Northern Ireland racer Jack Young kicked off his 2021 racing season with a pair of charging recovery drives at the Slovakia Ring that proved he will be a force to be reckoned with in TCR Europe this year.
Making his first appearance in a Honda Civic Type R TCR for the Brutal Fish Racing Team, the 19-year-old Northern Irishman proved his credentials as one of the best wheel-to-wheel racers in the field and scored useful points in each race at the circuit near Bratislava.
The BRDC Rising Star made an excellent start to proceedings by setting the third-fastest time in the wet in Friday practice; conditions in which car control and confidence are of paramount importance.
Sadly for Jack, this momentum was not carried into qualifying as contact from another car broke his steering before he’d had a chance to set a representative laptime and forced him into the pits for the rest of the session. He therefore qualified 18th for both races.
With a repaired car, the JAS Motorsport Development Driver confidently picked his way through the field in Saturday’s opening race.
Despite the emergence of the safety car early on restricting everyone to just eight green-flag laps of racing, Jack was able to pick his way through to 11th place by the chequered flag.
This was even with the additional handicap of a handling issue; caused when he was hit side-on by another car; an incident that moved a wheel hub out of alignment and affected him for the rest of the race.
He repeated the result on Sunday, becoming embroiled in a four-way fight for 10th place towards the finish and impressively passing two vastly more-experienced rivals on the penultimate lap.
Jack’s pair of points finishes puts him 12th in the Championship and third in the Rookie of the Year Trophy standings, just 10 points off the series lead.
Jack Young said: “The weekend started so well with third place in wet practice, and the car felt good in the dry qualifying too and I’m sure we were on for a top-five spot at the very least, even if Slovakia Ring is a track that suits some of the other cars better than the Honda Civic Type R TCR. The Brutal Fish Racing Team have made me feel so welcome and there were some comparing my relationship with [team-mate] Isidro [Callejas] to the one between Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris in F1! Unfortunately I was hit during qualifying before I’d got a really good lap in and that broke my steering and put me in the pits when I should have been out going faster. That put me 18th on the grid for both races and that was the weekend gone. The team did a fantastic job to fix the car for Race One, but I had a touch on the first lap that damaged the wheel hub and gave me a big vibration. I was 11th in that one, but I felt I hadn’t been aggressive enough, so I got my elbows out a bit more on Sunday and it came out well. The race pace was better and while I still finished 11th, I was closer to the leaders on laptimes and just missed the top 10 by a few tenths. I think Paul Ricard should be a bit better for us because of the tight, twisty sections at either end of the track in which the Honda should excel.”