WTCR 2018: the season so far part one
With WTCR Race of Portugal getting ever closer, here’s a summary of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO season so far, starting with the all-action events in Morocco and Hungary.
WTCR AFRIQUIA Race of Morocco (7-8 April):
The WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Car Cup presented by OSCARO got off to an electrifying start on the streets of Marrakech with Gabriele Tarquini scoring a victory double.
Driving a BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR, the Italian converted his DHL Pole Position into Race 3 victory ahead of fellow world champions Yvan Muller and Thed Björk, having also triumphed in Race 1.
Four-time World Touring Car title winner Muller qualified alongside Tarquini but made a relatively slow start and moved left to block Norbert Michelisz’s BRC entry. That allowed Björk to jump both for second into Turn 1. But the Swede lost the spot when he accidentally knocked the power switch, miraculously losing just one spot to Muller.
Earlier, the reverse-grid Race 2 was won by Jean-Karl Vernay in his Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team Audi RS 3 LMS. The Frenchman headed local hero Mehdi Bennani, who claimed a popular podium in his Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI. Pepe Oriola took third having lined up on pole.
Fourth for ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda driver Yann Ehrlacher and fifth for Björk meant five different car brands filled the top five places.
WTCR Race of Hungary (28-29 April):
Gabriele Tarquini made it three WTCR OSCARO wins from six starts but only after Yann Ehrlacher and Rob Huff had registered their first victories of the season at the Hungaroring in late April.
Ehrlacher, the nephew of four-time World Touring Car champion Yvan Muller, profited from some early-race skirmishes to climb from fifth to first in the space of two corners and win Race 1 for the ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport with Esteban Guerrieri making it a 1-2 for the German squad as Norbert Michelisz completed his home podium in third.
After being unable to convert his pole into victory in Race 1, Michelisz had another shot in Race 3, only to make a sluggish getaway in comparison to Tarquini’s lightening start. Despite being a constant threat, Michelisz was never able to mount a challenge for victory, much to the disappointment of the home fans.
Yvan Muller took third, emulating his Race 2 achievement when he followed home winner Rob Huff and Hungarian wildcard Dániel Nagy.
Jean-Karl Vernay was a point-scorer in all three races but was frustrated not to be closer to the leading pace. Thed Björk also struggled for form in his Yvan Muller Racing-run Hyundai.
Visit FIAWTCR.com for a recap of what happened in Germany and Netherlands.