WTCR Race of China build-up: 2018 recap
WTCR Race of China signals the start of part two of the 2019 WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO. This is what happened the last time the series visited the Ningbo International Speedpark.
Weekend in short
*Björk scores victory double to narrow Tarquini’s title advantage to eight points
*Race 2 winner Muller just one point further back behind YMR team-mate Björk
*Dupont flies to first podium as Comtoyou Audi squad excels
*Podium in Race 2 signals Bennani’s return to form
Weekend report: Thed Björk delivered a WTCR OSCARO masterclass with two poles and two wins as the China double-header began in spectacular fashion from 28-29 September 2018.
The Swede was in sublime form with victories in Race 1 and 3, while team-mate and team boss Yvan Muller bagged the spoils in Race 2. After finishing fourth in Race 1, early contact in Race 2 left BRC Racing Team’s Gabriele Tarquini on the sidelines. However, he bounced back to finish second to Björk in Race 3 to ensure the title lead remains his.
Tarquini’s cause was aided when Muller retired from Race 3 with suspension damage and a puncture following contact.
Esteban Guerrieri was a double podium visitor for ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport after two strong displays, although the Argentine was denied a third top-three when contact with Norbert Michelisz early in Race 3 forced him out.
Mehdi Bennani signalled his return to form following his huge crash at WTCR Race of Portugal with second place in the reverse-grid Race 2. Denis Dupont helped to ensure there were four different customer racing brands in the top four in Race 2 before landing his maiden WTCR / OSCARO podium with a fine drive from sixth to third in Race 3. Team-mate Frédéric Vervisch was third in Race 1.
Elsewhere, double DTM champion Timo Scheider just missed out on a top-10 twice as his Münnich team worked flat out to ensure Yann Ehrlacher could start Race 3 following damage sustained in a collision with China’s Ma Qing Hua on the final lap of Race 2. Ma, who like Scheider was making his WTCR debut, showed plenty of promise but the contact with Ehrlacher was too great to make the start of Race 3.
Winning quote: “It was a fantastic race from the start, it felt so good in the window [of performance] all the time and I just had to drive,” said Björk, following his Race 3 victory. “The goal was to get back [in the title fight], be on the edge and see where I can go.”