Sébastien Loeb Racing claim TCR Europe teams' crown with Elantra N TCR
- Elantra N TCR squad Sébastien Loeb Racing secure the TCR Europe Teams’ Championship in their first season as a Hyundai Motorsport customer
- Sami Taoufik’s podium in Race 1 of the series’ finale weekend in Barcelona helped clinch the title in style before the team closed the season by placing two cars in the top four in Race 2
- Elantra N TCR drivers scored a podium at six of the seven tracks visited during the season, while Czech team Janík Motorsport collected two podiums with their pair of i30 N TCR.
In their first season as Hyundai Motorsport customers with the Elantra N TCR Sébastien Loeb Racing have clinched the teams’ title in TCR Europe after an excellent year in the championship.
The combination of Sami Taoufik’s podium and Niels Langeveld’s sixth in the penultimate race of the season finale at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya confirmed the title. A superb team result in Race 2 – Mehdi Bennani taking second ahead of Langeveld in fourth. The finale put a strong exclamation point on the consistency that had been critical to the success of the French outfit’s first season running with Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing-built machinery.
Throughout the season the team’s four-driver line-up has performed well, proving the performance of the new-for-2021 Elantra N TCR.
This began from the very first weekend of the season at the Slovakia Ring. Langeveld announced the Elantra N TCR’s debut in the series by springing from outside of the top ten to finish fourth – a position he would claim a total of five times to help him to third in the drivers’ championship.
Fifth in the final standings would go to Bennani, who claimed a superb lights-to-flag win in Race 2 in Slovakia. Italian Felice Jelmini – stepping up to TCR Europe after a race-winning 2020 campaign with the i30 N TCR in TCR Italy – and Taoufik would only have to wait until the second racing weekend to collect their own first podiums at the Paul Ricard circuit in France.
Langeveld would finally breakthrough at his home weekend at Zandvoort with a second place. The all-round performance of the team had established them at the top of the standings – where points are awarded based on each squad’s two best finishing drivers. As such they received a huge boost from the weekend at Spa-Francorchamps. Jelmini, on pole, and Bennani, gave them a maximum haul of points from qualifying, before both men stood on the podium as the team stretched their advantage.
Race 2 at Spa saw a remarkable performance from Maťo Homola in one of the Janík Motorsport-run i30 N TCR. Gambling on slick tyres for a race which started on a slightly damp track, Homola was able to cut through the pack with increasing ease to finish second. The trip to the podium capped a strong week for the Czech team and the Slovakian driver, and proved to be the first of a run of strong finishes over the next events.
Nürburgring proved to be the highlight of the year for Customer Racing Junior Driver Jachym Galáš. Rewarded for progressing through to Q2 for the first time in his debut TCR Europe season he finished fifth in Race 2, winning the Rookie class in the process, after spending the entire race competing against more experienced drivers, including Langeveld who finished just one place ahead.
The team’s improving fortunes reached a crescendo at Monza. Both Homola and Galáš qualified in the top-12 at a circuit where top speed is crucial, with Homola going onto claim a fantastic Race 2 win.
The season closed with another consistent weekend for Sébastien Loeb Racing’s drivers – the pair of final weekend podiums bringing their combined tally to nine over the course of the year. At least one Elantra N TCR driver scored a top-three finish at six of the seven circuits visited during the campaign, once more proving the all-round capabilities of the car in its first racing season.
Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Manager Andrew Johns said: “The TCR category is incredibly competitive, and TCR Europe one of the hardest fought series. For Sébastien Loeb Racing to come in for their first year as a Hyundai Motorsport customer, and with the brand new Elantra N TCR and take the teams’ championship is richly deserved and a huge achievement on multiple levels. Through the season the car has shown excellent pace on every track, with podiums from six out of seven weekends as the clear proof. Of course it is impossible to ignore the performance of Janík Motorsport and their drivers, with the team making the step up to TCR Europe and scoring a win with the i30 N TCR.”
2021 TCR Europe Teams’ Standings
After 14 races
|1||Sébastien Loeb Racing||759|
|4||Team Clairet Sport||542|
|5||PSS Racing Team||484|
2021 TCR Europe Drivers’ Standings
After 14 races