Claiming the first-ever rostrum finish for the Brutal Fish Racing Team on only his third appearance for the Slovak outfit, 27-year-old Lloyd enjoyed his best finish to date in the #123 Honda Civic Type R.
Stating his intent early on, Lloyd topped the timing screens in both free practice sessions on the GP circuit, before securing a third-row start for Saturday’s opening contest with a P5 grid place in qualifying.
Biding his time in race 1, the Yorkshireman staked his claim on third place with a superb move on the second to last lap. Passing Frenchman Panciatici with just one tour of the track remaining, Lloyd brought the JAS Motorsport Honda home in P3, clinching the final spot on the podium.
Unexpected rain added drama to the final race of the weekend on Sunday. An outstanding start by Lloyd saw him leap up into 4th place from 6th on the opening lap. With the grid all running on slicks, however, the safety car was immediately called into play to clear stricken cars following a turn 1 melee.
With his view blocked by the cars in front, Lloyd took avoiding action to miss crashing out, with the move gaining him two places. Despite giving the places back immediately, he was deemed to have overtaken under the yellow flags by the stewards and received a drive-through penalty, and he eventually ended the race in P16.
“A weekend of two halves really;” commented Lloyd. “It was fantastic weekend right up until the last race with an unfair decision sadly letting us down. I’m so pleased to have claimed the first podium for the Brutal Fish Racing Team. We’ve had really good pace in the last two rounds, but not managed to convert that into results so the podium came at the perfect time. We deserved it.
“We did really well in practice, but the Hyundai’s found a lot more pace in qualifying. We were struggling with straight-line speed all weekend, so to get third was mega. We were the only non-Hyundai in the top 6 in race 1.
The TCR UK Champion continued; “The decision in race 2 was absolutely ridiculous. I was behind two cars, it was raining. I was looking in my mirrors at what was going on behind me and I got caught out by their sudden braking for the yellow flag. It completely caught me off guard. I just managed to avoid them and then as soon I saw the safety car boards I gave the places back immediately. It was a crazy race, but that decision could well have cost us another podium from where we were. It was a real shame.
“Overall it was a fantastic weekend for the team. I’d like to say a huge thank you to Martin Ryba for giving me the opportunity to race with the Brutal Fish Racing Team. I’m really grateful to the crew who have worked so hard to give me the best car to go out there and do the job for them, as well the support from guys at JAS Motorsport.”
The TCR Europe series heads to Germany next, as the second half of the season gets underway on the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben on August 3/4.
Full coverage of both rounds 7 and 8 from the Red Bull Ring can be viewed online at www.tcr-series.com and www.tcr-series.tv.