Friday 17th August - Free Practice 1 & 2 - It was another first for Reece to visit the renowned TT Assen circuit but right from the outset he was running with the leaders in the first early morning test which seen a mix of tyres on a drying track following very heavy overnight rain. For free practice one mid morning the sun was out and with a dry track Reece quickly put his talent on new tracks and a well balanced i30N to post the fastest lap of the morning in his Hyundai only to pipped on the last by a flying Commi is his Type R Honda. The afternoon remained sunny at Assen and with a small setup change for free practice two the teenage rookie was to turn the table on TCR Champion to set the fastest time of the afternoon finishing on top ahead on Commi on a day that seem the Hyundai’s and Honda’s set the pace ahead of the VAG cars of championship contenders Ancona and Vernay.
RB “I really like the fast flowing circuit and it great to run at the front against a very experienced and accomplished group of drivers; that said I need to get my season reset with good race result so my focus is on quali the two races. We are struggling with straight line speed so will need to be ‘on it’ tomorrow and Sunday.
The day also raised a concern among all drivers and teams about track limit administration and the safety of some kerb furniture that was set-out by the track officials; and this was to cause further havoc as the weekend progressed.
Saturday 18th August - Qualifying & Race 1 - An early start for Quali with sunny conditions seen was interrupted early with a red flag to recover the stricken Type R of Davidovski just when Reece was about to exit on his Quali tyres which wasn’t ideal for the conditioned rear tyres. With 10 mins to go the cars returned to green but things were to go from bad to worse for the No.8 Hyundai with his fastest lap getting disallowed for ‘track limits’ in the last sequence of corners. The ‘track limit’ decision was also to fall on Honda driver Commi put the two fastest drivers from Friday back of the grid for both races at the Assen event.
RB “this decision is just ridiculous I was on my fast lap and pushing hard when I ran wide with no advantage; qualifying is to get the fastest lap and you are always on the edge and when no advantage is gained why was my lap disallowed - just crazy if they can’t administrate track limits they shouldn’t be making these decisions as it’s just destroyed my weekend’ and to really kill it they allowed the Q2 disallowed laps to be appealed and reinstated so fair sport yea right”
Race 1 Saturday afternoon was exemplar summer conditions with a big crowd in attendance for the Gamma Race Festival and for race one of the TCR weekend; Reece was starting from P14 on the grid and he got an excellent start immediately on the bumper of his championship leading team mate Borkovic and hold his position in the squeeze through the first sequence of corners; in the early laps the No.8 Hyundai was defending hard and had obviously set his i30n to finish the race strong as the final laps seen him move up to P11 to finish the race behind Honda ace Josh Files.
RB “I got my best start so far and held position for the opening laps; I needed to hold off the cars behind as we setup for a stronger pace at the end of the race and that worked out really well - I just spent too long behind Danny (Kroes) or we could have finished even better as my car was really strong at the end but I had a really wide Seat and an even wider Honda and both manufacturer appeared to have found overnight top-end; overall happy with the close racing just started to far back which still sucks.
Sunday 19th August - Race 2 - Race 2 Sunday morning was again dry conditions and Reece took up his disappointing P14 grid position but again he proved he has master the tricky start procedure with another excellent start holding position for the open laps when the safety car was deployed to allow the retrieval of the stricken race one winner and fellow Hyundai driver Nagy; the restart went to plan until the Honda of Moller squeezed past Reece but the teenage racer stayed focused to bring his i30N home in P10 and within the points.
RB “Definitely have my starts sorted and the car was again sorted we just lacked top speed against the Honda’s and VAG’s which will definitely hurt is more at Monza - so Albert over to you. The race went to plan I just had an overeager Honda after the restart which could have ended in tears for both of us but luckily he just gain the position when went unnoticed; I’m still pissed off that my pace this weekend was destroyed by a stupid decision in quali”
“We have two rounds left to salvage something for this years effort which has been full of ‘ups and downs’ and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in at Monza and Barcelona”
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