WTCR Race of Netherlands preview: Sand, fans and Tarzan
From the world’s toughest track to one of the world’s most famous turns, the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO is Zandvoort-bound this week (19-21 May) where the famous Tarzan corner awaits.
*100,000 expected for WTCR Race of Netherlands
*It’s Tommy Time: home hero Coronel revs up for duel in the dunes
*Prince Bernhard van Oranje makes WTCR debut as wildcard
*Max Verstappen in action at Jumbo Racedagen
Immortalised by Gilles Villeneuve following his heroic overtaking manoeuvre on Alan Jones at the 1979 Dutch Grand Prix, Tarzan – Zandvoort’s first, cambered corner – is the place to pass and be passed. “You can go easily with three people side by side,” says Dutch WTCR racer Tom Coronel.
Coronel will be one of three home-grown drivers on the WTCR OSCARO grid with wildcards Prince Bernhard van Oranje and Michael Verhagen joining him for the seaside triple-header, which forms part of the Jumbo Racedagen bill featuring demo runs by the county’s Red Bull Formula One star, Max Verstappen.
While Verstappen’s every move will be cheered by the partisan fans, the all-action WTCR OSCARO races will captivate the 100,000 spectators expected for the three-day event, which takes place over the Whitsun bank holiday weekend, with seven winners from the nine rounds held so far.
Monday’s races are live on Eurosport, while Sunday’s race will be live at wtcr.oscaro.com and the FIA WTCR/OSCARO Facebook page depending on local availability and restrictions. The three races will decide who will scoop the TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver (MVD) award for the racer landing the most points across the WTCR Race of Netherlands event.
Muller leads WTCR to Zandvoort
Yvan Muller will top the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO when the all-action series resumes at Zandvoort, located a short stroll from the North Sea. Muller, a record-breaking four-time World Touring Car champion, holds a 19-point advantage over erstwhile title pacesetter Gabriele Tarquini, who crashed twice at the Nürburgring Nordschleife last weekend. But while Tarquini suffered a weekend of woe, his fellow Hyundai i30 N TCR driver bagged a win and a third place in Germany on his first season back following his year-long retirement, while team-mate Thed Björk won Race 3. “It was not really our target to come back but for my team I did it and I can only be pleased of [the decision],” said the French legend. “We did two victories and two two pole positions, it was the perfect weekend for the team.” Björk’s success in Germany, meanwhile, has propelled the Swede to third in the table with Norbert Michelisz fourth and Yann Ehrlacher fifth. In the battle for the Teams’ title, YMR now tops BRC Racing Team with ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport third. Sébastien Loeb Racing and Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team complete the top five.
WTCRoyal: Prince Bernhard van Oranje is a wildcard…
Prince Bernhard van Oranje is one of two wildcards confirmed for WTCR Race of Netherlands. The Dutch royal family member is an experienced racer and owner of Circuit Zandvoort. The 48-year-old will drive a Bas Koeten Racing Audi RS 3 LMS. “It is unique to participate in a World Cup event against eight former world champions,” said Prince Bernhard van Oranje. “It’s ultra-close racing and we have live coverage on TV and web throughout the event. With more than 100,000 fans it’s going to be a unique experience.”
… and so is Verhagen
Dutch racer Michael Verhagen will get the chance to shine on a global stage when he contests his home round of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO. Like fellow wildcard Prince Bernhard van Oranje, Verhagen will drive a Bas Koeten Racing Audi RS 3 LMS. Currently campaigning a BMW M4 in the Dutch Supercar Challenge series, Verhagen, 30, has experience of TCR machinery from the TCR Benelux and Germany competitions, including with Bas Koeten Racing at Zandvoort last season.
Volunteers celebrated at WTCR Race of Netherlands
The vital role carried out by volunteer officials will be celebrated at WTCR Race of Netherlands as part of FIA Volunteers Weekend, which showcases the essential work of those people who give up their time to ensure motorsport events around the world take place. WTCR drivers will acknowledge the volunteers by participating in a number of promotional activities, which will be mirrored at other FIA events over the weekend including Rally de Portugal and the Berlin E-Prix.
New era takes shape
With a rulebook designed to promote corner-by-corner overtaking, a packed grid featuring four world champions and a host of national and international touring car title-winners, an abundance of young stars, three ex-Formula One drivers and seven customer racing brands, the stage is set for a thrilling spectacle at WTCR Race of Netherlands. In an intriguing twist, WTCR – the new name for the WTCC – gets three races per weekend, plus a second qualifying session. There’s also the ground-breaking TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver award, which goes to the racer scoring the most points during a weekend and live Race 1 coverage on Facebook and at wtcr.oscaro.com, website of the WTCR Series Presenting Partner partner and the world’s leading online retailer of original automotive spare parts.
Photo: Essay Produkties