Stories of the first WTCR year: behind-the-scenes heroics in Vila Real
The multi-car accident in Race 1 at WTCR Race of Portugal left hopes shattered and cars destroyed in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO.
While the Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golfs of Mehdi Bennani and Rob Huff – plus James Thompson’s ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR – would go no further in Vila Real, all other cars involved in the lap one incident were repaired in time for Sunday’s qualifying and two races.
But that required a number of teams to work through the night to fix the extensive damage.
YMR, whose team boss Yvan Muller eventually took victory in the restarted Race 1, worked flat out to repair Thed Björk’s Hyundai i30 N TCR, which briefly caught fire in the crash. By winning Race 3, the Swede more than repaid his mechanics for their heroics.
BRC Racing Team’s Norbert Michelisz was sporting a bandage on his left arm when he returned to the track on the Sunday morning, but the Hungarian declared himself fit to race, while his badly damaged Hyundai was restored to full working order with the help of a local body shop during an all-night repair.
Yann Ehrlacher required his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport team to go into overdrive to fix his Honda. Their efforts paid off when Ehrlacher made it through to the Qualifying Q3 shootout, while two seventh-place finishes in Sunday’s races kept the erstwhile title leader firmly in the title battle.
“I cannot even begin to describe how amazing the mechanics are in this team,” Ehrlacher said at the time. “They worked all night without sleep and got my car ready for today’s races. It could easily have been two non-starts.”
Mato Homola joined Muller and Björk by winning in Portugal, the Slovak claiming his maiden WTCR OSCARO in a DG Sport Compétition PEUGEOT 308TCR after he played the ‘joker’ lap to perfection in a battle with Muller.
No drivers suffered serious injury in the multi-car accident in Vila Real. Click here to watch the drama unfold.