Belfast’s Jack Young had a difficult second weekend in the TCR Europe Touring Car Series in France, despite an exceptional start three weeks ago where he won the opening race, and initially led the drivers’ championship in Portugal.
Heading to the Circuit Paul Ricard on maximum ballast as a result of his performance at Portimao, Jack showed strong pace in practice, and followed that up with a respectable sixth-place in qualifying on Saturday morning, the fastest of the five Honda Civic runners in the race, even with the 40kg of ballast on board.
Jack was running capably in sixth, fighting off last year’s South American series champion Pepe Oriola’s car, with a marvellous display of defensive driving to hold station, until disaster struck at the end of the race, while exiting the final corner with one lap to go, Jack’s car suffered a rear puncture and was forced to stop on track.
The team also had to change the engine overnight, which put him to the back of the grid for the second race on Sunday morning, but Jack was able to work his way up to 13th place and salvage some key points (with points awarded down to 15th), in order to ensure his French trip wasn’t a complete disaster.
With a weight reduction scheduled for the next round at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, Jack will be hoping all his season’s bad luck all happened in France, and he can get his championship challenge back on track at the iconic Belgian circuit.
Jack Young said: “It’s been a challenging weekend. I’m happy that we were able to score some points at the end. Hopefully that’s our bad one for the year out of the way. It was good to show that we had pace in practice and qualifying, even carrying maximum ballast, but it was just unfortunate to get a puncture on the final lap and end up with a DNF so early in the season. Then we needed to change the engine which put me at the back for the final race, so it was then all about damage limitation, and hoping a few others would drop out of the race, but that didn’t happen. I’m focussing on the next rounds now, we know we were quick at Spa-Francorchamps last year, so hopefully the next round will be a lot better for us.”