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A scorching weekend ahead for TCR Europe at Le Castellet
19
July
2023

A scorching weekend ahead for TCR Europe at Le Castellet

The current heatwave covering southern Europe means that this weekend’s TCR Europe event at the Circuit Paul Ricard at Le Castellet in the south of France will provide a tougher test than usual for drivers and teams. The event sees the championship’s second visit to France this season following the pair of races at the Pau street circuit in mid-May but on that occasion the weather couldn’t have been more different, with periods of heavy rain producing challenging conditions over the three days.

 

The current leader of the Drivers’ Championship, Comtoyou Racing’s Tom Coronel, heads to Le Castellet with an advantage of 44 points over John Filippi, with the leading Rookie driver, Coronels’ teammate Kobe Pauwels, in third place just 6 points behind Filippi. There’s then a gap of 53 points to the winner of Race 1 in Pau, Dušan Borkovič, who lies in fourth place in the standings in a Target Competition Hyundai Elantra N while the current leader of the Diamond Trophy, Viktor Davidovski, is fifth.

 

Once again this weekend, Audi will be the most popular brand on the grid, with no fewer than seven RS 3 LMS cars on the entry list. Along with the four regular Comtoyou Racing and Comtoyou entries are the two Volcano Motorsport cars of Daniel Tkachenko and Lewis Brown, while Comtoyou Racing has entered an additional car for Nicola Baldan, who returns to TCR Europe after finishing seventh in the Drivers’ Championship last season.

 

Another driver making a welcome return to TCR Europe is the winner of the 2017 title, Aurélien Comte, who will drive one of two CUPRA Leon Competición cars entered by SP Compétition. Alongside Comte will be another experienced French driver, Sacha Bottemanne, and so the pair should be more than capable of taking the fight to the TCR Europe title contenders.

 

Alongside Dušan Borković, Target Competition have entered a second Hyundai Elantra N for Marco Butti, the winner of last year’s TCR Europe Rookie title, while Levente Losonczy will be in the Aggressive Team Italia Hyundai Elantra. With the MA:GP Lynk & Co 03 of Sweden’s Viktor Andersson and the return of the young Estonian driver Ruben Volt in the ALM Motorsport Honda Civic Type R FL5 he drove at the Hungaroring five weeks ago, fourteen cars are entered for the fifth event on the 2023 TCR Europe calendar.

 

With its blue and red run-off areas and the equally distinctive Mistral Straight, the Circuit Paul Ricard is one of the most easily recognisable tracks visited by TCR Europe, with the circuit featuring on the calendar in all but one year since the championship adopted its current format in 2018. Traditionally, the visit to Le Castellet has tended to be much earlier in the year, with the event twice opening the season and twice hosting the second round. Moving the 2023 event to late July meant air and track temperatures were always going to be high, but with forecast air temperatures this weekend threatening to nudge 90 degrees Fahrenheit, spare a thought for the drivers, engineers and mechanics who’ll be battling the heat as well as each other…

 

Event timetable (local time)

Friday July 21st

11.37 - Free Practice 1

17.31 - Free Practice 2

 

Saturday July 22nd

11.35 - Qualifying

19.05 - Race 1

 

Sunday July 23rd

12.10 - Race 2

 

2023 TCR Europe Series – calendar

29/30 April – Autodromo do Algarve, Portimão, Portugal

13/14 May – Circuit de Ville, Pau, France

27/28 May – Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium

17/18 June – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary

22/23 July – Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France

23/24 September – Autodromo Nazionale, Monza, Italy

21/22 October – Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya, Spain

 


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