Kevin Gleason converted a front row starting position into strong points at the Red Bull Ring, but the American was subdued at the end of a weekend that promised so much more (12 July).
The Pennsylvania-domiciled driver returned to Austria off the back of a breakthrough race victory on his last visit to the Central European country in May and began the weekend by joining his experienced WestCoast Racing teammate, Gianni Morbidelli, on the front row of the grid for Sunday’s first race.
Leading into the first corner, Gleason suffered a loss of momentum out of the second corner on cold tyres to fall back in fourth position at the completion of lap one, unable to take the fight to the frontrunning SEATS and his Italian teammate up ahead.
Gleason eventually became detached from the leading quartet, preoccupied with fending off the SEATs of Jordi Gene and Sergey Afanasyev, and, while he tumbled to seventh, the 28-year old recovered two positions at the expense of the latter and Morbidelli, who was handed a post-race 30-second time penalty.
Dramatically changing track conditions left Gleason fighting the car and ultimately resigned him to another fifth place result in the day’s final TCR International Series race and the American said: “It has been an up and down weekend here at the Red Bull Ring. We started off the weekend struggling with the balance, but we all worked together and improved the car, ultimately ending qualifying on the front row with my teammate Gianni (Morbidelli) ahead. The races were both really hard-fought and featured a lot of door-to-door racing, which I’m sure the big crowd enjoyed. I just want to thank the entire WestCoast Racing team, as they worked non-stop on very little sleep to improve our situation on track. I couldn’t be more proud to be apart of it.”
A lengthy summer break precedes Round 9 of the 2015 TCR International Series, which will be held as part of the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix support bill on the floodlit Marina Bay street circuit (19-20 September).