RACE 1 REPORT
FIA WTCR RACE OF
Guia, 15-18 November 2018
WTCR – FIA World
Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO, Rounds 28-30 of 30
MULLER KEEPS WTCR TITLE DREAM ALIVE WITH FIGHTING SECOND
IN MACAU AS VERNAY WINS
finishes fourth but points lead cut to 33
*Vernay up to
third in standings with street triumph
*Souza is top
wildcard in Suncity Group Guia Race
Jean-Karl Vernay scored his fourth victory of the WTCR – FIA World
Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO season after defeating Yvan Muller
and Rob Huff in Race 1 at WTCR Race of Macau this afternoon, a result
that means Muller is now 33 points Gabriele Tarquini in the title
The Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team driver got the better of Muller following
a safety car restart to take the lead, having started fourth on the
grid at the famous 6.12-kilometre street circuit. He then soaked up
pressure from his fellow Frenchman to secure the win, as Huff completed
the podium having started from the DHL Pole Position.
WTCR OSCARO points leader Tarquini was fourth for BRC Racing Team after
starting seventh. The fight for the inaugural title now comes down to a
two-way duel between former world champions Tarquini and Muller in
Races 2 and 3 on Sunday.
“It was a good race and I’m really happy for our sponsors and the
team,” said Vernay. “We worked hard to prepare, and the plan was to
make a good start, then hope for a safety car. I had a lot of pressure
from Yvan and Rob, whose cars were faster. Now I’m already focused on
the races tomorrow, because the job is not finished. But we won today!”
YMR driver Muller made a great start as Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Huff
lost out from his first-place start. The white Hyundai won the drag
down to Lisboa to lead as Vernay followed him through and further
demoted Huff, while Tarquini made great progress to rise from seventh
But behind them there was contact at Lisboa, as Audi Sport Team
Comtoyou’s Frédéric Vervisch and Sébastien Loeb Racing’s Mehdi Bennani
made contact, with Kevin Ceccon’s Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta
TCR also getting caught up in the incident.
Ceccon would retire with a puncture, but Vervisch and Bennani would
continue. In a separate incident, Denis Dupont’s Comtoyou Audi was
forced out after contact with Aurélien Comte’s PEUGEOT 308TCR, and the
safety car was called upon to pause the action.
At the restart on lap three, Vernay got a fantastic run through
Mandarin to take the lead from Muller, as Huff and Tarquini made it a
four-way train at the front. Behind them, there was further contact at
Lisboa between Thed Björk and John Filippi, which left the Team OSCARO
by Campos Racing Cupra TCR with damage. Björk continued in P11.
Then on lap five, the race was stopped after Gordon Shedden’s Audi
Sport Leopard Lukoil Team entry, which had started on the back row
after a 10-place grid penalty for an infringement in qualifying, nosed
hard into a barrier at Police and blocked the track.
The race restarted behind the safety car and when the green flags waved
on lap seven, Vernay had four laps to hold off Muller and Huff, as
Tarquini dropped off the trio to secure a safe fourth. But neither
Muller nor Huff could get close enough on the fastest part of the
circuit to make a move for the lead, and Vernay prevailed.
BRC Racing Team’s Norbert Michelisz finished behind his team-mate
Tarquini to take fifth, ahead of ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport’s
Esteban Guerrieri, whose Honda Civic Type R TCR lost out at the start
from its front-row grid slot. The Argentinian had to work hard to get
the better of Team OSCARO by Campos Racing’s Pepe Oriola to claim
sixth. Michelisz, meanwhile, reported handling issues following contact
from Bennani at Lisboa on lap one.
Timo Scheider, who will start the reverse-grid Race 2 from the DHL Pole
Position on Sunday, scored his best WTCR OSCARO finish to date with
eighth – his first points – ahead of the Alfa Romeo of Team Mulsanne’s
Luigi Ferrara, who also scored for the first time. DG Sport
Compétition’s Mato Homola completed the top 10 in his PEUGEOT.
Björk continued in P11 to the flag, while Vervisch made it home in P12
after his incident with Bennani, who finished in P15.
The best of the Macau wildcards was Champ Motorsport’s Filipe Souza who
brought his Audi home in P18.
Race 2 of WTCR Race of Macau takes place on Sunday morning at 8h20
local time, with Race 3 scheduled to follow at 11h00.
1 PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
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