Pierre-Yves Corthals is a happy and… surprised winner of the first TCR Trophy Europe.
“It takes one champion to start writing the history of a new series and it’s nice to be the one!” reckons the 41-year-old Belgian, who adds: “Still, the TCR Trophy Europe was not even a thought at the beginning of the season. Together with DG Sport Compétition, our first goal was to find the budget to run in the TCR Benelux, then to find a car different from the majority of models available, and we went for the Opel Astra. We started thinking about the TCR Trophy Europe once we saw we were well-placed in the standings, that’s when we planned to go to Hockenheim and then Jerez, and things turned out well.”
‘Pilou’ (the nickname by which Corthals is known in the paddock) is extremely praiseful of his team and the Opel Astra: “It’s nice for Opel too to win this first Trophy, as they did not have an easy start with the Astra. Still, ours has worked very well and improved race after race, thanks to great work of DG Sport Compétition and our engineer Lionel Hansen, who is very meticulous, and also to the support of Opel Motorsport’s engineers.”
With a long and successful career in touring car racing, Corthals is enthused with the TCR concept: “It’s a great idea and it allows racing fast and reliable cars at a reasonable cost. On top, I love the possibility to race in different countries and different series with the same car. Creating a European Trophy within the existing series is also a terrific and cost-effective option.”
The season is not yet over for ‘Pilou’, who is still in contention for the TCR Benelux title, but he is already sighting the next season: “I really would like to go back to the international stage and do the full TCR International Series…”
Picture by Jacques Letihon - from the left: Frédéric Caprasse (Corthals’ teammate and first runner-up in the TCR Trophy Europe), Christian Jupsin (Team Principal DG Sport Compétition) and ‘Pilou’ Corthals