WTCR heroes: #2 Gabriele Tarquini
FIAWTCR.com is highlighting a hero of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup. This week it’s the turn of BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse driver Gabriele Tarquini.
Date of birth: 02/03/1962
Car: Hyundai i30 N TCR
WTCR starts: 59
WTCR wins: 7
WTCR pole positions: 2
WTCR laps led: 99
WTCR points: 528
Who is he? A former World Karting champion and ex-Formula One driver with 38 starts to his name, Tarquini has been a touring car titan for more than two decades. His technical prowess and a no-nonsense driving style are key attributes. After winning the British Touring Car Championship in 1994, Tarquini took the European series by storm, claiming six wins on his way to 2003 title joy. He became WTCC champion with SEAT in 2009. Although there would be no more WTCC titles, the Italian was a race winner in six of the seven seasons that followed and claimed the inaugural WTCR crown in 2018.
What makes him a hero? At 58, Tarquini’s longevity is to be hugely admired. But as well as still going, Tarquini is going strong. Having played a key role in developing the Hyundai i30 N TCR into a winner after signing for the make as its development driver in 2017, Tarquini made history in April 2018 when he won the first WTCR race, triumphing from the DHL Pole Position in Marrakech. After winning the title that season, Tarquini was a double race winner in 2019 as he took on a supporting role to team-mate Norbert Michelisz. He’s planning to reclaim his crown in 2020.
Who are his heroes? “If I must choose two it’s Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna. I raced with them, especially with Senna. I spent some seasons, with different results, but at the same time we were on the same track and he was somebody I liked a lot. I started knowing Senna from karting. He was racing in Italy at my time. And Michael because we shared a lot of time outside racing, especially football, because he loves football. We have this drivers’ national team in Italy, and I am one of the people who made it and we had a very big push when Michael joined us. I spent a lot of time with him and I would be very pleased to share the podium with Senna and Schumacher.”