WTCR Race of China 2019

WTCR Race of China 2019 - 13-15/09/2019

THE CHALLENGE
Located in Chunxiao in the rapidly-expanding Beilun coastal development near Ningbo – a major port and industrial city with a population of more than seven million – in Zhejiang province, the track opened in time for WTCC Race of China in October 2017 following more than a year of construction work at a cost of 950-million CNY (122 million euros). Around 500 people were involved in turning what was a disused quarry into a state-of-the-art venue, which is built to FIA and FIM Grade 2 standards. It runs in an anti-clockwise direction, is between 12-18 metres in width and features 21 turns.

RACE RECAP 2018

Weekend in short
*Tarquini heads fellow Hyundai driver Björk by eight points in thrilling championship battle
*Race 2 winner Muller just one point further back behind YMR team-mate Björk
*Dupont flies to first podium as Comtoyou Audi squad excels
*Podium in Race 2 signals Bennani’s return to form
*Disappointing low spectator attendance results from weekend being declared working days by authorities ahead of Golden Week

Weekend report: Thed Björk delivered a WTCR OSCARO masterclass with two poles and two wins as the China double-header began in spectacular fashion. The Swede was in sublime form with victories in Race 1 and 3, while team-mate and team boss Yvan Muller bagged the spoils in Race 2. After finishing fourth in Race 1, early contact in Race 2 left BRC Racing Team’s Gabriele Tarquini on the sidelines. However, he bounced back to finish second to Björk in Race 3 to ensure the championship lead remains his. Tarquini’s cause was aided when Muller retired from Race 3 with suspension damage and a puncture following contact. Esteban Guerrieri was a double podium visitor for ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport after two strong displays. However, the Argentine was denied a third top-three when contact with Norbert Michelisz early in Race 3 forced him out. Mehdi Bennani signalled his return to form following his huge crash at WTCR Race of Portugal with second place in the reverse-grid Race 2. Denis Dupont helped to ensure there were four different customer racing brands in the top four in Race 2 before landing his maiden WTCR OSCARO podium with a fine drive from sixth to third in Race 3. Team-mate Frédéric Vervisch was third in Race 1. Elsewhere, double DTM champion Timo Scheider just missed out on a top-10 twice as his Münnich team worked flat out to ensure Yann Ehrlacher could start Race 3 following damage sustained in a collision with China’s Ma Qing Hua on the final lap of Race 2. Ma, who like Scheider was making his WTCR debut, showed plenty of promise but the contact with Ehrlacher was too hard to make the start of Race 3.

Winning quote: “It was a fantastic race from the start, just flying way from the others and having a race by myself,” said Björk, following his Race 3 win. “I must be really happy with the team, who work so hard putting the car together all the time. It felt so good, in the window [of performance] all the time and I just had to drive. When we have such a long summer break and still so many points to fight for, the goal was to get back [in the title fight] as soon as possible, be on the edge and see where I can go. Some of the tracks that are coming are really nice.”

Results reminder
DHL Pole Position Race 1: Thed Björk (SWE) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 1 winner: Thed Björk (SWE) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 1 fastest lap: Thed Björk (SWE) Hyundai i30 N TCR
DHL Pole Position Race 2: Mehdi Bennani (MAR) Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR
Race 2 winner: Yvan Muller (FRA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 2 fastest lap: Yvan Muller (FRA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
DHL Pole Position Race 3: Thed Björk (SWE) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 3 winner: Thed Björk (SWE) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 3 fastest lap: Thed Björk (SWE) Hyundai i30 N TCR
TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy: Thed Björk (SWE) Hyundai i30 N TCR
TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver: Thed Björk (SWE) Hyundai i30 N TCR

Track essentials
Name: Ningbo International Speedpark
Location: Yanhai Middle Road, Chuanxiao, Ningbo, Zhejiang, China
Length: 4.010 kilometres
Race 1 distance: 13 laps (52.130 kilometres)
Race 2 distance: 13 laps (52.130 kilometres)
Race 3 distance: 16 laps (64.160 kilometres)
Best laps
WTCR lap record (qualifying): Thed Björk (Hyundai i30 N TCR), 1m50.371s (130.70kph), 30/09/18
TCR car lap record (qualifying): Thed Björk (Hyundai i30 N TCR), 1m50.371s (130.70kph), 30/09/18
WTCR lap record (race): Thed Björk (Hyundai i30 N TCR), 1m51.640s (129.30kph), 30/09/18
TCR car lap record (race): Thed Björk (Hyundai i30 N TCR), 1m51.640s (129.30kph), 30/09/18
More details
Time zone: GMT +8 hours
Fly to: Ningbo Lishe International Airport (64 kilometres)
Stay: Ningbo
Zhenhai - 12 Dec

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