WTCR Race of Netherlands essentials
The battle for glory in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO resumes at Circuit Zandvoort in The Netherlands this week (19-21 May). Here’s some useful information ahead of the duel in the dunes.
ZANDVOORT IN 100 WORDS
The most northerly venue on the 2018 calendar, the inclusion of Zandvoort on the WTCR roster for the Jumbo Racedagen featuring Max Verstappen, brings world touring racing back to The Netherlands for the first time since 2007. And the timing of the race couldn’t be more appropriate with 2018 marking the circuit’s 70th anniversary. Once home to the Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort’s motorsport roots go back to 1939 when a street race was organised in the seaside town. It was the catalyst needed for the mayor to invest in a permanent track, construction of which began following World War II.
WHO’S ON THE GRID?
World Touring Car champions: Thed Björk, Rob Huff, Yvan Muller, Gabriele Tarquini
WTCC Trophy winners: Mehdi Bennani, Tom Coronel, Norbert Michelisz
WTCC race winners: Yann Ehrlacher, Esteban Guerrieri, Gianni Morbidelli, Pepe Oriola
British Touring Car champions: Fabrizio Giovanardi, Gordon Shedden, James Thompson
TCR title winners: Aurélien Comte, Benjamin Lessennes, Jean-Karl Vernay
Young racing hopefuls: Denis Dupont, John Filippi, Mato Homola, Norbert Nagy, Aurélien Panis, Zsolt Szabó
International racers: Nathanaël Berthon, Frédéric Vervisch
Wildcards: Prince Bernhard van Oranje, Michael Verhagen
FIVE TO WATCH
1 Tom Coronel: The hugely popular, hugely charismatic Dutchman will be hoping for a big haul of points at his home race having endured a challenging start to his WTCR campaign in his DHL-backed Honda.
2 Frédéric Vervisch: With points – and podiums – now in the bag following a strong WTCR Race of Germany weekend on the back of a difficult opening sequence of races, Dutch-speaking Belgian Vervisch heads to Zandvoort on a high for Audi Sport Team Comtoyou.
3 Benjamin Lessennes: His fourth place in Race 3 at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, a track he’d never driven on previously, underlined his potential. And while learning is key for the 18-year-old, Zandvoort is the only venue on the calendar where he’s raced at previously, so expect big things.
4 Norbert Michelisz: Several top drivers lost ground in the WTCR OSCARO title race in Germany last time out. Norbert Michelisz was one of them and he will be keen to make amends at Zandvoort where he was a winner in TCR Benelux in 2016.
5 Gordon Shedden (pictured): Frustrated by his time penalty in Germany, the three-time British Touring Car champion will be eager to put on a strong showing for Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team at a venue where he tested back in March.
WEEKEND FORMAT EXPLAINED
In a major change to the previous WTCC race weekend format, each WTCR event will consist of three races – an increase from the previous two plus an additional qualifying session. The points allocation has been changed as follows:
WTCR RACE OF NETHERLANDS IN NUMBERS
7: There have been seven different winners from the opening nine races, while WTCR OSCARO drivers share seven world titles between them.
5: Of the WTCR Race of Netherlands line-up, five were in action at Zandvoort when it staged its one and only FIA World Touring Car Championship event in 2007. They were Tom Coronel, Rob Huff, Yvan Muller, Gabriele Tarquini and James Thompson.
11: Eleven different nationalities will be represented at WTCR Race of Netherlands.
24: All-season drivers will be permitted to use 24 Yokohama tyres at WTCR Race of Netherlands.
1m45.925s: Italian Giacomo Altoè holds the race lap record in a TCR car at Zandvoort. Driving a Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, the Italian set his mark last October.
1: The first race on the permanent Zandvoort layout took place on 7 August 1948, almost a decade on from the town’s inaugural street racing event.
2: Zandvoort’s layout from 1948-1989 featured 19 turns over a 4.252-kilometre lap. The current layout has six corners less but a longer 4.307-kilometre lap.
3: Apart from 1972, Zandvoort was a permanent fixture on the Formula One calendar from 1958 until 1985 when Niki Lauda won from P10 on the grid, the Austrian’s final grand prix victory.
4: The Marlboro Masters of Formula 3 was one of Zandvoort’s big success stories from 1991 onwards with Lewis Hamilton (2005) and Max Verstappen (2014) among the notable winners.
5: Zandvoort’s one and only World Touring Car Championship race in 2007 ended in wins for Alain Menu and Gabriele Tarquini and coincided with Tiago Monteiro’s debut in the series.
WHERE TO WATCH THE WTCR
In a significant move First Qualifying and Race 1 will be live on Facebook in most countries, plus at wtcr.oscaro.com in Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and USA. Eurosport will broadcast live coverage of Second Qualifying, Race 2 and Race 3, plus highlights of First Qualifying and Race 1. All qualifying sessions and races will be available on Eurosport Player. Live coverage will also be broadcast on Fox Sports (Latin America), J SPORTS (Japan), M4 Sport (Hungary), OSN (Middle East and North Africa) and 2M in Morocco. QIE Live – one of China’s largest live sports streaming platforms with one million active daily users – will stream all remaining WTCR OSCARO events as they happen with the coverage including bespoke content designed to appeal to fans who have yet to experience the exciting on-track action from the WTCR. RTL 7 in The Netherlands will broadcast extensive highlights.