Belfast racer Jack Young scored a well-deserved Junior Trophy win last weekend as TCR Europe moved on to the world-famous Circuit Paul Ricard in the South of France.
Following a pair of top-10 finishes at the season-opener in Slovakia three weeks earlier, the 19-year-old was boosted by the news of a 20kg weight reduction for his Brutal Fish Racing Team-prepared Honda Civic Type R under TCR’s Balance of Performance (BoP).
With a more playing field assured, Jack arrived at Paul Ricard – the scene of his dominant performances in the 2018 Renault Clio Cup World Finals and the 2019 French Grand Prix support race – in confident mood. His optimism proved well-placed. Tenth in Friday morning practice and eighth in the afternoon gave way to a career-best sixth place on the grid in qualifying for the JAS Motorsport Development Driver.
Despite losing ground at the start and dropping to ninth, the BRDC Rising Star was in a feisty mood and set about using the racecraft he amassed while winning the no-holds-barred Clio Cup UK to move up the order. By half-distance he was sixth and he spent the rest of the race embroiled in a hard-fought battle with series leader Mikel Azcona – which Jack won to finish fifth thanks to a superbly-judged move under braking for the Double-Droite corner.
From fifth on the Race-Two grid, Jack had his sights set on the podium and a superb three-wide move on lap three put him just one spot outside the rostrum positions. Sadly, contact with a rival a few laps later caused significant damage to his Honda’s left-front corner and sadly brought his superb run to an end.
There was still reason to be cheerful, however, as for the first time in TCR Europe, Jack set the fastest lap on Sunday, which stood as the quickest race lap of the weekend.
Jack is third in the Trophy standings and second-best in the rookies points. He also holds 13th spot in the main championship as he prepares to head to Zandvoort, Netherlands for the next round.
Jack Young said: “I’m really pleased about the good things we did on the track at Paul Ricard. My best-ever qualifying result and my first Junior Trophy win are two real positives and something I’m proud of, plus I was the fastest Honda driver in qualifying and both races and got the fastest lap in Race Two. I had some hard, but fair, racing at the end on Saturday with Mikel Azcona. He’s one of the best TCR drivers around so to do that and get past him was really satisfying. Now we’ve done two events I feel both the Brutal Fish Racing Team and myself are learning each other a lot more and working together better. A combination of that and a better BoP for the Civic helped us improve on where we were in Slovakia. There’s some disappointment not to get on the podium in Race Two, but I had some contact with another car and had to retire. If I can avoid incidents like that and improve my starts, there’s no reason we can’t fight at the front at Zandvoort.”