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i30 N TCR takes pole position and TCR Europe Trophy race win

Driver Gabriele Tarquini steered the i30 N TCR to a great victory for Hyundai Motorsport at Adria International Raceway. Discover the race highlights here.

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i30 N TCR takes pole position and TCR Europe Trophy race win

In October the i30 N TCR scored a sensational victory in the final race of the TCR Europe Trophy at Adria International Raceway.

Driver Gabriele Tarquini also provided the i30 N TCR with its first ever pole position, after setting the best time in qualifying. The incredible performance came despite the extreme Balance of Performance given to the car, making it by far the heaviest in the field.

FAST COMBINATION

A sensational Race 2 victory, from 10th on the grid, provided a fitting climax to another strong weekend for the Hyundai i30 N TCR. Represented at the circuit by a single car, Hyundai Motorsport travelled to the event to continue to show the performance of the i30 N TCR around the world. Though entered under temporary homologation the car at the circuit was running to the same specification being offered to customer teams for the 2018 season.

Driver Gabriele Tarquini and the car, the first Hyundai Motorsport built chassis to be designed for circuit racing, were among the fastest combinations throughout the weekend. Making its debut on Yokohama tyres, the i30 N TCR narrowly set the second fastest time in the opening practice session, with the Italian then able to head the final running before qualifying.

REMARKABLE PERFORMANCE

The pace was all the more remarkable given the extreme Balance of Performance (BoP) forced upon the i30 N TCR. As it finished its maiden TCR International Series rounds earlier this month the car was carrying 40kg of ballast, with engine power and turbo boost restricted to 95% of full power. This proved to a be a serious disadvantage at the 2.7km Adria circuit, which demands heavy braking into, and strong acceleration out of, numerous slow corners where the extra weight is most noticeable.

Despite this considerable burden, Tarquini was able to claim the first ever pole position for the i30 N TCR. The experienced Italian was fastest in both first and the decisive second part of qualifying. The only man capable of going below the 1:20 barrier in Q1, Tarquini took a further six-tenths of a second off his own benchmark in Q2 to record a best lap of 1:19.341.

In the opening race Tarquini was in the middle of a fierce battle for the lead. Pushed back into second from the start, the acceleration off the line another area hampered by the BoP restrictions, Tarquini was able to match, and even eclipse the lap time of those around him, setting the fastest lap in his pursuit of the lead. However, on a tight track where overtaking proved to be challenging, he was unable to find the right opportunity, finishing second to Josh Files.

The second race promised a different challenge, with the top-10 from qualifying reversed to put Tarquini and the i30 N TCR on the fifth row of the grid. However, at the centre of an action-packed encounter, the performance of the i30 N TCR allowed Tarquini to charge up the field, at one point passing three cars in a single move. Taking the lead just after the half-way point of the 25-minute race, Tarquini went on to claim an incredible victory to continue the i30 N TCR’s superb record on the track.

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WINNING REACTIONS

“This was a very tough weekend, but it makes the result more impressive … To be able to take pole position, a second and then a victory from 10th on the grid proves what a special package the i30 N TCR is,” said Gabriele Tarquini.

“Our customers can clearly see how competitive the i30 N TCR is in the TCR category, with the car at Adria running very close to the final specification we are offering to customers,” said Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Manager, Andrea Adamo.

The i30 N has also received rave reviews elsewhere, with motormag.com.au calling it a “more youthful alternative to the Golf GTI”, with “enough front end to put it right in the mix with its Golf GTI- and Focus ST-badged rivals”.

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