TCR: Luca Engstler and Florian Thoma share race victories in TCR Middle East International Series at the Dubai Autodrome

TCR: Luca Engstler and Florian Thoma share race victories in TCR Middle East International Series at the Dubai Autodrome

Dubai Autodrome – 26 / 27 January 2018 –

After winning pole position on Saturday with Luca Engstler, the German team dominated both races with Luca himself and Florian Thoma. And it was not by chance, because these were the team’s fourth and fifth consecutive victories at Dubai, following those in last year’s TCR Middle East opening event (by Luca and Brandon Gdovic) and that obtained two weeks ago in the 24H Dubai (again by Luca, Thoma, Jean-Karl Vernay and Benjamin Leuchter). Such a brilliant streak of wins proved that this racetrack has no secrets for the team’s crew that knows how to set up their Volkswagen Golf cars here, even in spite of the Success Ballast.

In fact, none of the other drivers was able to stay on Engstler’s and Thoma’s pace. Not even Giacomo Altoè who struggled for the whole weekend with the 30 kilos of Success Ballast that significantly affected the performance of his Audi RS3 LMS.
Both races provided some fighting. Lorenzo Veglia elbowed his way through the field in Race 1 and recovered from 11th on the grid to third at the chequered flag. He seemed to be able to improve that record in Race 2 as he crossed the line second, but was then hit by a penalty for a race incident, just like in Abu Dhabi’s Race 2 when he was stripped of the victory.

In today’s second race Mat’o Homola survived a final lap full of contacts to collect a well deserved second place, while Giovanni Altoè failed to claim his first podium result after he got the worst of the battle.

The title fight has now taken a clear shape as a two-way battle between Engstler (89 points) and Giacomo Altoè (75), with Homola in third position (64) waiting for them to make a false step.

The series will come to its end at the Bahrain International Circuit on February 23/24.

Race 1 – Luca Engstler in a league of his own

Luca Engstler dominated the third round of the TCR Middle East International Series, inflicting a six-second gap to Giacomo Altoè. Lorenzo Veglia completed the podium.

Engstler made good use of his pole position and sprinted to the lead. His Volkswagen Golf car fitted with new front tyres, the German youngster was able to set a very fast pace in the first laps, creating a gap that Altoé was not able to fill.
Thinking about the championship, the Italian focused on bringing his car to the second place and keeping a rampant Veglia at bay. The latter made up of yesterday’s disappointing qualifying result that relegated him to 11th on the grid. He got past four or five cars at the start and then recovered up to third overtaking Kai Jordan and Mat’o Homola.

Key facts
Start – Engstler sprints to take the lead from Giacomo Altoè and Jordan; Veglia takes a brilliant start and moves up from 11th to 6th; Kroes and Oriola make contact on the straight and the latter brushes the pit wall
Lap 1 – Homola overtakes Jordan for third; Kroes and Thoma make contact and the Dutch driver is forced to pit and retire
Lap 2 – Veglia overtakes Jordan for 4th; Engstler pulls away
Lap 3 – Giovanni Altoè threats Jordan’s 5th place
Lap 4 – Engstler stretches his lead to 3.5 seconds
Lap 5 – Veglia overtakes Homola for third
Lap 8 – Thoma overtakes Giovanni Altoé for 6th
Lap 9 – Thoma overtakes Jordan for 5th
Lap 10 – Engstler’s leading gap exceeds the five seconds
Lap 11 – Thoma tries to overtake Homola for 4th, but the latter keeps the position
Lap 12 – Oriola and Papantonis make contact at T18 while fighting for 8th place; they both continue after driving well beyond the track limits
Lap 13 – Veglia closes in on Giacomo Altoè
Lap 14 – Engstler wins from Giacomo Altoè and Veglia; Homola finishes fourth ahead of Thoma

Race 2 – Florian Thoma imitates his teammate

After Luca Engstler’s authoritative win in the first race, his teammate Florian Thoma provided the icing on the cake for the Liqui Moly Team Engstler by claiming victory in Race 2 in a similar way.

The Swiss was able to start well from the third row of the grid, took the lead from Giovanni Altoè on the first lap and then benefited from the fights behind him to pull away and score his first win in the series, his second in TCR after that in the opening event of last year’s ADAC TCR Germany at Oschersleben.

The battle for the second place was red-hot between Giovanni Altoè, Mat’o Homola, Lorenzo Veglia and Engstler. A series of clashes on the final lap ended up with Veglia crossing the line second, followed by Homola, Engstler and Altoè. But Veglia was later demoted by a 30-second penalty for a previous incident with Costas Papantonis.
Giovanni’s younger brother Giacomo was classified sixth after struggling to recover.

Key facts
Start – Papantonis takes advantage of the pole position on the reverse grid and takes the lead from Giovanni Altoè and Thoma
Lap 1 – Giovanni Altoè and Thoma overtake Papantonis, then Thoma steals the lead from the Italian
Lap 2 – Homola tries in vain to overtake Giovanni Altoè for third; Veglia and Engstler move up to 6th and 7th respectively
Lap 3 – Papantonis and Homola swap positions a couple of times; Jordan overtakes Kroes for 8th
Lap 4 – Veglia and Engstler overtake Oriola and climb to 5th and 6th
Lap 5 – Thoma has a leading gap of two seconds
Lap 6 – Veglia hits Papantonis who crashes at T11 and retires from 4th; Giacomo Altoè overtakes Kroes for 8th
Lap 7 – Giovanni Altoè bravely defends his second position from Homola
Lap 8 – Veglia and Engstler are in a close fight for the 4th place
Lap 10 – The fight for the second place involves Giovanni Altoè, Homola, Veglia and Engstler
Lap 11 – Veglia overtakes Homola for third
Lap 12 – Jordan overtakes Oriola for 6th
Lap 13 – Giacomo Altoè overtakes Oriola for 7th
Lap 14 – Thoma sails to victory; behind him the fight between Homola, Veglia and Giovanni Altoè results in a three-car contact; Veglia squeezes among his rivals and crosses the line second, but is later penalised for his incident with Papantonis


Quotes from the podium finishers in both races

Luca Engstler (winner of Race 1 and third in Race 2): “In the first race my car was absolutely brilliant! Compared to the others I had a big advantage: new front tyres that I had saved from yesterday’s practice sessions. This made me able to push during the first laps like in qualifying. In this way I created a comfortable gap and then I just had to control the race in the second half, taking care of the tyres and brakes.
The second race was a tough one. I was driving very aggressively in the first laps, fighting with Veglia. Then I said to myself that it was better to try and follow him, because he could open the way. And it worked. The car was good, but of course not as good as in the first race, because when you have to fight for the positions it’s completely different. For example, when I was trailing the cars in front of me the water temperature peaked over 100°. Eventually the third place was a great result for the title fight.”

Florian Thoma (winner of Race 2): “I have to say that it was quite easy at the beginning, because I managed to overtake a lot of cars at the start and then took the lead very early. After that it was just normal driving until the end. I really have to give credit to the team for the incredible job they have done. They gave Luca and me two cars that were really faster than the others and did no give us any problems in both races. Now my goal is to finish the championship on the podium.”

Giacomo Altoè (second in Race 1): “From the beginning I was struggling a lot. I did my best to save tyres and brakes keeping a steady pace at the beginning of the race. However, with the 30 kilos of success ballast I couldn’t prevent them to wear significantly. All considered, second was a good result.”

Mato Homola (second in Race 2): “I tried my best to recover positions at the beginning of the race, but Giovanni Altoè was really driving fast. It was not possible to overtake him on the straight and I began to have some issues with the cooling of the engine. I tried several time to overtake him, but always avoiding to make contact. Then Veglia overtook me, but with all the clashes on the last lap, luckily I was classified second. I want to thank my team, and especially my mechanic Sergio. He did a great job. We cannot talk because he only speaks Italian, but he’s a nice guy and I really like him.”

Lorenzo Veglia (third in Race 1): “I took a great start and was able to pass three or four cars straight away. And then I managed to overtake some other drivers one by one without losing time. I had a very good pace and managed to closed the gap on Giacomo, but I couldn’t catch him up.”

2018 TCR Middle East Series – calendar

19/20 January – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi
26/27 January – Dubai Autodrome
23/24 February – Bahrain International Circuit

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21 minutes ago


2019 Best clips 🎥

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That was a vicious highside I'm glad they both came out ok



Spat out off the track...

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13 hrs ago


Meet Yan Ting - an F1 volunteer in Singapore for ten years 😊

One of hundreds helping F1 run safely and smoothly every year 👊
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Heck I'd volunteer as well. So you don't get paid with money. You get paid with the excitement of being part of the greatest sport and just plain fun.

I would volunteer... What a privilege to be a part of this amazing sport and to have the chance to get so close to the action. Everyone appreciates all of the hard work they do in all weathers and if they didn't love it they wouldn't do it... Thanks to everyone who helps to keep the sport that I love going ❤️🏁🏁🏁

Considering the volume of comments complaining they don’t get paid you don’t hear volunteers complaining. They do it for the love of Motorsport and the chance in some small way to be involved. Not everything has to be about money!

I just don't get it. F1 is a multi million if not billion £ business. So why don't theses fantastic people get paid? Without them there would be no F1. Don't treat people's passion as an excuse to use and not pay them for their very important work. Am I wrong?

Singapore F1 has the greatest staff & so friendly

The very fact that F1 moves so many millions, and there are unpaid volunteers workers sickens me to be honest. Selling people the idea that by volunteering, they are doing good, they have a super opportunity, post their face on social media, making them feel special, and saving yourself the wagesnin the process sickens me.I love watching the races, the tech etc, but F1 shame on you. I'm pretty sure there is no one in the F1 scene short of a few quid, and I'm pretty sure that some of these volunteers would most definitely appreciate the money as well as the chance to work on the circuit. Everything isn't about the money unless your a capitalist company making money off the backs of others. Shame on you f1

For everyone complaining about the free labor. Its VOLUNTEER work not like it's against anyone's will. Secondly volunteer for a race sometime and you will understand the point. I volunteer for the pikes peak hill climb every year. I get to experience a badass event for a little work while others are paying $180+ for the same experience. A little free work is well worth it.

Why are people complaining about money? They are volunteers not slave. I volunteered at the Montreal tennis tournament for over 10 years. Doing office work. I got to watch all the matches for free and got to meet/talk to all kinds of players like Agassi, Graf, Hingis and Federer. It was fun. I’m guessing the people volunteering at the race gets to watch F1 for free and see/hear the cars up close. For any race fan that is just priceless.

It is impossible to not get paid, unless you do work for a non profit organization. I'm very sure the "volunteer" name is just that, a name, I refuse to believe F1 is exploiting human workforce to save some bucks.

I'd bang Yan Ting I'd have her panting #yeahman

I agree...why can’t F1 pay these people. We lost one volunteer due to an accident at the Montreal F1 a few years ago. Is it worth volunteering for nothing and risking your life?

Why does F1 even need volunteers when you are willing to spend endless piles of money on everything else? Props to the people who do it but when you charge 5k for Paddock Club tickets it seems to me you could do with paying all these wonderful people for their work...

Singapore GP is the best one I have been to. Vietnam is next on my list as I have fancied a holiday there for a while but will take me a few years to save enough money.

Why is everyone so outraged that the volunteers don’t get paid? People travel all over the world for some events and this is something they’re willing to do as a hobby/do it in their spare time. I’ve been doing it for a year now and did this years Singapore Grand Prix. I would always volunteer to do this as it is an absolute privilege to be officiating at such an awesome event. The organisers always look after us so well with meals and nice souvenirs. So for those that are outraged by it. Maybe you should come join us sometime.

She speaks pretty well. Of course her accent is really hearable, but her grammar is on a high level!

With the money the sport brings in they should be payed.

Those idiots that run F1 should pay these people, sky and channel 4 pay their team money.. loads I imagine.. probably don’t get even a Christmas box

Do they get paid for their work? because the tickets are very expensive

More on these behind the scenes people they're also very important 😎

Really enjoyed my days in timing and scoring.

That’s amazing! So jealous she gets to work on track !

I wonder why no one sponsors them.🤔. Plenty of space for logos on their overalls. Might earn themselves a few quid too.

Many people asked ...."Why do you still officiate/volunteer? .. Do they pay you? "......If you have to ask, you simply won’t understand

Nice one for a toughest race in F1

👏👏👏for japanese volunteers!!!!!

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13 hrs ago


Check out the new look of the Ducati Team for 2020! 👀 ... See Less

Check out the new look of the Ducati Team for 2020! 👀

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I cant wait to see what the new honda will look like....

Unfortunately in Brazil we will not be able to see this top bike this year, the closed TV channel that was broadcasting did not renew and we ended up staying at a loss !!! Too bad for Moto Gp lovers in Brazil, last year without a super bike and this year without a Moto Gp !!! What the hell!!!

Je ne trouve pas qu il y est de grand changement une écriture en noir a la place du blanc . Ducati fait du Honda . Les couleur de pramac était belle

Killer look! Love it! 😎 great job! It has been the most 'non traditional looking' bike and it's getting more and more different and high tech looking.

Great looking bike, a pity you don't have a rider to exploit its full potential. Jack Miller would fill that requirement perfectly.

Amazing, Ducati fan here but hope we have a good season this year. Im more on, close competition and pushing the skill and other bikes to the limits. That's more exciting keeping my *ss on my couch.

Awesome lookin bikes, Hope their up the pointy end more often but with 43 on the front 🇦🇺

Looks more WSB than Moto gp. Sponsors looking crowded and messy. Also needs more white. Just my opinion but it's a shame as it used to be the best looking bike and the best colour.

A top innovative team with mediocre riders. Always poor rider choices who can win few races but not championship. Give this bike to Bagnaia/Miller and see the magic. The biggest mistake was getting rid of Lorenzo.

Hoping for consistency for top riders and teams this season to challenge the atomic ant!🐜

Look great but I don’t think the 2 of them together can catch. 93

Ducats is under VW motors so it's Germany machine & Italian passion design qual to super straight line speed, hopefully they worked on the cornering speed so well

Looking forward to the Honda v Ducati battle again.Amazing to watch,great TV.

So looking forward to the start of the new season 😁😁

Bikes look amazing...So do the performance....Pity that Ducati doesn't have a championship winning rider...🤕🤕..

It’s the same as last year, the year before, and every other year.

Red and white has become red and black really. I don't like the tail section, it can be more sleeker.

Seems like same old powerfull duacti with heavy body no agility lyk yamaha and straight line speed lyk honda. Remembering 2007 stoners ducati.

Cazzuti quest anno su, la più bella degli ultimi anni

Essas Ducatti estão tops é só esperar o show✊

L avant de lla moto est bien plus affûté

la seule chose visible qui a changé c'est les couleurs du casque de Dovi 😉

Linda che, aunqe para mi nunca superara en el aspecto visual a la gp7 u 8

Bonsoir je voudrais savoir si le Moto GP est toujours diffusé sur Canal+ cette année

Go Dovi all MotoGP fans support you for win MotoGP titles and we so boring watch marq win the boring titles

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15 hrs ago

Dakar Rally

It took a strong showing from Ricky Brabec in a tough race as he became the first American to win the Dakar in the Bike category 🇺🇸

See the very best moments here 🎬


تألق ريكي برابيك خلال رالي داكار ٢٠٢٠ الذي كان مليئا بالتحديات، ليصبح أول سائق أميركي يفوز بفئة الدراجات 🇺🇸

شاهدوا أبرز اللحظات 🎬

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Pleased that organizers are making changes to the 2021 event. The pace was too fast this year resulting in many accidents, injuries and at least one death.

What a great rally! Really enjoyed it, especially watching Ricky finally win it! Also never knew Saudi had such a stunning scenery.

Alot of ups and downs this year but definitely a great year watching from the couch! Want to thank my sponsor lazy boy 🤣

Unbelievable impressions of one of the most fantastic and dramatic Dakars ever! They leave one speechless.

Congrats, Ricky and Team Honda! Great RIDE!!! 👍👍🎉🎊👏👏🎊🎉

Such grueling conditions day after day. The scenery is magnificent. The video production can not be beat. Just spectacle to watch.

Thanks for adding some images of Paulo Gonçalves. We will miss him 🙁

Ça roule fort!!! magnifique 😍

Nice Honda, after 31 years come back with Ricky Brabec,

Great memories of Dakar 2020 Saudi Arabia !! 👍

Love how the presence of the camera gets the front wheel off the ground - hardly ever fails

RIP Paulo.

Wonderful 😎👍😎👍😎👍


Great stuff

GOOD NIGHT. Tank you

Robert Müller

Adam Wilkening

Paulo Gonçalves! ✨👏

Irvin Materne 🤪

Pac Cullen.... amazing vision. These guys are truly tough as nails

Stephanie Costechareyre😍😘

Great year..

Nair Rejudev Dev

Vassily Cassonnet

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