i30 N TCR driver Antti Buri and Target Competition take TCR Italy title double
- i30 N TCR driver Antti Buri won the TCR Italy drivers’ title after driving to second from eighth on the grid in the season finale at Mugello
- Buri was one of three Hyundai customers among the five drivers who arrived at the last weekend of the campaign with a chance of taking championship honours
- Together with teammate, and fellow title contender, Nicola Baldan, Buri’s performance secured the teams’ title for Target Competition.
i30 N TCR driver Antti Buri secured the TCR Italy from a nail-biting finale weekend at Mugello, which began with three Hyundai customers among five drivers contending for the title.
The identity of the champion was not finally decided until the very last laps of the season as Buri, aboard his Target Competition-run entry moved up the order to finish second and hold off the challenge from race winner Kevin Ceccon. The victory bought Ceccon’s 2021 tally to a season-best four in his first season with the i30 N TCR and Team Aggressive. At the chequered flag only a single point split he and Buri in favour of the Finn.
In the second Target Competition-run car Nicola Baldan claimed fourth in the standings. He had started the final weekend leading the championship. However, with dropped scores factored in after Race 1 in Mugello he fell to fourth. His impressive record of finishing at no lower than sixth during the season was only broken by a retirement in the final race of 2021.
In his first season in TCR Italy, after claiming the TCR Germany title with the i30 N TCR in 2020, Buri enjoyed a similarly consistent campaign. Podiums in half of the first 10 races of the year – including a single win at Misano was more than enough to keep him as part of the title battle, and a timely lights-to-flag victory to the final weekend of action gave him advantage he was able to protect in Race 2, despite having to battle up from eighth on the partially reversed grid.
The combination of Buri and Baldan’s points also delivered the teams’ title for the Target Competition squad. The success added to their own list of honours as Hyundai customers, having won the teams’ title in TCR Europe in 2019.
As well as the trio of Hyundai drivers who concluded the battle for the title there were strong results for several other i30 N TCR customers in a season where a total of eleven different drivers made at least one start with Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing built-equipment.
Macedonian driver Igor Stefanovski starred in the first trip to Imola, following Ceccon home for a Hyundai i30 N TCR 1-2. On the series’ return to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix venue it was Dušan Kouřil Jr. who came away with season-best result of fourth in Race 1. The same weekend saw Eric Brigliadori swap into a Hyundai for one weekend – being a regular with another manufacturer. His weekend with the i30 N TCR delivered two top-ten finishes including a startling drive from 20th to fourth in Race 2.
The result would help make Brigliadori one of the driver capable of taking the title, but he would drop out of contention after Race 1, leaving the three i30 N TCR drivers among four competing until the very last minute for the chance to lift the trophy.
In winning titles in two different TCR series with the i30 N TCR Buri joins FIA WTCR Luca Engstler, the German having won TCR Asia and TCR Malaysia titles before his graduation to the world level.
Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Manager Andrew Johns said: “One of the keys to a successful Customer Racing program is that any driver or team should be able to get the best from a car. In having so many drivers and teams not only competing in TCR Italy during this season, but doing so as successfully as they have is a clear indication of the performance of the i30 N TCR. To have three customers in contention for a title for a final weekend is an enviable position for any manufacturer to be in, and to come away from Mugello with the 1-2 in both the drivers’ and teams’ championship really underlines the strengths of our customers and their drivers over the length of the season.”
2021 TCR Italy Drivers’ Standings
After 12 races
2021 TCR Italy Teams’ Standings
After 12 races
|3||Scuderia del Girasole||328|
|5||ALM Honda Racing||218|