Daniel Lloyd showed consistent podium pace during his TCR Europe debut at Hockenheim, Germany, last weekend, but circumstances conspired against the Huddersfield racer to deny him the results he deserved.

The reigning TCR UK champion has graduated to the European series this year after a late deal to join the Brutal Fish Racing Team, and he set a strong pace by going fourth fastest in both of Friday’s practice sessions in his Honda Civic Type R TCR.

He then went even better in the Q1 section of Saturday morning’s two-phase qualifying to lap fastest of all as he set out his stall as a pole-position contender.

However, having missed the season-opening round in Hungary, the 27-year-old was not only equipped with an extra 20kg newcomers’ weight penalty; he also lacked a set of carry-over tyres from the Hungaroring that all his pole rivals were able to use.

Without the rubber to make himself a pole challenger, Daniel qualified eighth, but it was to be a short race as contact with another driver put him out on the second lap with broken suspension.

Worse still, the ABRACS and Mend-A-Hose-supported driver was harshly given a five-place grid penalty for his part in the incident, while his rival continued unabaited.

This meant that he started Sunday’s second race from eighth, rather than third, and with a braking issue affecting his pace, he was unable to gain positions and instead finished 13th.

“The weekend started so well, so it’s bitterly disappointing to leave without any results to show for it,” said Daniel.

“Fourth place in opening practice was good, but my best lap came on new tyres, so when I was able to repeat the position in FP2 on old rubber, we could all see within the team that we’d made a big step forward.

“Qualifying went to plan in Q1, but without any carry-over tyres from Hungary – because mine is one of the only cars here that didn’t race there – I had no new rubber for a qualifying lap, and I made a mistake on the lap I did, so I started eighth.

“The start procedure was very fast so I had a bad getaway and was in recovery mode very quickly, but then I tried to pass Luca Filippi, locked the brakes on the dirty part of the track and slid into Aurelien Comte. I think the grid penalty was pretty harsh as Comte was able to continue at a similar pace to what he’d been doing, but that’s racing.

“Then in Race Two I developed a braking issue straight away. The Honda’s great strength is its braking, so I was a sitting duck. Spa’s next though and – with the 20kg newcomers’ weight removed – we should be in good shape.”

TCR Europe resumes at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium on June 8-9. In the meantime Daniel heads to Shanghai to attempt to increase his TCR China series lead this weekend.

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