With a pause for most of the main international categories this weekend there will be more time for Touringcar racing with TCR Italy, TCR Russia and TCR Eastern Europe all on track, while the DTM returns for the second round of the season at the Lausitzring and Formula Regional Championship races at Spa.
Rally di Roma Capitale for the ERC completes the program of the weekend.
DTM at Lausitzring
Exactly five weeks after the season opener at Monza the DTM is back in Germany for the second round of the season at the Lausitzring.
The new-for-the-series GT class has proved a success in the season opener with close racing and spectacular action.
Ferrari´s Liam Lawson and Audi´s Kelvin van der Linde took advantage from this year´s new ruleset to come home from Italy with a win apiece in their first races in the series. The South African now leads the championship with 38 points, 11 more than Lawson.
Amongst the series veterans, Nico Müller in his Audi is the best placed in the standings after a convincing weekend at Monza where he finished second in the second race. He lies third overall 16 points behind the leader.
Only one further point behind is another rookie with a long past in GT racing, Vincent Abril. The Monegasque finished second in the first of the two opening races.
Former F1 driver and current Red Bull protegee Alexander Albon in the second Ferrari follows in fifth after a consistent weekend at Monza with a fourth and a seventh place.
The main news for this weekend involves the choice of the layout of the track. For the first time since 2003 the DTM will use the banked first corner of the Lausitz tri-oval instead of the usual infield section between Turn 1 and Turn 5 of the DTM layout.
At the end of the main straight, instead of braking hard to enter the infield on the left, the drivers will continue at maximum speed and thanks to the almost six degree banking they should be able to go full throttle and stay on the road.
In the history of the DTM it´s not the first time the series uses the banked corner of the Lausitzring. It has already been used in 2003 but only during free practice for, after a tremendous accident for Aiello in his Audi TT during the first session it was decided to revert to the usual DTM layout.
While there are many doubts from teams and drivers about the capability of the cars and the tires to go through the banked turn and the risk of a repeat of the accident of 2003 is possible, there is no doubt the choice has generated a lot of interest from the fans.
Even if the cars will not be able to run full throttle, for sure positioning the car in the best way at the entrance of Turn 1 will be crucial as it will reduce the time of lifting off.
The cars will then continue in the second straight of the oval and join the infield section just before Turn 3 of the tri-oval and continue on the usual DTM layout until the start/finish line.
In the modern era of the DTM the Lausitzring has always been a track where it´s difficult to warm-up the tires. Unlike at Monza, expect overcuts to be more frequent than the undercuts.
As usual there will be two races of 55 minutes + 1 lap with two 20-minute qualifying session to decide the grid for the respective race.
Timetable DTM at Lausitzring
13:00 – 13:45 1. Training
16:05 – 16:35 2. Training
10:30 – 10:50 Qualifying 1
13:30 – 14:30 Race 1
10:10 – 10:30 Qualifying 2
13:30 – 14:30 Race 2
TCR Italy at Imola
Imola hosts the fourth round of the season for the Italian Touring Car Championship – or TCR Italy if you prefer.
Eric Brigliadori has remained the series leader in his Audi RS3 LMS prepared by BF Motorsport, but four drivers are looking for a solid weekend to dethrone him.
Finland´s Antti Buri (Hyundai) is the closest in the standings only seven points behind Brigliadori and looks to carry momentum after taking four podiums in the last four races of the season.
Kevin Ceccon is third in the standings after his first win of the season in the last race at Vallelunga. The Hyundai driver has a gap of 13 points from the leader.
Following in fourth is three time defending champion Salvatore Tavano. In his Cupra León Competición prepared by Scuderia del Girasole he has dominated the first weekend of the year at Monza winning both races. After a difficult weekend at Misano he came back with two podiums at Vallelunga and now lies 21 points adrift from Brigliadori, looking to cut the gap.
The top five battling for the title is completed by Nicola Baldan, Buri´s teammate at Target Competitiion. The Italian driver in his Hyundai i30 N has yet to win a race this year and lies 31 points behind Brigliadori in the standings.
There are some international additions to the usual entry list for this round with three drivers making guests appearances.
The most notable presence this weekend is Mikel Azcona who competes in both FIA WTCR and TCR Europe this year. The Spanish driver has taken two wins at Imola last year when he took part at the TCR Italy event and wants to do the same this weekend. He will be at the wheel of the Cupra León Competición prepared by Vulcano Motorsport, the same he uses in TCR Europe, the championship he is leading.
The other two guests are Martin Ryba, another TCR Europe regular, and Ibrahim Akhmadov, who has been racing in TCR Russia recently. Both will be driving a Honda Civic Type R.
It will be interesting to see the performance of the drivers on this track considering the next round will be again at Imola during the first weekend of September.
Timetable TCR Italy at Imola
13:20 Race 1 (30 mins + 1 lap)
12:15 Race 2 (30 mins + 1 lap)
TCR Russia at Igora Drive
The Russian Circuit Racing Series moves to Igora Drive for the third round of the season after two eventful events at Smolensk Ring and Bogorodsk.
Four different drivers have won the first four races of the season with Lada´s Kirill Ladygin the most consistent driver having taken one win and a total of three podiums to provisionally lead the championship. The defending champion has a 23 point cushion over Pavel Kalmanovich (Cupra).
Despite driving the older version of the Cupra León TCR, Pavel Kalmanovich has won the first race at Bogorodsk after starting from pole position and looks focused on building momentum.
Galvanised by his recent win at Bogorodsk in race 2, Dmitry Bragin (Audi) is next in the standings only one point behind Kalmanovich.
Tied with him for third is Andrej Maslennikov (Hyundai) who instead has yet to win a race this season.
There is a huge amount of Hyundai i30 on the grid but none of them have won a race this season. Maslennikov´s teammate at Lukoil Racing Team Ivan Lukashevich, winner of one of the races at Igora Drive in 2020, hopes to change this. He is fifth in the standings, 31 points from the lead.
Other drivers looking for a good weekend to turn their season around are Mityaev in the second Lada and Burlutskiy in the Carville Hyundai.
Timetable TCR Russia at Igora Drive
11:45 local time (10:45 CEST) Race 1 (13 laps)
16:15 local time (15:15 CEST) Race 2 (16 laps)
TCR Eastern Europe at Grobnik
The Automotodrom Grobnik near Rijeka, Croatia hosts the fourth round of the season for TCR Eastern Europe.
At the moment there are two drivers in contention for the title: Michal Makeš and Tomáš Pekař both from Czech Republic and both driving a CUPRA León TCR although prepared by two different teams.
With only two rounds and four races left after this weekend, time is running out for the rest of the field as they need to take massive points to stay in the title fight.
Pekař has looked the fastest this year after starting the season with a double win at the Hungaroring followed by a further win in the second race at the Slovakia Ring.
However Makeš has responded by taking two wins in the first race at both Slovakia Ring and Tor Poznan and now leads the standings by a 9 point margin over his rival.
Makeš has finished every single race on the podium this year showing an incredible consistency, while his rival, despite winning more races, has failed to reach the podium in Slovakia Race 1 and more importantly at Poznan where he finished outside of the points.
In the championship fight this weekend is the last call for German Sebastian Steibel who is third in the standings but already with a big gap (48 points) from Makeš.
Bartosz Groszek made his debut in Poland and was the first driver able to stop the domination of the duo Pekař-Makeš. He hopes to repeat himself this weekend while local driver Žarko Knego will try to benefit from his home round to improve his fortunes after a difficult start to the season.
Timetable TCR Eastern Europe at Grobnik
14:45 Race 1 (25 mins + 1 lap)
11:50 Race 2 (25 mins + 1 lap)
Formula Regional European Championship at Spa
After some troubles during the Monaco weekend and the disqualification in the first race at Paul Ricard, Grégoire Saucy (ART) seems to have found his speed back after taking for the second time this season a hat-trick of wins. Can the Swiss driver continue on his momentum as the series enters the second half of the season at Spa this weekend?
Thanks to his six wins in ten races he has a comfortable lead of 62 points over the rest of the field.
However the three drivers from R-ace GP following him in the standings are ready to collect big points this weekend and cut the gap from the lead.
Hadjar, David and Maloney have been consistent this year but they have won only one race each this year compared to the six taken by Saucy.
Paul Aron is another driver to watch. He started the season with three podiums in the first five races, but since then he has failed to reach the top three and is still seeking his first win in the series.
Another interesting driver is the Italian Gabriele Miní, Saucy´s teammate at ART and second best rookie of the season in the standings behind Hadjar. With already four podiums under his belt and three in the last four races he is looking good to take the first win of the season.
Better performance are expected from Quinn, Alatalo, Vidales and Colapinto all under-performing in this first part of the season. Colapinto was one of the favourite at the start of the year but finds himself down in twelfth in the standings after having to withdraw from two rounds, being involved in two crashes at Barcelona and after a mediocre weekend at Paul Ricard.
His season seems to have taken a turn recently at Zandvoort where he has taken the first podium of the year thanks to a second place in the second race.
There are some changes to the entry list for the sixth round of the season.
The most important involves ART´s driver Thomas ten Brinke who has decided despite his young age (still 16) to retire from Motorsport. His place will be taken by Patrik Pasma from Finland, who has been racing for the Finnish team KIC Motorsport in the first five events. He will partner Saucy and Minì at ART GP.
It will be interesting to see the performance of the Finnish driver, who is one of the most experienced guys in the field and has already shown good pace in the recent mid-season testing.
His place at KIC has been taken by Jasin Ferati. The Swiss driver was already part of the series having driven for Monolite Racing until now.
The place left vacant in the Italian team has been taken by Dexter Patterson from Scotland who will be making his debut in the series.
JD Motorsport expands to three cars for this weekend´s Belgian round with Israeli Ido Cohen who is currently racing in the FIA Formula 3 partnering Eduardo Barrichello and Tommy Smith.
Portuguese team DR Formula will instead reduce its effort to just a single car for Emidio Pesce as his previous teammate Brad Benavides has decided to retire from the full season to concentrate on his opportunity for 2022.
Van Amersfoort Racing is also forced to reduce his effort for Spa to only two cars with Francesco PIzzi not returning for this round.
In spite of the recent flooding in the Eifel the series has recently announced the postponement of the seventh round of the season which was due to take place at the Nürburgring on August 7-8.
The next round is scheduled for September 11-12 in Spielberg, Austria while the Nürburgring round should be recovered in September or October.
Timetable Formula Regional at Spa
10:55 PRACTICE 1
14:55 PRACTICE 2
11:20 QUALIFYING 1
16:50 QUALIFYING 2
19:25 RACE 1 (30 mins + 1 lap)
11:35 RACE 2 (30 mins + 1 lap)
ERC Rally di Roma Capitale
This weekend´s Rally di Roma Capitale is the third rally of the season for the European Rally Championship.
In the entry list there are sixty-three cars registered, more than the half (34) are competing in the main class with Rally2 cars and will battle for overall honours.
Favourite of the weekend is Alexey Lukyanuk 2018 and last year´s winner and current leader of the championship after winning Rally Poland, the opening event of the season, and finishing third at Rally Liepaja.
The two time ERC Champion comes fresh from a great performance at Rally Estonia in the WRC where not only did he win the WRC3 category, but also was able to finish ahead of WRC2 winner Andreas Mikkelsen.
The Norwegian driver is his main opponent in the ERC as well as in this weekend´s rally.
Lukyanuk after making his first appearance with the Skoda Fabia in Estonia will revert to his familiar Citroen C3 for the Italian round, while Mikkelsen has stayed loyal to his Skoda Fabia.
The gap in the championship between the two rivals is 9 points in favour of the Russian.
Poland´s Miko Marczyk (Skoda), Nikolay Gryazin (Volkswagen) winner of the recent Rally Liepaja and Craig Breen (Hyundai) with his MRF Tyres will try to have their say in the rally and in the championship.
Breen is also coming from a very positive experience in Rally Estonia where he finished second overall and previously finished second in Rally Liepaja too, best result for his tire manufacturer.
As always the ERC main competitors will have to confront themselves with the local drivers who are very competitive and know the rally very well.
Amongst them Umberto Scandola (Hyundai), winner of the rally in two occasions when it was part of the Italian Championship, Andrea Crugnola (Hyundai), winner of no less than nineteen stages of this rally in the last two years, and Giandomenico Basso (Skoda) the only Italian winner of the rally in the ERC era.
Simone Campedelli (Volkswagen) mounting MRF tires like Breen is also looking for a good result this year after a difficult start to the season, while Fabio Andolfi (Skoda) and Damiano De Tommaso (Citroen) will make their first appearance of the season.
The all-asphalt rally based in Fiuggi south-east of Rome will start on Friday morning with the usual qualifying stage which will decide the starting list for the first leg of the rally.
It will be followed later in the morning by the Shakedown and in the evening by the Ceremonial Start at Castel Sant´Angelo in Rome.
Real actions will start the next day in the morning with three stages of more than 34 km in total. Two of these stages will be repeated in the afternoon while a short special stage will end the first day of competition.
Sunday will be a long day for the competitors with a 51 km loop of three stages in the morning to be repeated in the afternoon and an additional third pass through Guarcino to end the rally in the late afternoon.
The Ceremonial Start and four more stages will be shown live on Facebook and Youtube with images from the sky and stage-end commentary.
For more information about the live stages visit the official website.
The full entry-list and the complete itinerary are available here.