WTCR Race of Japan 2019

WTCR Race of Japan 2019 - 25-27/10/2019

THE CHALLENGE
Japan has hosted world touring car racing since 2008 and 2019 will again be no different with WTCR OSCARO returning to Suzuka in late October when the country’s Super Formula series finale will also join the bill for its deciding round. Operated by Mobilityland, the same Honda-owned subsidiary behind Twin Ring Motegi – venue of WTCC Race of Japan for three seasons – Suzuka features a unique figure- of-eight layout and presents a considerable challenge for drivers thanks to its huge variety of corners. Opened initially as a Honda test track in 1962, Suzuka staged its first Japanese Grand Prix in 1987.

Weekend in short
*Italian heads championship standings with street racing spectacular left
*Ceccon and Huff also take victories during sensational Suzuka weekend
*On-track action thrills 42,500 fans as Monteiro makes heroic return

Weekend report: Gabriele Tarquini set up a WTCR OSCARO title showdown in Macau with a fifth win of 2018 in Race 3. The Hyundai-powered BRC Racing Team driver inherited first when on-the-road winner Kevin Ceccon was penalised five seconds for not having all four wheels of his Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR within his DHL Pole Position starting box. The Race 1 winner pushed as hard as he could once notice of the penalty had been served. Although Aurélien Comte (DG Sport Compétition PEUGEOT 308TCR) moved ahead in the final order, Ceccon held on for the last podium spot, with Mehdi Bennani and Aurélien Panis completing the top five for Sébastien Loeb Racing and Comtoyou Racing respectively. Rob Huff finished sixth in the second SLR Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR but won Race 2 after he beat reverse-grid pole-sitter Pepe Oriola (Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra) off the line and resisted the Spaniard’s race-long pressure. Other notable performances at a sun-baked Suzuka, which attracted a weekend crowd of 42,500, came from Esteban Guerrieri, who took his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Honda Civic Type R TCR to fourth in Race 1 ahead of Bennani and Jean-Karl Vernay (Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team). Norbert Michelisz returned to the podium with third in Race 2, the Hungarian finishing one place ahead of Panis, for whom fourth was a season-best result, and two ahead of team-mate Tarquini. However, the most notable performance of all came from Tiago Monteiro. The Portuguese was back in action 415 days after suffering serious head and neck injuries in a testing crash. He scored a Suzuka-high P11 in Race 3 for the Honda-powered Boutsen Ginion Racing squad.

Winning quote: “You don’t think you are winning the race until the last corner,” Kevin Ceccon said following his Race 1 triumph. “You keep your concentration to not make mistakes and keep your position. I have to say that when I started and was P2 on the first lap Yvan [Muller] was very close to me and Aurélien much further [ahead], so at the beginning my idea was to keep the position. But then I saw I could catch Aurélien quite easily, so I decided I needed to pass him, but it’s never easy to pass. I as lucky that we started to fight hard at 130R and on the exit I was able to grab the position before the braking. The only thing I did different from a normal race was before the final corner I called the team by radio and said ‘guys, jump on the wall and see you there’.”

Results reminder
DHL Pole Position Race 1: Aurélien Comte (FRA) PEUGEOT 308TCR
Race 1 winner: Kevin Ceccon (ITA) Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR
Race 1 fastest lap: Kevin Ceccon (ITA) Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR
DHL Pole Position Race 2: Pepe Oriola (ESP) Cupra TCR
Race 2 winner: Rob Huff (GBR) Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR
Race 2 fastest lap: Pepe Oriola (ESP) Cupra TCR
DHL Pole Position Race 3: Kevin Ceccon (ITA) Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR
Race 3 winner: Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 3 fastest lap: Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy: Pepe Oriola (ESP) Cupra TCR
TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver: Kevin Ceccon (ITA) Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR

Track essentials
Name: Suzuka International Racing Course
Location: 7992 Ino-Cho, Suzuka-shi, Mie-ken 510-0295, Japan
Website: www.suzukacircuit.jp
Length: 5.807 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): Kevin Ceccon (Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR) 2m10.742s (159.80kph), 26/10/18
TCR car lap record (qualifying): Kevin Ceccon (Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR) 2m10.742s (159.80kph), 26/10/18
WTCR lap record (race): Pepe Oriola (Cupra TCR) 2m13.163s (156.90kph), 28/06/18
TCR car lap record (race): Pepe Oriola (Cupra TCR) 2m13.163s (156.90kph), 28/06/18
More details
Time zone: GMT +9 hours
Fly to: Nagoya Chubu Centrair International Airport (60 kilometres)
Stay: Suzuka
Suzuka shi - 14 Dec
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