The only way to get the team's attention away from the unpleasant RES 500 was to focus on getting back to winning ways. A trip to Transylvania was the much needed breath of fresh air in a weekend to remember.
Part of our decision to come back in the Romanian Endurance Series after a sabbatical year was the decision to revisit Transilvania Motor Ring, a track that served us two spectacular outings in 2019. Alex Cascatău and Ciprian Petrăreanu won in the A2 category four times out of four (there were two races per round back then), whilst Alexandru Șiclovan brought the BMW 325i for the first Romanian race in May, then later in August marked the new pairing with Dinu Dumitrașcu.
All these historic facts meant very little now, as the landscape had changed dramatically in just 24 months. Basically, as we went through the photo archive, we found that the BMW was the only survivor from the inaugural RES event on Transilvania Motor Ring. Of course, this didn't mean we were out of competition in the touring car division - Lerato Racing, MVM1 and a fleet of Dacia Logan Cup cars were on the grid. Just to make sure there was enough of a challenge, we even registered our own Logan in that tight battle for newcomers Radu Dumitrescu and Vadim Prisăcaru.
Dinu and Alexandru started their preparation by setting 1:51.7s in Free Practice, on used tyres. An exhaust problem caused a setback ahead of qualifying, but the assistance was spot on and the car made it into the 20-minute session just in time for three timed laps. The first one was bettered by our rivals, the second one was enough to secure our third RES Touring pole position of the year and the third one... was really unnecessary, as the rubber cried ”no more!” and sent Dinu straight into the Turn One gravel trap following a brake lock-up.
Thankfully, there was no significant damage and we had a solid base to lead from the front during the two-hour contest. A cautious start meant that our closest rivals took the lead, but Dinu made sure it would last only for two corners. Then, he started to pursue the faster GTs, in the meantime creating a gap of over 50 seconds within the touring car division. The thrill of challenging a much more powerful car (Cayman S) was short-lived, as the Porsche skidded off the road and triggered a red flag that cancelled all our advantage.
With only a few laps left between the restart and the mandatory pit stop, Dinu created another gap of 20 seconds, which would become crucial as he passed the car to Alexandru under a Code 60 phase. Luck was an essential part as well, as the BMW rejoined the track just ahead of the leading prototype, which meant a full lap gained on all our rivals as the Safety Car exited behind us to regroup the whole pack.
Unfortunately, the race had a further caution and was eventually stopped ahead of its scheduled time because of a massive fire for the aforementioned leading prototype. A string of penalties impacted the standings, but there was no denying for our perfect score that cements our A2 class lead and gets us back in P1 in the RES Touring overall classification.
For WCR, it's 3 out of 3 events (and 5 out of 5 races) won on Transilvania Motor Ring in A2. Coupled with the podium placing of the Best Next Pilot crew, Racing League Romania also takes the lead in the teams' standings. Our Dacia Logan finished fifth, just 21 seconds behind the class winner - both Radu and Vadim had loads of fun and are willing to come back for more action. Next race sees us back in a familiar paddock, but not on a familiar track layout, as for the first time in history, Season 6 of the Romanian Endurance Series sees us racing in the counter-clockwise direction of Motorpark Romania at dawn.
Romanian Endurance Series - Standings
RES Touring (16 competitors)
West Competition Racing (Dumitrașcu/Șiclovan/Cascatău) - BMW E36 325i - 160p
BADI Racing (E.Anton/B.Anton) - VW Lupo GTI - 136p
Lerato Racing (Pascu/Trifonescu) - Renault Megane - 102p
Ivan Motorsport (Ivan/Ștefan) - Dacia Logan Cup - 99p
MVM1 (Fulga) - Honda Civic - 63p
A2 category (3 competitors)
West Competition Racing (Dumitrașcu/Șiclovan/Cascatău) - BMW E36 325i - 65p
Lerato Racing (Pascu/Trifonescu) - Renault Megane - 53p
X Racing Team (Prelea/Prelea) - BMW E46 325i - 5p