The TCR Europe field was greeted by extreme heat and therefore an unusual schedule at the Paul Ricard circuit, the former venue of the Formula 1 French Grand Prix. Levente Losonczy, driving for Aggressive Team Italia, took pole position, but the moves didn’t work out for him in the races.
In the previous round at Hungaroring, the championship competed alongside the TCR World Tour in a combined field. However, this time, for the TCR Europe’s third race weekend of the season, they traveled independently to France with a field of fourteen cars. Among them was Losonczy Levente, who will be competing in his third weekend in the series after participating in both Spa and the Hungaroring.
The 20-year-old drove his Hyundai successfully through the first stage of qualifying and finished the second stage in the 10th place, which, according to the championship rules, meant a first grid position for the second reverse grid race of the weekend.
“I went through Q1 all on my own, and my lap there got me through to Q2,” – began the Hungarian Motorsport Academy driver’s evaluation of his qualifying session. – “I had one repair opportunity during the ten minutes of Q2, where I was behind a Hyundai, which I could use as a good reference and also gave me some slipstream.”
“I feel like I drove almost all the way to the limit in that lap, there must have been very little left. In the longest right corner of the track, where the pace was well above 200km/h, I almost lost control, but I managed to save it, and in the end, everything came together nicely in that lap. That’s how I secured the 10th position.”
In the first race on Saturday, Levente started well despite the unusual starting procedure, but later he had some difficulties and finished in the 9th place.
„The Race Control surprised everyone today, because contrary to what is regular in Formula 1 and TCR, the lights on the grid flashed on and off at the same time at the start instead of lightning up one after another. Still, the start wasn’t bad, I even improved a position, and then I drove at a similar pace for 5-6 laps with the group ahead of me. Towards the end of the race, I locked up twice, so I fell slightly behind the others, but the car was super, I drove constant laps throughout the race, which is promising” – said the Aggressive Team Italia driver.
During the weekend, the main focus was on the Sunday race, aiming for the Hyundai to maintain its leading position. Levente had an excellent start and led into the first corner. However, a few corners later, just before the chicane on the Mistral straight, Viktor Davidovski overtook him, causing Levente to drop back to the 2nd place.
However, the Hungarian driver didn’t give up easily. In the last sector, he surprised his opponent and regained the lead, only to fend off Pauwels’ attacks in the finishing straight. The Belgian driver tried to pass him from the outside, then cut across the track in the runoff area. Due to the defensive move, Levente lost his rhythm, and two other drivers passed him. Then, in the chicane of the Mistral straight, he was hit from behind, causing him to slide and lose further positions. In the end, he was classified in the 12th place.
„The start was good, I could accelerate well, but an Audi overtook me on the straight. He made a mistake at the end of Lap 1, so I was able to overtake him back, so I started the second lap in the lead again. At the braking point of the first corner, I positioned myself in such a way that my opponent, who was attacking me from the outside, did not have any space left, and he had to cut the track, and then give back the position. However, this did not happen, and four cars fell on me, and then two cars overtook me. Then, in the chicane, one of the Cupras also pushed me, which made me lose momentum, and more people overtook me, which sealed my race. The car would have been able to keep up with their pace, but I got a slow puncture and had to retire. Unfortunately, it is not possible to compete with the Audis on the straight, they are incredibly fast. I had previously thought that I would have a chance, but I didn’t. As usual, I would like to thank to Aggressive Team Italia, Pepe Oriola, Bálint Hatvani and Fit4Race for their efforts and my father, our partners and the Hungarian Motorsport Academy for their support.”
After the TCR Europe round in France, there is a break in Levente’s season. Next, he will be competing in Monza, in the TCR Italy series, scheduled for September 15-17. Following that, on the following weekend, he will participate in the TCR Europe championship at the same venue, Monza.
Losonczy Levente, TCR Europe Paul Ricard results
Free practice 1: P7
Free practice 2: P13
Qualifying session: P10
Race 1: P9
Race 2: P12
TCR Europe 2023 standings: P15