Daniel Lloyd’s undoubted podium pace was sadly unrewarded last weekend, with the 27-year-old denied the chance of a second-row start on his second TCR Europe outing on the legendary Spa Francorchamps circuit (June 8/9).
Having posted the sixth fastest time in the #123 Brutal Fish Racing Honda Civic Type R in FP2, Lloyd looked to be in strong podium contention after qualifying third in the combined sessions, against the might of the Audi power-houses and a clear half a second ahead of 4th place.
Regrettably, championship officials deemed that Lloyd’s Q1 lap-time fell seconds outside of the allocated time and the Yorkshireman was unfortunately relegated to 18th for the start of both races.
“It was such a frustrating start to the weekend;” explained Lloyd. “Spa is renowned for being an Audi circuit so we were made up to be the only car pushing them for lap times in qualifying, and only a couple of tenths off.”
“We knew that a good grid start would be so important here, so third was a fantastic result. Unfortunately, after being released for the Q2 session, we were told that my lap time had been removed. I had posted 3 seconds after the flag, so that dropped us back to 18th.”
Putting his frustrations to the side, Lloyd made an outstanding start in Saturday’s opening race. Making the most of an early safety appearance in the highly-competitive 34-car strong field, the current TCR UK Champion battled his way up the order to take P11 at the flag.
A frenetic race two delivered plenty of drama on Sunday, with a number of crashes and near misses on the notoriously unforgiving Belgium track. Narrowly avoiding a huge melee on the final lap of the race, Lloyd did well to bring his Civic Type R home in-tact in 13th. The ABRACS and Mend-A-Hose-backed racer was later promoted to 11th following the stewards’ post-race investigations.
“Race 2 was crazy;” added Lloyd. “I felt very lucky to come through in one piece after narrowly missing a big hit on the final lap. I’ve only ever driven Spa in a GT3 before, but it was great fun in the TCR car.
“Sadly, it was another weekend where we showed we had the pace, but come away without the results we deserve. TCR Europe is such a competitive championship. It’s so hard to come up through the order. It’s all about qualifying and losing our lap put us on the back foot for the whole weekend.
“There are still lots of positives to take away into the next meeting in Austria. The Brutal Fish Racing Team gave me a great car. We had consistent front-running pace, and were fastest Honda on track.”
Lloyd now has a 3-week break in his 2019 racing calendar before heading to the Zhejiang International Circuit in Shaoxing for rounds 5 and 6 of the TCR China Series on July 6-7.
For full results from each session and race, please click here
Clips and full races from rounds 5 and 6 of the TCR Europe meeting in Spa can be found at: http://www.tcr-series.tv/europe/