Touring Pro Series Weekly takes a closer look at the TPS action from across the site with driver interviews, race reports, admin announcements, and even trivia. This week, World Touring Masters steals the headline with a round 6 for the ages. Read how a four-way battle for the lead ends up, and can Toby Davis keep his championship lead from Jesper Taulborg?
Section A WTM: Fight for the Lead!
No one envisions high-noon at 8 o’clock on a Wednesday night. But in World Touring Masters this past week, the atmosphere was buzzing with an impending western-style showdown between Jesper Taulborg and Toby Davis. The gap between the pair was only 9 points for the championship lead. And through qualifying, the question was which of the two would draw first and claim pole position.
Despite his car’s lumbering nature, Taulborg took pole by less than a tenth of a second over Davis, with Chris Butcher capturing 3rd, William Leveqsue on 4th, and Florian Strauss taking 5th.
With the Dane on pole, Toby’s already marginal lead in the title fight had already decreased, so the pressure was on for him to get passed Taulborg in the opening stages of the race. As the lights went green, Toby did exactly that, storming passed Jesper in what could only be described as a lethargic start by the Dane.
Fan favorite Chris Butcher, or “Butchie”, fell in behind Davis, and even Vladislav Burlaka came through to pass the ailing Taulborg.
The first laps of the race then became a pressure-cooker, as the top four drivers fought to hold their positions against attackers, whilst still trying to perform an overtake on the car in front. Chris Butcher tried desperately to squeeze by Davis, as it became obvious Chris was the fastest man on track early on. Meanwhile, Burlaka had an amazing start and was catching up to Butcher with each failed attempt to pass Davis. Stalking behind the Ukrainian was Taulborg, inching ever classer to Burlaka.
The fight for the lead became so intense that fans questioned whether or not all four drivers would make it to the end.
At last Taulborg had made an overtake, snatching up 3rd position from Burlaka, who seemed content with backing off and waiting for an opportunity to arise later.
Knowing Taulborg was through, Butcher picked up his efforts on his friend Davis, but Toby wouldn’t give way. The duo made for some unbelievable side-by-side moments, which gave the spectators a good bit of cheer.
Unfortunately, Taulborg had caught Butcher, and the two had a run-in that sent Butcher into the wall, where he incurred some damage to the front of his car. Jesper allowed Chris to retake his position and Butcher was able to continue on.
Toby Davis then had the gap he needed to seal the deal. In the end, Taulborg got around Butcher to take 2nd, and Butchie rounded out the podium to take 3rd.
The gap now stands at 17 points for Toby Davis. The championship still has two rounds remaining, leaving the fight for the WTM season 3 crown anything but over. Heading into Potrero for round 7 though, Taulborg will be at severe disadvantage in his Holden Commodore, as it will be a wet race, marking the first such occasion in WTM history.
For coverage of round 7 at Potrero De Los Funes, make sure to tune in at 20:00GMT on Wednesday the 8th for the live broadcast.
___________________________________________ Section B Lauritzen Suspended
Following a RaceDepartment club event a week ago, where ATCC championship hopeful Alexander Lauritzen took part, the Dane has had his license suspended by TPS officials. Apparently the young Lauritzen had some on-track misbehavior in the club event, which resulted in RaceDepartment staff taking exception to his driving. RD subsequently levied a one-month suspension on Alexander Lauritzen’s license, effective across all RD leagues, club events, and supported leagues. The decision to suspend Lauritzen will all but end the Dane’s chances of winning his first ATCC title.
ATCC Commissioner Keith Barrick met with Lauritzen to inform him of the decision, a meeting later described as “…very heartfelt and emotional,” where the young Lauritzen begged the Commissioner to appeal RD’s decision. “He was very sad [Lauritzen],” Keith tells us. But Barrick was unwilling to overturn any RD decision, saying, “It’s a sign of good faith that we bite the bullet on this one. RD has been good to us and we try to fall in line where we can.”
The move comes as a shock to a lot of the ATCC drivers. And now the server 1 field losses yet another of its top competitors. This only sets the slate for another Taulborg/Villar/Barrick scrum for the title. We caught up with Bon Accord Ultimate team owner and ATCC big-shot Willie Watt to get his thoughts. “It’s always disappointing to lose a top 3 driver… But with Alexander’s suspension, it opens up the front of the field a little and I expect that BAU’s [Bon Accord Ultimate] server 1 drivers will be able to take advantage of that.” Willie goes on to add, when talking about Alexander’s BMW, “I would have expected the BAU drivers to reel in the BMW’s at the next couple of venues anyway, but the loss of one from the front of the championship is a very welcomed boost for BAU.”
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ntact his teammate Yuri Braham for a word, but we were stonewalled by the Dutchman’s agent.
Lauritzen’s suspensions ends just in time for round 5 at Laguna Seca, where we expect to see Alexander back in action. And although his championship hopes have been doused, a return to server 1 is still very much a possibility…
Section C ATCC Round 2
American Touring Car Championship was back underway this past Friday at Watkins Glen GP. With the two top drivers from pre-quali in Stoffel Vandoorne and Alexander Lauritzen out of server 1, the question was who would step up to fill the void at the front of the field. Well, the Portuguese wasted no time on that issue, as Miguel Neto took pole position by recording the first ever sub 52 in ATCC history, beating last year’s pole time by a remarkable 6 tenths of a second. Second was Francesco Villar, with third belonging to Keith Barrick.
But none would challenge Neto, who slipped away with the race 1 win. In race 2, Andre Caiado shocked the ATCC world by taking his first ever ATCC and TPS victory after pulling off an overtake against Hugo Goncalves in the opening stages of the race.
In the post-race press conference, Kane Lasky talked about his incident with teammate Vincant Kan, and said he was very sorry for the whole situation. But commentator Toby Davis hammered away at the American until Lasky admitted, “Risking so much for 2 points maybe wasn’t such a good idea…” TPS officials are currently looking into the matter, but Vincant Kan’s epic fall through the field on the final lap of race 1 is garnering a lot of attention from the series’ fans, and some are asking for a severe penalty to be issued to Lasky.
For more on the event, look out for Rhys Gardiner’s Race Report, available sometime next week.
Section D Degreef Hanging Up the Wheel?
After an exhilarating round 6 of the WTM championship, shocking news broke as to why Gregery Degreef wasn’t on the grid. The Belgian said, “…I will drop out of the league,” and that, “I had a lot of fun…but I have no motivation anymore…” which has sent fans and media personnel into a frenzy about what Degreef means by this ominous statement. Some have said Degreef is done with simracing altogether, others have speculated we’ve seen the last of the Belgian in TPS, while others still persist that Degreef is only taking a marginal break. Whatever the case, the future of the greatest champion in TPS history is in question.
Has Degreef been outclassed by the TPS drivers of the future, such as Taulborg, Davis, and Strauss? Or does Degreef simply have no more motivation, as he has said in his statement? Leave a comment below expressing your thoughts!
Section E TPS History—Legendary Moments
He was down… he was defeated. Everyone had forgotten his name and the ten count had started. But Florian Strauss wasn’t out, not by his standards. In the 2011 World V8 Supercars Championship, Strauss showed everyone that the key ingredient in winning any title is determination. After a string of unfortunate races, the German was all but knocked out of the championship battle. But due to an uncompromising will to never give up, everything changed, and Strauss began his run that would later see him crowned the WV8 2011 champion. See the now legendary TPS video that Strauss created after his crowning achievement…
TPS Historical Moment #2—Strong as Strauss
Section F Question of the Week (2)
Which of these tracks is most commonly featured for series finale races in Touring Pro Series?
1. Nurburgring GP
3. Donington Park
Answer revealed in next week’s issue!
Question of the week (1) answer
Last week’s question was which pair of drivers had competed in everyone ATCC race over its 4 seasons.
1.Vincent Kan & Yuri Braham
2.Bram Hengeveld & Xose Estrada
3.Keith Barrick & Eric Nelson
4.Michael Carver & Keith Barrick
For those that answered 4, you have earned yourself a virtual pat on the back by TPS, because you’re right!
Section G History Buff?
Like history? Do you like TPS? Well, help out the TPS Weekly Staff and submit your historical TPS moments to us! Who knows, maybe your moment will end up making TPS Weekly!
Section H TouringProSeries.com
After only being opened for 1 week, the TPS website has already seen over 600 unique visitors. Meanwhile, the viewership numbers from last week’s live broadcasts are in, and 258 people tuned in to watch WTM at Lusitana while 257 watched ATCC on Friday night. So make sure to mark your calendars and grab your popcorn, because every TPS broadcast is handled with the utmost care and professionalism. And don’t forget to check around the TPS website for useful information and statistics about your favorite leagues!
___________________________________________ Section I Hall of Famer
Are you a fan of Jesper Taulborg? What about Vincant Kan? Peter Duivelaar, anyone? Well, head over to Touring Pro Series’ very own Hall of Fame page and see how your favorite drivers stack up against the rest of the field!