Ben Bargwanna wins TCR Europe Rookie Trophy in Portimao
Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series driver Ben Bargwanna has won the TCR Europe Rookie Trophy after just missing the top 10 in the second race of the Kumho TCR World Tour at Portimao.
Bargwanna stood on the podium alongside TCR Europe race winner Tom Coronel after winning the Rookie Trophy for his performance of 12th overall in Race 2 at Portimao, Portugal.
The Kumho TCR World Tour ran its first round alongside TCR Europe and the second event of the weekend was dominated by Cyan Racing as its Lynk & Co 03 TCRs held the top two spots on the road as Santiago Urrutia took victory from Thed Bjork.
In an extended 14-lap race due to the safety car being deployed twice, the recently updated Lynk & Co 03 TCRs led a pack of Audis until BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse driver and reigning world champion Mikael Azcona moved through to fourth by the end behind Comtoyou Racing’s Frederic Vervisch.
An opening lap incident involving Nestor Girolami in the sole ALM Motorsport Honda Civic Type R FL5 TCR, Dusan Borkovic’s Target Motorsport Hyundai Elantra N TCR and the Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR of Kobe Pauwels resulted in all three retiring.
Once the race restarted, Girolami had returned to the circuit until the front suspension failed leaving the ALM Motorsport Honda Civic Type R FL5 TCR stranded just off line and the race re-entered the control of the safety car.
Bargwanna made a great start and held 14th for the early part as he took advantage of incidents in front to quickly move to 13th as a post-race penalty was handed to Felipe Fernandez for contact in the RC2 Racing Team Audi and he moved a further position.
This result gave Bargwanna the TCR Europe Rookie Trophy and builds confidence heading to Phillip Island for Round 2 of the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series.
“Sunday’s race, oh my god!” Bargwanna reacted.
“What a race. What a turnaround from yesterday. It’s been incredible and I can’t thank Team Clairet Sport enough.
“I came home top rookie and 12th outright from 19th on the grid. I’m so stoked, over the moon I can’t stop smiling.
“It’s been a whirlwind of emotions this weekend, but it has been one of the best of my life. I’m so happy, I can’t thank the Clairets, my parents and sponsors enough, it’s been incredible and I’m seriously so stoked.
“I’m covered in champagne, I’ve got a trophy and it’s not what I expected to be coming home with, but I’m so happy.
“We get to do it again at Spa and I just can’t wait to return to Europe.”
Bargwanna continues his Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series campaign at Phillip Island as part of the Shannons SpeedSeries on May 12-14, before heading back to contest Round 2 of the Kumho TCR World Tour at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium two weeks later.