Belfast’s Jack Young put on two of his greatest displays of the season in the TCR Europe series races at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza this weekend, fighting his way forward from the back of the grid, effectively three times, to battle back to the points after disaster struck during qualifying.
Jack started the weekend perfectly, setting the fastest time in the two free practice sessions on Friday, and so he and his Halder Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR looked set for a very strong weekend at the home track for the Honda Civic TCR, which is built by Italian touring car powerhouse JAS Motorsport in nearby Arluno.
Unfortunately, the first setback hit on Friday, as the team were forced to change his engine, which earned him an automatic back-of-the-grid penalty for Saturday’s first race. Then in qualifying, a broken steering arm meant even setting a time to get a competitive grid position for Race 2 was out – and Jack would be forced to start the two races from 25th and 20th respectively.
On Saturday, the rain arrived at the Italian circuit, and the Northern Irish driver revelled in the conditions, making his way past 15 cars on to be in the top ten by the end of just the second lap. Jack was continuing to pick his way through the order before a mid-race safety car closed up the field, which now meant a podium, and maybe even a victory from last place was a realistic prospect. Sadly, a competitor spun Jack around at Variante del Rettifilo at the restart, and he dropped from seventh back to 20th position. Undeterred, Jack stormed back through the field to finish the race in 11th position, effectively completing 27 overtakes at this point, and adding nine points to his championship tally. Jack also achieved the fastest lap of the race of 2:11.773, 1.4 seconds faster than the next quickest competitor.
In the second race on Sunday, the weather conditions were now completely dry, but Jack still made quick progress, battling his way through the field from his 20th place grid spot. The Honda driver was battling a pair of cars for fifth position with two laps to go when the race was red-flagged following a high-speed crash by another competitor – missing out on another opportunity to turn a bad grid position into a fairytale podium, and instead had to settle for seventh. Nevertheless, Jack and the Halder Motorsport team hail the Monza weekend as one of the best of the season, matching almost the 1-2 result Jack led at Portimão earlier in the year.
Jack Young said:
“This weekend was full of ups and downs. It was unfortunate events got dropped on us, like the engine grid penalty, and then being hit by another competitor in Race 1. Despite all these issues, I’m pleased I was able to show my true pace to everyone this weekend. To have passed 40 cars in two races is an insane achievement, and one which I’m very proud of. It was also the best all-round weekend for the Halder Motorsport team, and the passion and drive from everyone at the team and JAS Motorsport still makes every weekend enjoyable – and the pace of the cars this weekend just adds to this. I’m now very eager to go racing next month in Barcelona, where hopefully we can end the year with some more results deserving of the car and the team.”
NEXT ROUND: BARCELONA (ES) – OCT 14-16