WTCR race recap: #5 Portugal
It’s nearly the end of summer vacation time in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO. Here’s a reminder of what happened when the championship headed to the streets of Vila Real in late June.
Weekend in short
*Björk hits back from huge crash to triumph in street racing spectacular
*Teamwork to the fore after multi-car accident affects Race 1
*Homola scores maiden win after holding off Race 1 victor Muller in ‘joker’ lap decider
*Oriola is TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver with 50 points
Thed Björk proved he was the Real deal with the ultimate comeback performance in WTCR OSCARO, winning Race 3 on the streets of Vila Real as Mato Homola became the ninth different winner in 15 all-action rounds by triumphing in Race 2.
Björk was involved in the multi-car accident in Race 1, his Hyundai i30 N TCR momentarily catching fire and requiring his YMR team to work through the night to repair it for Second Qualifying. Showing no ill effects from the crash, Björk landed the DHL Pole Position for Race 3 and took win number two of 2018.
Homola’s moment in the spotlight came in Race 2. Starting third on the grid aboard a DG Sport Compétition PEUGEOT 308TCR, the Slovak belied his lack of Vila Real track knowledge to defeat Race 1 winner Yvan Muller, who waited until the penultimate lap to take his ‘joker’ lap but was unable to stop Homola from sweeping ahead as he re-joined.
Muller’s Race 1 victory and second in Race 2 put him back on top of the WTCR standings at the halfway point of the season ahead of Gabriele Tarquini. Pepe Oriola impressed with podiums in Race 1 and Race 2.
“The team did a fantastic job,” said Björk. “They repaired the whole car all through the night and worked all night. The first lap I did this morning in Q1 they were cheering, it was so fantastic. I had a great feeling all day and forget about the big accident. It was such a nice car, unbelievable. I had the speed. But you see Norbert, he damaged his hand. It was a tough weekend in many ways. I can only be happy to win, but I am also happy to be here in Vila Real because the people here are fantastic. The ‘joker’ lap adds spice for this track because it is so difficult to overtake. So I think it is good with the joker.”
DHL Pole Position Race 1: Rob Huff (GBR) Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR
Race 1 winner: Yvan Muller (FRA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 1 fastest lap: Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
DHL Pole Position Race 2: Gordon Shedden (GBR) Audi RS 3 LMS
Race 2 winner: Mato Homola (SVK) PEUGEOT 308TCR
Race 2 fastest lap: Thed Björk (SWE) Hyundai i30 N TCR
DHL Pole Position Race 3: Thed Björk (SWE) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 3 winner: Thed Björk (SWE) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 3 fastest lap: Thed Björk (SWE) Hyundai i30 N TCR
TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy: Thed Björk (SWE) Hyundai i30 N TCR
TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver: Pepe Oriola (ESP) Cupra TCR