place very well from Carlo Czepiel, who had Giacomo Ghermandi close behind. The Italian driver also successfully defended his position from Maťo Homola and Adam Kout.
While Knego held his position with a train of cars behind him, Kircher took the opportunity to extend his lead and was leading by over three seconds in the third lap. Kout overtook his teammate Homola and then successfully passed Ghermandi, who was followed by race 1 podium finishers Homola, Bucsi, and Groszek.
Kout soon closed in on his teammate Czepiel, who was still struggling to find a way past Knego. The Czech driver exchanged positions with his teammate through a couple of corners and was now ready to challenge Knego.
Meanwhile, Groszek overtook Homola for sixth place, and Homola faced pressure from Bucsi, who passed him in the seventh lap.
In the tenth lap, Kout found a way around Knego and moved into second place. Knego ultimately finished third after a great performance in the season’s final race. He faced pressure throughout the entire race, from the first to the last lap. On the other hand, the winner, René Kircher, had a calm race since he took the lead in the opening lap and created a comfortable gap, which he maintained until the finish line for a well-deserved victory.
Carlo Czepiel finished fourth, with Giacomo Ghermandi just two seconds behind. Attila Bucsi crossed the line in sixth place, and seventh place went to Bartosz Groszek. Maťo Homola was classified in eighth position, and Petr Fulín Jr. finished ninth. Carol Wittke earned one point for finishing tenth.
The race results mean that René Kircher remained in second place in the championship, while Adam Kout moved up to third place ahead of Davit Kajaia, who did not finish either race at Automotodrom Brno.
Text: TCR Eastern Europe / Aleš Sirný
Foto: TCR Eastern Europe / Petr Frýba