The Romanian Endurance Series has been split into two separate divisions in its sixth season. West Competition Racing came back after a sabbatical year to claim both race wins in the inaugural RES Touring meeting.
The WCR components spent 2020 on the sidelines after a glorious 2019 (A2 class title and third in the A3 standings), quietly contemplating the evolution of the championship in order to make an attempted comeback. Gloomy at times, since Ciprian Petrăreanu and Dinu Dumitrașcu couldn't make it for the first round, it was a real test of resilience to find last-minute solutions in all key areas.
The ex-VLN BMW E36 325i was entered for the event, with Alex Șiclovan requesting last minute assistance from Alex Cascatău, who swiftly flew in from London and made it to the racetrack on Saturday just in time to place the car on pole position for Race 1, dipping below two minutes per lap in his first outing in this machine. A 1:58.994 became Cascatău's fastest ever Motorpark Romania mark, some four tenths faster than his Honda Civic qualifying times in 2018-19.
Șiclovan made an error in Q2 and could only place the car fifth on the grid with his initial banker lap, but the overall feeling was good enough to make both drivers confident overnight. Sunday brought the constant menace of rain, but it never intensified. A few drops allowed a full day of slick running, as Cascatău built a healthy lead in Race 1 that Șiclovan managed during his stint to cross the line in first place (overall and in the A2 category).
Two hours later, with solid morale after the first victory, Șiclovan made the right moves at the start to rise up to P2, according to the pre-race plan. Undercutting was the logical step with a faster teammate waiting in the ranks: at the 25th, right when the pit window opened, the 325i was the first to steer left towards the pit lane. Preserving the tyres for over two hours on Sunday was crucial and Cascatău had enough resources to set the race fastest lap (2:00.048) and chase down early leader Eduard Anton.
No reliability issues meant a clean run towards the flag and maximum points - the perfect start of a new season and a wonderful celebration of 5 years since the first ever RES round in history, which was also the inaugural event of our team. Cascatău scored his fifth national class win and Șiclovan his second, as both started their 8th race weekend for the team. Currently, West Competition Racing holds the lead in the RES Touring division and looks forward to the longest race of the season, the 500km one that takes place in three weeks time.
This was an unexpected last-minute call for my comeback in RES - the landscape has changed with TV exposure and great investment in some really fast cars. Glad to rejoin the WCR team for this race, it's the same happy bubble that makes everything seem so easy and fun! - Alex Cascatău
We've come a long way since our first outing in the VW Lupo in April 2016 - this one was our 15th entry in a RES race and now we have the right structure, with key personnel, technology and friends in the paddock that are always willing to throw a helping hand. - Alex Șiclovan
RES Touring standings
West Competition Racing (BMW, A.Cascatău/A.Șiclovan) 50p
Eduard Anton (Volkswagen) 36p
MVM1 (Honda, A. Fulga) 27p