WTCR @ Slovakia Ring
Tarquini leaps back into the lead
WTCR’s inaugural season becomes more thrilling and hard-fought after
each event. The races at the Slovakia Ring proved the most entertaining
so far, with the drivers delivering a great show, with countless
Just as in Vila Real, there was another giant pile
up. Not as catastrophic, but big enough to eliminate nine cars. This is
the price to pay when 26 drivers at the wheel of cars with similar
performance negotiate every corner as though it was the last turn of the
The incident at the start of Race 3 was caused by Gabriele
Tarquini, who hit Benjamin Lessennes and so triggered a chain reaction.
The Italian driver was given a drop of five positions on the grid for
the next race, but as a fortunate coincidence for him, amongst the
victims of his mistake there were some of his more dangerous competitors
in the title fight: Jean-Karl Vernay and Esteban Guerrieri were both
out of the race, while Yann Ehrlacher rejoined, but did not score. The
icing on the cake for Tarquini was Yvan Muller’s retirement; the
Frenchman had escaped the carnage, but lost a front wheel just before
the end of the safety car period.
Therefore, Tarquini retained the
lead in the standings that he had retaken the day before by winning Race
2, his fourth victory of the season. The BRC Racing man has now scored
202 points, three more than Muller. But the title fight is not limited
to the pair. In fact, the first nine drivers in the classification are
covered by 72 points. Considering that a maximum of 87 points is at
stake in each event and how easy it is to have a scoreless weekend, the
battle is still wide open.
This was proved in Slovakia by Pepe Oriola
and Norbert Michelisz; they each claimed their first WTCR victory –
increasing the number of race winners to 11 from 18 races – and
relaunched their bids for the title.
The results of Race 2 and 3
remain suspended, pending an appeal lodged by Münnich Motorsport and
Boutsen Ginion Racing against the exclusion of their Honda cars for the
same technical infringement that resulted in the disqualification of
three Hyundai cars from the first Qualifying.
WTCR’s next event will be at Ningbo in China on September 29/30.