WTCR 2018: the season so far part two
Following two action-packed events in Morocco and Hungary, the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO continued apace in Germany and Netherlands. Here’s a recap of how the excitement unfolded.
WTCR Race of Germany (10-12 May):
Touring car legend Yvan Muller was the big winner at the world’s toughest race track, adding P3 in Race 3 to his Race 1 triumph and move to the top of the WTCR OSCARO standings.
Argentine Esteban Guerrieri joined his compatriots, the great Juan Manuel Fangio and triple World Touring Car champion José María López, with his first Nurburgring Nordschleife victory following a thrilling drive in Race 2 ahead of Pepe Oriola, with Thed Björk claiming his win of 2018 to complete a memorable event for Muller’s YMR team.
Having won Race 1, Frenchman Muller claimed fourth in Race 2 before completing the podium in Race 3 in his Hyundai i30 N TCR. His performance, coupled with a weekend of woe for erstwhile title leader Gabriele Tarquini, put him on top of the standings by 19 points.
In contrast, Italian Tarquini endured a miserable trip to Germany, crashing out of both Race 1 and 2 and non-starting the third counter.
Having lost out to team boss Muller in Race 1 from the DHL pole, 2017 World Touring Car champion Björk made the most of his second top start in Race 3, holding off an impressive challenge from Belgian Frédéric Vervisch.
WTCR Race of Netherlands (19-21 May):
Jean-Karl Vernay completed a memorable weekend for the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO with first in Race 3 at Zandvoort where 110,000 fans – and Dutch Formula One star Max Verstappen – attended.
Vernay’s Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team made an overnight engine change following the Frenchman’s P5 in Race 1. But Vernay, who was penalised by starting Race 2 from the back, repaid his team’s work with the DHL pole for Race 3, which he converted into victory.
After Yann Ehrlacher took the Race 1 laurels, it was his fellow Frenchman Aurélien Comte’s turn to savour the limelight with his maiden victory in Race 2 to become the eighth different winner of 2018 following a brilliant drive.
Comte, in a DG PEUGEOT 308TCR, was second in Race 1 ahead of Rob Huff and Gordon Shedden, but went one better in Race 2 by beating James Thompson off the line in the reverse-grid counter. His victory means five customer racing brands have won in WTCR OSCARO.
Huff beat Frédéric Vervisch to P2 in Race 3, while Ehrlacher took over the championship lead from uncle Yvan Muller, one of several Hyundai drivers to struggle following Balance of Performance changes.
Up next is WTCR Race of Portugal from 22-24 June.