FIA WTCR RACE OF
International Street Circuit, 5-7 October 2018
WTCR – FIA World
Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO, Rounds 22-24 of 30
representatives in attendance:
François Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events, WTCR OSCARO promoter
Thed Björk, YMR
Denis Dupont, Audi Sport Team Comtoyou
Ma Qing Hua, Boutsen Ginion Racing
Timo Scheider, ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport
What are your first impressions of the Wuhan track and how important is
it to be racing in China’s car manufacturing hub?
As I am sure you will agree, everybody who has been here over the last
three days will have been impressed with the set up of the paddock and
the newly resurfaced track. So firstly I would like to congratulate
CAMF and the local authorities of Wuhan for all they have done to put
on such an event for the WTCR. But it’s more than an event, it’s a
festival of motorsport with eight championships involved and
practically every category on four wheels in China in action during the
Golden Week celebrations here in Wuhan. Putting on a street race is the
most difficult exercise for an organiser and promoter, particularly
during Golden Week when suppliers and contractors are not freely
available, but I hope this festival becomes an iconic motorsport event
in China and attracts international interest for years to come. For the
fans this festival offers everything, with racing, drifting, stunts and
even music concerts. I hope it will be very popular event this
weekend. As promoter of the WTCR we are happy to give this event and
Wuhan strong international exposure. Many people outside China have
heard of Wuhan because of the car manufacturing industry, but it’s not
as widely known as Beijing and Shanghai. The world-wide coverage the
WTCR will bring this event will help to put Wuhan further on the map.
We were very disappointed when we found out very late in the day that
the Saturday and Sunday at Ningbo would be working days due to the
Golden Week holidays and would result in such a low spectator
attendance. It was embarrassing for our teams to race in these
conditions and I apologise for this. But Ningbo did produce plenty of
action on track and the WTCR comes to Wuhan with the top three drivers
in the championship separated by nine points. I wish everybody a good
event at Wuhan and look forward to see that street circuit in action
with best international touring car drivers on the grid.
Turning to Thed Björk, after winning twice in Ningbo having claimed two
pole positions, are we going to see another dominant performance from
you this weekend or will you give somebody else a chance here in Wuhan?
First of all, it’s nice to be here. I am very impressed coming to Wuhan
to see the street circuit you have made here. It’s very nice, very
smooth with a lot of effort going into it, as François said. So it
feels fantastic and, for me, going from a really good event in Ningbo,
for sure it’s not easy to repeat with all these fast drivers that we
have here. I will do my best to do this but for sure they will try to
Now Thed you’re not just a driver because the other night you were
helping your team unload the freight from the Ningbo race, even driving
a forklift truck when I didn’t even realise you had a forklift truck
I grew up with trucks and cranes, mobile construction cranes was my
life before I started motor racing. It was very easy and very fun to
help the team. It was probably more intense than in Race 3 with the
Turning next to Timo Scheider, the double DTM champion no less. One
week ago you’d never raced in WTCR or driven a front-wheel-drive car.
Now you’re preparing for your second event but what was your debut
weekend actually like?
First of all, I have to say I got a warm welcome from everyone in the
paddock so thanks for this. I’m still the new kid on the block, still
learning a lot. Ningbo was my first taste and I guess they treat me
quite right in the race I guess and the rest is down to me. I have to
improve myself step by step and this is what I am doing actually now.
The learning curve is still quite steep and this is what I am trying to
do this weekend as well.
What did you think of the level of the WTCR drivers – you’ve obviously
done so many races during your career?
The competition is really hard and super-close. I did not expect the
level as I saw it and found it in Ningbo. But honestly somehow I
expected it would be hard for me anyway because joining any
championship in the world in the middle of the season you’re not ending
up somewhere in the front. But I have to say the competition we have in
WTCR is really, really high. I’m aiming for points and step by step
probably in to the top five but let’s see. I’ll try to give these guys
a hard time and that will be hard anyway.
Turning next to Denis Dupont, coming off the back of an amazing weekend
in Ningbo where you scored your first podium having worked so hard
since the start of the season, what did that feel like to be on the
podium in the WTCR?
Of course it was a good moment, a good moment for the team because
we’ve been working hard since the beginning of the season but the luck
was not always on our side. But after a very good summer for us where
we worked a lot on the car finding small stuff, we could do a very good
weekend. There was the podium but the whole weekend has been very good
with a good pace and that was most important.
There’s obviously been no time for you to return to Belgium since
Ningbo so what have you been doing during the last few days in Wuhan?
I stayed mostly with the team, helping a little bit with the unloading
and so on. But I didn’t do much, a little bit Ningbo, a little bit
Wuhan, I didn’t go to Shanghai like Timo for instance. I stayed with
the team the whole time.
Turning next to China’s Ma Qing Hua, now with the experience of one
WTCR weekend under your belt what can you do here in Wuhan?
Well first of all I’m very happy to be here in Wuhan. Last weekend is
my first race in the WTCR and for sure it’s very hard and very
challenging weekend for me. For the learning procedure it’s quite so
far, so well, I’m learning quickly but for sue the races are not the
same and last weekend was a bit unlucky for me because of the damaged
car. It’s more confident for me now because I have more knowledge of
and more mileage in these cars and of course to compete with those
drivers I hope this weekend we can have a better starting point. Of
course this track looks like it will be more challenging for the race,
there’s much overtaking points and a lot of things can happen. I hope
we can enjoy the race together and fight together.
Only Rob Huff has prior experience to Wuhan and that was before it’s
modification for this year so what knowledge do you have of the track,
have you managed to do some track walks and what do you think of the
It’s pretty much like a wide street circuit. This one has more
overtaking opportunity. For the race it will be very tight and I think
we have to be careful. The track improvement will be quite a big step
so we have to look after session by session. But after the FP sessions
I can tell more to you.
Liang Hanwen, China Grand Motorsports to Thed Björk:
What’s your strategy for a street race, survival or just flat out?
I’m second in the points, it’s very close and I got a lot of points in
Ningbo but coming to a street circuit really you have to get as much
points as you can because it’s so touch in the races. Obviously it will
be flat out in qualifying where you can repair the car for the race.
But in the race you also have to be clever on a street circuit I think.
It will be very, very tough to get the points here but it’s the same
for everybody. I think the track is really good for overtaking from
what I have seen and I guess it will be very good racing.
Liang Hanwen, China Grand Motorsports to Timo Scheider:
We’re at a karting track for the press conference so what can you
advise to young drivers looking at coming into the sport – would it be
For sure karting is always the best school you can do and I did it
myself for a long time. In terms of racing this is the best you can
give a kid on their way to motor racing. But in the end of the day
there are several ways to grow up and find the right direction
depending in their ideas and their future ideas and what thoughts their
fathers and families have sometimes, which can be the way. But for sure
WTCR is good for upcoming racing drivers because driving a front-wheel
car is for sure something completely different but get used to it and