On his TCR Europe debut at Le Castellet, Reece Barr did a fantastic job to put his Target run Hyundai i30N on P6 for Race 1 and started P4 for race 2. For both races he was surrounded by a number of TCR Champions with a full grid of 26 cars. Reece said before race one “I was really happy with my pace in Friday’s Free Practice – I’m confident I have the right car and I’m really happy to be part of the Target TCR experience”. The teenager from Donegal now based in the U.K. (Silverstone) as part of the Andy Priaulx Driver Development Programme set the initial pace in FP until he was pipped in the final practice laps by Azcona – an excellent start to his TCR campaign.
Saturday 5th May Race 1 – Race 1 saw Reece get a good start with some wheelspin off the line which allowed experienced JK Varney through into the first corner just behind double German Champion Josh Files. As the race progressed with Richard, Paulsen and Stefanovski close behind, Reece went for a pass on Varney which allowed Richard and Paulsen through; and was then sandwiched between Paulsen and Stefanovsk. Unfazed, he moved ahead of Vernay and Paulsen again when the two made contact on the last corner. In the final laps Reece closed on Richard with Stefanovski, Vernay and Paulsen in close tow and on the penultimate lap with his team mate Richard on a wide line hassling a defending Files allowed Reece to seize the opportunity for a pass on Richard and avoid the slip from the three experienced drivers behind to finish an impressive P5, just behind Josh Files.
The podium saw Reece’s team mate Borkovic take the top step with fellow Hyundai driver Nagy taking 2nd and Cupra driver Azcona 3rd.
After the race Reece commented; “I was really happy with my performance today and the car was really good through the entire race; huge thanks to my team and sponsors for their support and we certainly have a few key ‘take aways’ from this race”.
Sunday 6th May Race 2 – As the cars moved to the pre-race grid on slicks, the rain drops started and for the start the track was damp; Reece managed another good start with some wheelspin on the wet track only loosing out to Files into the first corner but struggling to find any grip, he slipped back to P11 just before the race was red flagged on the fourth lap due to a big shunt by Stefanovski. Following a short interval, the second phase of race two restarted behind the safety car. With Reece on a mix of slick and wet tyres on a drying track, his pace was well down on the frontrunning cars all on full slicks. With two laps to go the #8 Hyundai got hit hard on the front wheel by Baldan’s Hyundai which broke the driveshaft forcing Reece to retire, ultimately being classified in 16th.
The podium saw Reece’s team mate Borkovic take his second top step of the weekend with Audi driver Vernay taking 2nd with Hyundai driver Nagy taking 3rd.
After the race Reece commented; ‘It was fun out there on slicks but I just couldn’t find any grip and when I saw Igor on the side I was happy to see the red flag; on the restart we went for a slick – wet tyre mix and on the safety car lap the sunshine returned so my pace was well down on the front cars who all opted for full slicks! My wrong tyre call was compounded a few laps from the end with heavy contact from another car which broke my drive forcing me to pull in; again a massive thanks to my car crew for all their hard work over the weekend and I’m really looking forward to round two at Zandvoort’
Reece made his car racing debut last year in the very competitive JCW Mini championship in the UK. He finished second in the 2.0litre turbo single-make championship; and considered Carrera Cup as the next step but opted over the winter to go with the cutting edge of Touring Cars and the new TCR Europe Championship is certainly a great option for the committed teenager who was appointed as a BRDC Rising Star earlier this year.