TCR / 08 May 2023
First global win for new Honda Civic Type R TCR
History was made last weekend as the all-new Honda Civic Type R TCR, designed and built by JAS Motorsport, scored its first global race victory thanks to MM Motorsport driver Niels Langeveld's dominant performance in TCR Italy at Misano.
Reigning champion Langeveld had scored a podium finish with the all-new car - built at JAS's Arluno headquarters in Milan - at Imola two weeks earlier and qualified third at Misano.
But the Dutchman was unstoppable on Saturday; moving into second at the first turn and taking just five more corners to sweep into a lead he would not lose.
It was his first win for MM and gave the new Civic a maiden victory in only its fourth race event - and less than a month since its global debut.
Langeveld added third place on Sunday to climb to third in the standings while team-mates Paolo Rocca and Horia Chirigut took best results of second in the Under-25s division and sixth in the Masters' category respectively; Rocca now leading the U25 points.
Reigning U25 champion Ruben Volt won the class on Saturday in his FK7 Civic with team-mate and fellow JAS Driver Development Programme graduate Mattias Vahtel making it a one-two finish in the class for ALM Motorsport.
But both were eliminated in separate incidents on Sunday; as was team-mate Antti Rammo - whose Saturday was also undone by an incident.
Baltic Touring Car Championship
While ALM were busy running three cars in Italy, they were also in action on home ground in Estonia as the BATCC kicked off at Parnu.
Long-time ALM racer Peeter Peek – who focused on racing the Civic Type R TCR in the Baltic Endurance Championship in 2022 – was in action in the two sprint races that made up the BATCC event.
Not only did he top the TCR category in qualifying, but he also won both races to begin the year in perfect fashion.
Restart Racing duo Chris Smiley and Scott Sumpton produced excellent fightback drives as the series continued at Croft.
Smiley, who gave the FL5 Civic a debut podium at Snetterton after winning last year's title in an FK7 model, qualified fifth and was running third in the opening race when an electronic issue put him out.
A technical issue also sent the FK7 of new JAS Development Driver Sumpton out of contention and ensured both drivers started Race Two from the back of the grid.
But both showed immense determination to finish ninth and 12th.