WTCR race recap: #4 Netherlands
With the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO on summer vacation, here’s a reminder of what happened when the all-action championship headed to Zandvoort for the Dutch track’s fan-filled Jumbo Racedagen.
Weekend in short
*Audi-powered Vernay joins Ehrlacher and Comte as a Zandvoort winner
*Ehrlacher is TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver and new championship leader
*Home hero Max Verstappen appears on Race 2 grid with WTCR drivers
*Biggest Zandvoort weekend attendance since track hosted Dutch Grand Prix
Jean-Karl Vernay completed a memorable weekend for the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO with first in Race 3 at Zandvoort where 110,000 fans – and Dutch Formula One star Max Verstappen – attended.
Vernay’s Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team made an overnight engine change following the Frenchman’s P5 in Race 1. But the Frenchman, who was penalised by starting Race 2 from the back, repaid his team’s hard work with the DHL pole for Race 3, which he turned into victory.
After Yann Ehrlacher took the Race 1 laurels, it was his fellow Frenchman Aurélien Comte’s turn to savour the limelight with his maiden victory in Race 2 to become the eighth different winner of 2018 following a brilliant drive.
Comte, in a DG PEUGEOT 308TCR, was second in Race 1 ahead of Rob Huff and Gordon Shedden, but went one better in Race 2 by beating James Thompson off the line in the reverse-grid counter. His victory means five customer racing brands have won in WTCR OSCARO.
Huff beat Frédéric Vervisch to P2 in Race 3, while Ehrlacher took over the championship lead from uncle Yvan Muller, one of several Hyundai drivers to struggle following Balance of Performance changes.
“It was a great day, I was really motivated after what happened yesterday,” said Vernay. “Changing engines is not always nice, we knew we would have one race down and I was the only driver until this morning to score points in every race. But I said to my crew ‘don’t worry, we’re going to make pole and we’re going to win’ and we made it and this is pretty cool. The team did a great effort all night to rebuild the car, to have a good car ready for qualifying. After that I just did my job, I was pretty confident, the balance of the car was good and I just tried to push and drive well.”
DHL Pole Position Race 1: Rob Huff (GBR) Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR
Race 1 winner: Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Honda Civic Type R TCR
Race 1 fastest lap: Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Honda Civic Type R TCR
DHL Pole Position Race 2: James Thompson (GBR) Honda Civic Type R TCR
Race 2 winner: Aurélien Comte (FRA) PEUGEOT 308TCR
Race 2 fastest lap: Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA) Audi RS 3 LMS
DHL Pole Position Race 3: Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA) Audi RS 3 LMS
Race 3 winner: Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA) Audi RS 3 LMS
Race 3 fastest lap: Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA) Audi RS 3 LMS
TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy: Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Honda Civic Type R TCR
TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver: Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Honda Civic Type R TCR