season at the Red Bull Ring. In both free practice and qualifying, the Dutch driver was
the fastest man on the Austrian Formula 1 circuit before going on to claim a dominant
victory in the first race on Saturday. In Sunday’s second race Langeveld had to start in
tenth, due to the reversed grid, after which a bad start made him have to settle for
eighth. In the TCR Germany standings Langeveld is now runner up, just a short
distance away from Harald Proczyk.
After six weeks of waiting, Niels Langeveld was hungry for success. Knowing that the Audi
RS3 LMS had been equipped with a new engine and turbo, the racing one driver and his
team started the free practice sessions on the 4.3 km Formula 1 circuit in good spirits. They
weren’t disappointed, as Langeveld was on top form and proved to be the fastest driver in a
huge field of 30 TCR Germany cars.
"It's great when you're fastest in free practice," said Langeveld, "but it has to be done in
qualifying." In his first run he set fifth time, but gradually dropped down to eighth. That was
sufficient in itself for continuing to the second qualifying session for the top twelve, but
Langeveld decided on a second run to clock the fastest time. In the final seconds of this
session, the Finn Antti Buri managed to improve that time by a thousandth of a second but
Langeveld was able to start the second session with a good feeling. In this session he left no
doubt that the racing one-racer was the man to be beat at the Red Bull Ring, taking pole
position for race 1. This also meant Langeveld had to start in tenth for the second race, due
to the reversed grid for the top ten.
Langeveld was planning to create a gap to the Audi of his direct pursuer Antti Buri as soon
as possible, to avoid giving the Finn a chance to get into his slipstream. Langeveld’s start
was good and his plan of attack succeeded, as the racing one Audi soon opened up a gap,
allowing Langeveld to focus on setting consistent lap times. A safety-car period after
incidents on the track brought the field back together and this meant Langeveld had to start
all over again. His restart was perfect and again he did not allow Buri to get into his
slipstream. With great lap times, all within a margin of three-tenths of a second, his
opponents were unable to threaten the fast Dutchman for a moment and so Langeveld
convincingly scored his first victory in TCR Germany 2018. "Great that everything is finally
right, I knew this victory was coming," said the racing one driver with a smile.
In the second race, it was important to quickly move forward from his tenth starting position.
This plan unfortunately failed to succeed as Langeveld made a bad start. "My own fault",
Langeveld confessed. "I let go of my clutch too early, got the power down too late and
instead of winning positions I lost four."
Patiently Langeveld had to fight to make his way forward again and that worked well in the
beginning of the race. In eighth, however, he got stuck behind an opponent and had settle for
that position. "Very bitter, since my strongest opponent Harald Proczyk won the race and
scored valuable points. But there are four more events, including at Zandvoort, and I'm
confident that securing the ADAC TCR Germany 2018 title is still possible for me."
Again Langeveld must be patient, however, as the next races in TCR Germany are at the
Nürburgring in Germany in early August. Two weeks after that event, Langeveld will take on
his strong German competition at his favourite home track.