RACE 1 REPORT
FIA WTCR RACE OF
International Speedpark, 28-30 September 2018
WTCR – FIA World
Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO, Rounds 19-21 of 30
THREE-D BJÖRK! SWEDE MAKES IT A WTCR WIN TREBLE WITH CHINA
ace dominates at Ningbo for Yvan Muller’s top team
Vervisch to second place as contact frustrates home hero Ma
championship lead with determined drive
Thed Björk took a lights-to-flag victory in Race 1 at WTCR Race of
China-Ningbo, but the action was frenetic behind the YMR driver at the
Ningbo International Speedpark this afternoon.
Björk converted his DHL Pole Position from the lights for his third win
in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO, as
ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport’s Esteban Guerrieri got the better of
front row starter Frédéric Vervisch on the first lap to claim second.
Audi Sport Team Comtoyou driver Vervisch withheld WTCR points leader
Gabriele Tarquini to complete the podium.
The victory completed a clean sweep for Björk’s Hyundai i30 N TCR at
WTCR Race of China-Ningbo so far, having topped both free practice
sessions, claimed the DHL Pole Position and conquered the first race.
“It feels so good to do it,” said the Swede. “The race was not so easy,
but I felt in my body that I could win it. My little boy is at home
with an ear infection, so he is fighting and this is for him.”
Björk made a perfect getaway at the start to claim a lead he would not
lose, but Vervisch was under immediate pressure, with Guerrieri –
fourth on the grid – pulling a convincing move for second place. Fellow
second row starter Norbert Michelisz also passed the Audi RS 3 LMS, but
the BRC Racing Team driver was soon in trouble with powersteering
failure and retired on lap two.
His team-mate Tarquini, who started ninth after a five-place grid
penalty earned at the previous round, made strong early progress and
closed in on Vervisch towards the end of the 13-lap race, but could not
get close enough to make a move for the podium.
The Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI TCRs of Mehdi Bennani and
Rob Huff ran nose-to-tail throughout to claim fifth and sixth. Huff
made a number of radio calls requesting his team-mate be moved aside,
but Bennani was allowed to race and held off the British driver to the
Björk’s team-mate and boss Yvan Muller rose from P13 on the grid to
finish in P7, ahead of his nephew Yann Ehrlacher in his ALL-INKL.COM
Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR. Comtoyou Audi pair Denis
Dupont and Aurélien Panis battled hard for P9, finishing in that order
to complete the top 10.
Double DTM champion Timo Scheider just missed out on WTCR points on his
front-wheel drive touring car debut with a strong P11 for ALL-INKL.COM
Münnich Motorsport, having started in P18. Kevin Ceccon was P12 in his
Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR.
Team OSCARO by Campos Racing’s Pepe Oriola came home in P13, ahead of a
frustrated Gordon Shedden. But the Scot’s Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil
team-mate Jean-Karl Vernay faired even worse, pulling off into retirement
on lap two due to driveshaft failure. Zengő Motorsport’s Zsolt Szabó
was another to be disappointed after qualifying an excellent seventh,
retiring his Cupra TCR with damage on lap three.
China's Ma Qing Hua finished his first WTCR race for Boutsen Ginion
Racing in P19, just behind Fabrizio Giovanardi’s Alfa Romeo, having
suffered early contact.
The second qualifying session for WTCR Race of China-Ningbo takes place
at 09h00 local time on Sunday morning, with Race 2 scheduled to start
1 press conference transcript
standings after Round 19 of 30