WTCR race recap: #6 Slovakia*
Summer vacation is over in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO. Ahead of battle resuming at WTCR Race of China-Ningbo later this month, this is what happened when the Slovakia Ring hosted the action in mid-July.
Weekend in short
*Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini hands Race 3 winner’s trophy to Michelisz
*Oriola and Tarquini also triumph as Tarquini takes title lead by three points
*Vervisch beats Björk to Race 3 podium in photo-finish
*WTCR season so far: 11 winning drivers, six customer racing brands victorious
Norbert Michelisz topped off an action-packed weekend with his first win of 2018 following a thrilling Race 3 as Pepe Oriola and Gabriele Tarquini also claimed a win apiece.
Oriola and Michelisz, who partners Tarquini in the Hyundai-powered BRC Racing Team, became winners number 10 and 11 of the season respectively, while Oriola’s success for Cupra in Race 1 means six customer racing brands have won races.
Tarquini headed into the summer at the top of the standings, albeit a slender three points ahead of Yvan Muller with Michelisz firmly in contention in third, closely followed by Yann Ehrlacher and Jean-Karl Vernay, who beat Tarquini to second in Race 1 behind Oriola. Tarquini was also the winner of the TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy and TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver.
In a weekend of firsts, Norbert Nagy scored his and Zengő Motorsport’s maiden podium with second in Race 2, sandwiched by Tarquini and Muller. Fabrizio Giovanardi claimed Team Mulsanne’s first points with fifth in Race 1.
New team-mate Kevin Ceccon was sixth in Race 3 on his debut. Denis Dupont took his first points with eighth in Race 2. Frédéric Vervisch beat Thed Björk to third in a Race 3 photo-finish.
“I’ve been waiting for this for some races now,” said Michelisz. “The weekend didn’t start the way we wanted. The feeling with the car was quite good, but not having the proper starting position for the first race made me really disappointed. But we managed to turn it around with the second qualifying and the third race today. I’m really happy and there’s a big relief from my side. Having won the first race, there is some pressure now off my shoulders and I really hope this is the start of a turnaround for me in terms of the championship fight. There have been a lot of ups and downs throughout the season, but going into the summer break with a boost I have from the atmosphere from this race makes me happy.”
DHL Pole Position Race 1: Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 1 winner: Pepe Oriola (ESP) Cupra TCR
Race 1 fastest lap: Pepe Oriola (ESP) Cupra TCR
DHL Pole Position Race 2: Norbert Nagy (Cupra TCR)
Race 2 winner: Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 2 fastest lap: Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
DHL Pole Position Race 3: Norbert Michelisz (HUN) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 3 winner: Norbert Michelisz (HUN) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 3 fastest lap: Norbert Michelisz (HUN) Hyundai i30 N TCR
TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy: Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver: Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
*The results of Race 2 and Race 3 remain provisional subject to an ongoing appeal process.