After Jean-Karl Vernay fell afoul of the high-speed Salzburgring in Austria, the TCR International Series heads across the border to Budapest with the championship suddenly wide open and a familiar face back on top. Could there be yet more drama in store at the Hungaroring? Make sure you’re following along with Motorsport.tv’s LIVE coverage to find out!
It goes without saying that touring car racing is ferociously popular in Hungary, where Norbert Michelisz is a feted national celebrity and always draws huge support from the home crowds. This weekend will be no different, as Michelisz makes his series debut in a third Honda Civic run by his own M1RA squad. The team has made an excellent start to the year, with veteran Italian Roberto Colciago winning three times and Michelisz’s 17-year-old protégé Attila Tassi showing his latent potential with a fourth podium of the year at the Salzburgring, despite a terrifying accident in practice. The tight and twisty Hungarian circuit ought to be more favourable to the nimbler SEATs, which have fared well this year in the hands of Pepe Oriola and another local man Ferenc Ficza, but equally don’t rule out the potent combination of two-time champion Stefano Comini and the new Audi RS3 LMS TCR, the Swiss having overhauled Colciago and Vernay to lead the standings with a pair of consistent finishes in Austria. With national pride at stake and seven brands represented for a tin-top battle royale, what could possibly be better?
Well, perhaps even more power might do the trick. Step forward the British GT Championship and highlights of the blue-riband Silverstone 500, where the 1932 Brooklands 500 mile race-winners trophy was up for grabs. At three hours, Silverstone is the longest race on the calendar and allows for plenty of strategic variety, as championship leaders Phil Keen and Jon Minshaw showed last year by taking their first of three mandatory driver changes under an early safety car. It is also the only time all season that Pro drivers are permitted to race on track with Ams, which always produces fireworks... With the usual blend of rough and tumble GT4 cars from McLaren, Ginetta, Aston Martin, Nissan, Toyota and Lotus also present at the Home of British Motor Racing, it promised not to disappoint!
The cars may be just as fast, but you can bet that the stars of the FIA World Rally Championship will be a lot more sideways in Rally Italia, staged on the glorious island of Sardinia. In the seventh round of the championship, M-Sport’s Sebastien Ogier was hoping to extend his championship lead and take a fourth win in five years, but on a rally famous for disadvantaging the first car on the road, could the likes of Hayden Paddon (Hyundai), Ott Tanak (Ford) and Esapekka Lappi (Toyota) take advantage of their lowly running order to come to the fore?
There’s plenty more 4-WD fun to come, with a behind the scenes look at the FIA World Rallycross Championship in Inside World RX. See the Hell circuit up close and personal with Neil Cole, meet star drivers including Mattias Ekstrom, Petter Solberg and Ken Block and of course catch all the action as championship leader Johan Kristofferson went up against local hero Andreas Bakkerud, the Norwegian looking for his second home victory in a row.
It wouldn’t be the home of motorsport entertainment without some oval racing thrown into the mix and there are few better than the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series from Texas to whet the appetite. Defending champion Johnny Sauter came into the weekend leading the points after a strong opening to the year, but could Christopher Bell stop him from running away with it?
And if that’s not enough, immerse yourself in supercar heaven as the Ferrari Challenge Europe series heads to the Maranello’s spiritual home of Monza, enjoy a bumper grid of MX-5s in the BRSCC Mazda Supercup from Silverstone, then marvel at the high-powered Scottish Legends cars as they charge around the classic Knockhill circuit.
Friday 16th June
18:55 – The Flying Lap, Episode 12
20:30 – Inside World RX, Rd 6, Norway
22:05 – NASCAR Camping World Trucks, Rd 7, Texas
Saturday 17th June
11:40 – Celtic Speed Mini Cooper Cup, Rd 3, Knockhill
12:40 – Scottish Legends, Rd 3, Knockhill
13:45 – BRSCC Mazda MX-5 Supercup, Rd 3, Silverstone
14:45 – FIA WRC Best-Of, Rd 7, Rally Italia
21:30 – British GT Championship, Rd 5, Silverstone
Sunday 18th June
08:00 – LIVE TCR International Series, Rd 6, Hungaroring (Race 1)
11:40 – Asia Talent Cup, Rd 3, Suzuka (Race 1)
12:40 – Asia Talent Cup, Rd 3, Suzuka (Race 2)
13:45 – British GT Championship, Rd 5, Silverstone
14:50 – Delayed-as-Live TCR International Series, Rd 6, Hungaroring (Race 1)
15:45 – Ferrari Challenge Europe, Rd 2, Monza