RACE 1 REPORT
JVCKENWOOD RACE OF JAPAN
26-28 October 2018
WTCR – FIA World
Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO, Rounds 25-27 of 30
CECCON CHARGES TO FIRST WTCR OSCARO WIN IN JAPAN
Alfa Romeo man edges DHL pole-sitter Comte
victory makes him winner number 14 in 2018
*All seven WTCR
customer racing brands have now won races
brands in top six at Super Suzuka
completes podium to go joint top of standings with Tarquini
Kevin Ceccon underlined his huge promise with a stunning triumph on his
Suzuka debut, claiming victory in Race 1 at WTCR JVCKENWOOD Race of
Japan to become winner number 14 of 2018, such is the wide-open nature
of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO.
Driving an Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR by Romeo Ferraris, the Team
Mulsanne-run Italian started second but overtook DHL pole-sitter
Aurélien Comte on the run to the chicane at the end of the second lap.
Keeping his composure during two safety car periods, the 25-year-old
held on for victory, radioing his team two corners from home to ensure
they were in position to celebrate their momentous win.
“We are quite quick in Japan!” said a delighted Ceccon after stepping
from his Alfa. “I had a good, fair fight with Comte and was able to
take the lead, then there were so many safety cars! It’s an amazing
weekend for me, for the team and for Alfa Romeo. We just have to keep
going tomorrow. I start in P10 in Race 2, then in Race 3 I’ll try and
do this again from pole position.”
Behind Comte (DG Sport Compétition PEUGEOT 308TCR), Yvan Muller kept
Esteban Guerrieri at bay to claim third place in his YMR Hyundai i30 N
TCR and join Gabriele Tarquini (BRC Racing Hyundai) at the top of the
standings with five races of the season remaining.
Race 1 recap:
It’s Kev-win Ceccon as youngster scores maiden WTCR victory
Starting second on the grid, Kevin Ceccon followed DHL Pole Position
starter Aurélien Comte away from the lights, then picked up a great run
out of the fast 130R left-hander on lap two to take a lead he would not
The first safety car interruption followed on lap three after Thed
Björk clipped the tyre stack at the chicane when trying to regain a
lost place to Gordon Shedden. The second, on lap eight, was for Yann
Ehrlacher’s beached ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R
TCR which had gone off at 130R having already clashed with Rob Huff’s
Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR. But on both occasions Ceccon handled the
restarts perfectly to protect his lead and win from Comte by 0.728
Yvan Muller completed the podium, the Frenchman maintaining his
starting position. He is now tied on points with Gabriele Tarquini at
the top of the championship table.
Muller held off ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri,
the Argentinian finishing fourth despite being one of six drivers to
incur three-place grid penalties after qualifying. Mehdi Bennani’s
Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen was fifth ahead of Audi Sport Leopard
Lukoil Team’s Jean-Karl Vernay, meaning six different customer racing
brands filled the top six places.
Comte’s team-mate Mato Homola rose from ninth on the grid to seventh
ahead of Tarquini’s BRC Racing Team Hyundai, with Audi Sport Team
Comtoyou’s Frédéric Vervisch and Team OSCARO by Campos Racing’s Cupra
TCR of Pepe Oriola completing the top 10.
Norbert Michelisz just missed out on points in P11 for BRC Racing Team,
with Nathanaël Berthon, Aurélien Panis and Team Mulsanne’s WTCR
debutant Luigi Ferrara following next.
Tiago Monteiro was P15 at the end of his heroic return to action
following his recovery from serious injuries, the Boutsen Ginion Racing
Honda finishing ahead of Denis Dupont’s Audi.
Well done Tiago!
Honda’s ‘dreamer’ completes return from injury with top 15 finish
Tiago Monteiro placed 15 on his comeback from serious injury, revealing
afterwards that he thought he was dreaming as he headed to the grid for
the start. Monteiro hadn’t raced since WTCC Race of Argentina in July
2017 but he returned with P15 in his Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda Civic.
“It’s a great feeling to be back,” he said. “As I’ve said before, the
whole weekend has been very emotional and very exciting and I’m
enjoying the moment really. The warm-up lap was actually very tense, it
was quite strange. I felt like I was almost dreaming, like I wasn’t
really here and at the same time it felt like it was two or three weeks
ago. It was very surreal. Then in the race it felt normal, you’re doing
your stuff. I just did my race, to understand the car, tried to push
and have fun. And I did. I enjoyed it.”
Race 2 at WTCR JVCKENWOOD Race of Japan takes place on Sunday at 11h05
local time, with Race 3 following at 12h30. Pepe Oriola starts on pole
for Race 2 with Ceccon lining up at the front for the final race of the
weekend. Click here to
find out where to watch the WTCR OSCARO race action from Suzuka.