René Münnich has secured the 2019 TCR Middle East Series Drivers’ Championship with victory in the season finale at the Dubai Autodrome.
The ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport team owner positioned himself for title glory with a win in the opening race earlier this afternoon, his fifth of an impressive season. The victory aboard the #77 Honda Civic FK7 TCR, from the back of the reverse grid, also nets the 2012 FIA GT1 World Champions the Teams’ title.
In winning the TCR Middle East Series, Münnichemulates former champions Josh Files and fellow German, Luca Engstler. He is also the first series titleholder to win races at every round during the course of the season.
“It’s a wonderful feeling!” the new champion explained to CREVENTIC. “It’s great to win the title, we’ve had a lot of fun, and I’m a little disappointed it’s all over. But I really enjoyed this season, and hopefully we’ll be back next time.
“We’ve also found out a lot about the Honda during the races, and worked a lot on setup. That’s going to be very helpful for this year’s WTCR [World Touring Car Cup]. I’m very happy with our progress.”
Red Camel-Jordans.nl’s Luc Breukers completed a successful maiden campaign at the wheel of the #101 CUPRA TCR with his sixth successive podium finish, securing the young Dutchman the runners-up spot in the 2019 TCR Middle East Series. Despite holding off eventual race victor René Münnich during the opening stages, an engine issue meant Breukers would be forced to drop back as the race progressed.
“The start was probably the best of my life, and I flew past the two Zengő cars,” said Breukers. “Unfortunately the engine held back so I had to turn off the traction control. The problem was solved, but that did cost me a few seconds per lap.”
Breukers will be back in action for the final round of the 24H MIDDLE EAST CHAMPIONSHIP this afternoon around the 5.39km Dubai Autodrome, an event the Red Camel-Jordans.nl driver feels will aid his development more than conventional testing in Europe.
“I would say this is better than testing. The temperature is great, it’s not so busy, and it’s good way to stay in form over the winter. Plus, you can learn a lot on-track from someone like René who has so much experience. You can’t really get that in testing.”
The final podium spot eventually went to Zoltán Zengőin the#8 Zengő Motorsport’s CUPRA TCR, a result that secured the Hungarian driver 3rd in the Drivers’ Championship. The team principal finished just ahead of teammate Tamás Tenkein the sister #10 entry, and while both cars eventually pulled into the pits shortly before the end of the race, Zengő assured CREVENTIC that this decision was made with the bigger picture in-mind.
“We were very comfortable in terms of pace, but this was the final race of the sprint category. We didn’t want to push the car too much ahead of this afternoon’s endurance race. The championship is very close, and we want to win.”
With the sprint race titles now decided, drivers and teams will now compete in the Hankook 4H DUBAI to confirm the Endurance champions. The green flag will be flown at the Dubai Autodrome this afternoon at 14.35 hrs local time and the race will continue uninterrupted through to 18.35 hr local time. Live timing of the races will be available on http://tcr-series.tv/. Further information about the TCR Middle East Series, including championship standings and race results, can be found at http://middleeast.tcr-series.com