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Preview: Sepang Esports WTCR title decider just like the real thing for King Michelisz as he prepares to #RaceAtHome

2020-07-17T03:39:34+02:00July 17th, 2020|2020, Esports|

Norbert Michelisz expects Sunday night’s Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship decider at a virtual Sepang to be just as intense as the real life WTCR − FIA World Touring Car showdown in Malaysia last year.

Michelisz, the original gamer-turned-racer from Hungary, arrived at the Sepang International Circuit in December 2019 with a nine-point advantage over Argentina’s Esteban Guerrieri.

When the Pre-season Esports WTCR finale gets underway at 23h00 CET on Eurosport and other channels around the world on 19 July, BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse-run Michelisz faces making up a nine-point deficit, this time to Cyan Racing Lynk & Co’s French driver Yann Ehrlacher.

“It will be very intense because fighting for any championship is always exciting,” said Michelisz, who was talent-spotted racing online 15 years ago and became King of WTCR last season. “For me the target is to win the Esports WTCR title and I will be very committed. I would be a bit disappointed if I don’t win but we know the level is very high.”

Guerrieri’s Pre-season Esports WTCR Beat the Drivers victory proof of high level
Michelisz points to Guerrieri’s Pre-season Esports WTCR Beat the Drivers victory as proof of the high level between the real WTCR racers during the six-event series. “You can see Esteban was almost on the same level as the professional simracers [in Pre-season WTCR Beat the Drivers earlier this year] but it has not been straight forward for Esteban in this championship. A lot of drivers have put a lot of effort into practicing and this has translated into very exciting and good races.”

Race win vital for Michelisz at virtual Sepang
Michelisz starts the Sepang Pre-season Esports WTCR decider on the back of winning at the previous two events in Ningbo and Macau. On each occasion he passed a rival driver to take victory.

“The points gap is the biggest between P1 and P2 so wherever I saw a chance to get P1 I went for it, no matter the consequences,” said Michelisz. “They were two quite straightforward passes in Ningbo against Aurélien [Comte] and also against Thed [Björk] in Macau just after the start of Race 2. My target will be just the same in Malaysia, to win a race because I have to win a race. But the bias has been changing from one race to the other. You have a good car one race weekend but in the next one you are behind the others. It is quite similar to the real life in this aspect.”

Seven go for the Pre-season Esports WTCR title in Sepang
Seven drivers are still in contention for the Pre-season Esports WTCR title at a virtual Sepang International Circuit on Sunday. In addition to Yann Ehrlacher and Norbert Michelisz, Spain’s Mikel Azcona (CUPRA Racing), BRC Racing’s Mato Homola from Slovakia, Argentine Esteban Guerrieri (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport), Hungary’s Attila Tassi (ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport) and ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport’s Néstor Girolami from Argentina can all take top spot. All seven have won races this year, while Guerrieri was a winner when Sepang hosted the simracers versus the WTCR drivers series showdown in May. The provisional standings after Round 10 of 12 are as follows:

1 Yann Ehrlacher (France), Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, 157 points
2 Norbert Michelisz (Hungary), BRC N Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse, 148
3 Mikel Azcona (Spain), CUPRA Racing, 140
4 Mato Homola (Slovakia), BRC Racing Team, 131
5 Esteban Guerrieri (Argentina), ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, 130
6 Attila Tassi (Hungary), ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport, 121
7 Néstor Girolami (Argentina), ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, 111
8 Niels Langeveld (Netherlands), Comtoyou Team Audi Sport, 97
9 Bence Boldizs (Hungary), Zengő Motorsport, 88
10 Aurélien Comte (France), DG Sport Compétition, 62

Top 15 drivers in each race score points as follows: 25-20-16-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
Top 5 drivers in Superpole score points as follows: 5-4-3-2-1

Remembering when… Guerrieri beat “amazing” pro simracers − and got semi-Sepang revenge
While Esteban Guerrieri’s last real-life appearance at the 5.542-kilometre Sepang International Circuit ended in disappointment when Norbert Michelisz beat him to the 2019 WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup, he had reason to celebrate after taking the chequered flag first the eighth and final race of the Pre-season Esports Beat the Drivers series back in May.

“It was so close in the previous event, and, on top of that, that it happened at Sepang, where we had this bittersweet feeling last year,” said Guerrieri. “This is a little bit of a gift to the ALL-INKL team and to Honda for what we missed last year. It’s different, and it’s not the real thing, but what I put in, the effort and dedication, and the spirit of the battle, this is real. So, even though my mechanics or Honda aren’t here with me, I wanted to share this with them. It was good fun and a good show, so I’m thankful to WTCR for putting this together.”

Having started from the reverse-grid pole after finishing P10 in Race 1, Guerrieri led throughout and relished the occasion. “There was actually a lot of pressure from Kuba Brzezinski. I didn’t want him to get into my slipstream so I had to push in every lap and make no mistakes.

“I am quite happy [that] I could find a good pace and drive against these amazing drivers who have many hours and days in the simulator like I do in real life. I went for it and it paid off in the final race. Challenges are what makes it good, makes it exciting and we are here with a nice win.”

WHO’S ON THE VIRTUAL GRID?
The following drivers are entered for the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship:

#1: Norbert Michelisz (Hungary), BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse, Hyundai i30 N TCR
#7: Aurélien Comte (France), DG Sport Compétition, Peugeot 308TCR
#9: Attila Tassi (Hungary), ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR
#10: Niels Langeveld (Netherlands), Comtoyou Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS
#11: Thed Björk (Sweden), Cyan Performance Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR
#18: Tiago Monteiro (Portugal), ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR
#29: Néstor Girolami (Argentina), ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR
#31: Tom Coronel (Netherlands), Comtoyou Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS
#55: Bence Boldizs (Hungary), Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición
#65: Kevin Ceccon (Italy), Team Mulsanne, Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR by Romeo Ferraris
#68: Yann Ehrlacher (France), Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR
#70: Mato Homola (Slovakia), BRC Racing Team, Hyundai i30 N TCR
#86: Esteban Guerrieri (Argentina), ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR
#96: Mikel Azcona (Spain), CUPRA Racing, CUPRA Leon Competició
#100: Yvan Muller (France), Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR
#111: Andy Priaulx (Great Britain), Cyan Performance Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR

SEASON SO FAR: SALZBURGRING RESULTS RECAP (14 June 2020)

Race 1:
1 Esteban Guerrieri (Argentina) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
2 Mato Homola (Slovakia) BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR
3 Norbert Michelisz (Hungary) BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR
DHL Position: Mikel Azcona (Spain) CUPRA Racing CUPRA Leon Competición
Fastest lap: Yann Ehrlacher (France) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR

Race 2:
1 Attila Tassi (Hungary) ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
2 Mikel Azcona (Spain) CUPRA Racing CUPRA Leon Competición
3 Niels Langeveld (Netherlands) Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS
DHL Pole Position: Thed Björk (Sweden) Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR
Fastest lap: Niels Langeveld (Netherlands) Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS

SEASON SO FAR: HUNGARORING RESULTS RECAP (21 June 2020)

Race 1:
1 Mato Homola (Slovakia) BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR
2 Norbert Michelisz (Hungary) BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR
3 Esteban Guerrieri (Argentina) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
DHL Pole: Esteban Guerrieri (Argentina) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
Fastest lap:
Norbert Michelisz (Hungary) BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR

Race 2:
1 Néstor Girolami (Argentina) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
2 Attila Tassi (Hungary) ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
3 Mikel Azcona (Spain) CUPRA Racing CUPRA Leon Competición
DHL Pole: Aurélien Comte (France) DG Sport Compétition Peugeot 308TCR
Fastest lap: Néstor Girolami (Argentina) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR

SEASON SO FAR: SLOVAKIA RING RESULTS RECAP (28 June 2020)

Race 1:
1 Yann Ehrlacher (France) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR
2 Esteban Guerrieri (Argentina) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
3 Niels Langeveld (Netherlands) Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS
DHL Pole: Yann Ehrlacher (France) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR
Fastest lap: Niels Langeveld (Netherlands) Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS

Race 2:
1 Attila Tassi (Hungary) ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
2 Mikel Azcona (Spain) CUPRA Racing CUPRA Leon Competición
3 Mato Homola (Slovakia) BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR
DHL Pole: Attila Tassi (Hungary) ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
Fastest lap: Yann Ehrlacher (France) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR

SEASON SO FAR: NINGBO INTERNATIONAL SPEEDPARK RECAP (6 July 2020)

Race 1:
1 Yann Ehrlacher (France) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR
2 Néstor Girolami (Argentina) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
3 Mikel Azcona (Spain) CUPRA Racing CUPRA Leon Competición
DHL Pole: Yann Ehrlacher (France) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR
Fastest lap: Yann Ehrlacher (France) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR

Race 2:
1 Norbert Michelisz (Hungary) BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR
2 Aurélien Comte (France) DG Sport Compéticion Peugeot 308TCR
3 Mato Homola (Slovakia) BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR
DHL Pole: Aurélien Comte (France) DG Sport Compéticion Peugeot 308TCR
Fastest lap: Esteban Guerrieri (Argentina) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR

SEASON SO FAR: CIRCUITO DA GUIA, MACAU RECAP (13 July 2020)

Race 1:
1 Mikel Azcona (Spain) CUPRA Racing CUPRA Leon Competición
2 Yann Ehrlacher (France) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR
3 Néstor Girolami (Argentina) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
DHL Pole: Mikel Azcona (Spain) CUPRA Racing CUPRA Leon Competición
Fastest lap: Mikel Azcona (Spain) CUPRA Racing CUPRA Leon Competición

Race 2:
1 Norbert Michelisz (Hungary) BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR
2 Thed Björk (Sweden) Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 03 TCR
3 Tiago Monteiro (Portugal) ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
DHL Pole: Thed Björk (Sweden) Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 03 TCR
Fastest lap: Mikel Azcona (Spain) CUPRA Racing CUPRA Leon Competición

WHAT IS PRE-SEASON ESPORTS WTCR?
Held over six weekends until 19 July on the RaceRoom Racing Experience platform, the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship is exclusively for drivers from the WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup and gives fans the chance to watch virtual WTCR racing with a difference.

All drivers taking part will have a webcam and microphone connected, making it possible for viewers to see and hear their heroes during the races. The microphone feature will also allow drivers to be interviewed as well as interacting with their rivals. Videos of drivers on their simulators, at home and enjoying some fun moments will also be shared during the one-hour shows.

New-for-2020-liveries will be used with six epic tracks, including three that will feature in the real WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup, providing the challenge. And with the real WTCR set to visit the Slovakia Ring in October, the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship will provide a virtual taster of what’s to come in a few months from now.

PRE-SEASON ESPORTS WTCR CHAMPIONSHIP FORMAT EXPLAINED
Each Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship event will feature a 10-minute qualifying session followed by a top-five Superpole shootout, which will be included in the official broadcast.

Race 1 will last for 12 minutes with the grid using the combined qualifying results. Race 2 will also last for 12 minutes but with the top 10 qualifying results reversed to form the first five rows of the grid. Cars will appear as they will look when the WTCR begins, as planned, for real later this year.

WHAT WILL YOU WATCH
The Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship programmes will benefit from the same in-house production expertise as the real-life WTCR broadcasts in partnership with technical provider AMP Visual. The work of a 30-person team, the shows will have the same ‘look and feel’ as the WTCR broadcasts with identical on-screen graphics and expert commentary on the global feed from the voice of WTCR Martin Haven. WTCR pitlane reporter Alexandra Legouix will present the action and interview the drivers while they race at home. Esports WTCR commentator James Kirk joins the team to provide an expert view on simracing.

HOW TO WATCH?
Eurosport 1 will broadcast the Sepang finale at 23h00 CET on Sunday 19 July (local broadcast schedules may differ and should always be consulted). The programme will be available on the WTCR’s social media channels from 09h00 CET the next day.

In addition to coverage on Eurosport in 54 countries, Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship events have been shown on the following channels:

Astro (Malaysia)
Bein Sport (MENA region)
Eurosport India
Huya (China)
Motorsport.tv
Motowizja (Poland)
RTBF Auvio (Belgium)
SKY TV (New Zealand)
StarTimes (sub-Saharan Africa)
SuperSport (South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa)
Tencent (China)
Three (New Zealand)

MAKING IT HAPPEN FOR THE FANS
Organised to give WTCR drivers the chance to engage with fans through the WTCR’s social media platforms while they wait the start of the 2020 campaign and a prelude to the full Esports WTCR online championship due to begin later this year, the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship from RaceRoom in partnership with Eurosport Events lists Goodyear, TAG Heuer, DHL, KW Suspensions, TrackTime and Liqui Moly as partners with a TAG Heuer watch going to the champion. The series will promote the FIA’s #RaceAtHome campaign.