Michael Hurczyn recovered from near disaster on the opening lap to claim his first-ever TC America TCR victory in a dramatic Saturday race on the streets of St. Petersburg.
The FCP Euro driver won from pole in his Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, but it was far from a straightforward triumph after a clash with teammate Nate Vincent dropped him to the back of the TCR class battle.
Vincent, who started alongside Hurczyn after FCP Euro scored a 1-2 in qualifying, made a fantastic start and was all over the back of the sister Volkswagen until he tapped his teammate, sending him wide as the pair raced into the final right-hander at the end of the first lap.
Hurczyn’s moment promoted Vincent into the lead with James Walker Jr. Risi Competizione Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR in tow. Hurczyn recover quickly, though, and charged right back through the TCR pack, working his way past Walker exiting Turn 10 and then getting back his lead when Vincent was called to serve a drive-through penalty for the early contact.
Hurczyn still had work to do as Walker narrowed the gap in the final stages. But the FCP Euro driver held on to take his first TCR victory which was also a first win for the Connecticut-based team.
The win moves Hurczyn to the top of the drivers’ championship after three races.
Having served his penalty, Vincent rallied to set the fastest lap of the race, but ran out of time and came up just short of catching TCR Cup winner Bryan Putt, who held on to third and a spot on the podium by 0.386s.
Putt reeled off a series of quick laps in his e.europarts.com ROWE Racing Audi RS 3 LMS TCR to keep Vincent at bay in the final laps and earn his first overall top-three finish.
Completing the podium in TCR Cup were the Audis of Jay Salinsky (RS Werkes) and Michael McCann Jr. (McCann Racing) who finished ahead of the Alphasonic Motorsports Audi pairing of Nelson Chan and Alain Lauziere.
Eric Powell’s dominant run in the TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ tS gave him top honors in the invitational TCA class, with Mike Ogren second and Kevin Anderson third.
TC America race 2 gets underway tomorrow at 4:40 p.m., with live coverage available at World-Challenge.com.