RACE 1 REPORT
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
VERNAY IS THE WUHAN MAN AS FIVE WTCR BRANDS FILL TOP SEVEN
PLACES IN CHINA
*Five customer racing brands feature in first seven following
sensational street racing
it an Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team 1-3 with maiden podium
Ehrlacher reignites title ambitions in fighting fourth
*China’s Ma Qing
Hua battles to P11 as Golden Week celebrations continue
Jean-Karl Vernay converted his DHL Pole Position into a strong victory
in Race 1 at WTCR Race of China-Wuhan as five customer racing brands
finished in the top seven places at the Wuhan International Street
Circuit this afternoon.
The Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team driver from France headed fellow
front-row starter Pepe Oriola in his Team OSCARO by Campos Racing Cupra
TCR, as Vernay’s team-mate Gordon Shedden overcame Yann Ehrlacher to
claim his first podium in the all-action WTCR – FIA World Touring Car
Cup presented by OSCARO in third.
“I was focused on my start to make sure it was good,” said Vernay, who
led into Turn 1 and maintained his advantage all the way to the
chequered flag for his third win of the season. “I managed to stay
focused – it’s a technical track, it’s tricky and it’s easy to make a
mistake. Now I will try and do it again tomorrow.”
Vernay also paid tribute to his British team-mate Shedden. “It’s a good
day for the whole team and also for Gordon. It had been hard for him,
but we have stayed confident in him and now he’s back where he should
As Vernay and Oriola made clean starts to maintain their grid positions
through the opening corners, there was plenty of shuffling behind them.
Denis Dupont, who started fourth in his Comtoyou Audi RS 3 LMS, ran
wide and at the first turn, rejoined and then tagged team-mate
Nathanaël Berthon, who did a great job to hold a big moment.
Fast starting Ehrlacher rose from seventh on the grid to complete the
first lap in third place, from Shedden (fifth on the grid), Comtoyou’s
Frédéric Vervisch and a recovering Berthon. Dupont had dropped to P11.
The Audi R8 V10 RWS Coupé safety car was called to intervene on
lap four when Tom Coronel’s Boutsen Ginion Racing Honda Civic Type R
TCR ran into Fabrizio Giovanardi’s Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta
TCR causing heavy damage to both cars. Giovanardi lost a rear wheel,
while Coronel retired to the pits with repairs required to his Honda’s
front end. The pair are enduring tough weekends following their
separate crashes in the first practice session on Friday.
At the restart on lap seven Vernay and Oriola once again sprinted away
as Shedden piled pressure on Ehrlacher’s ALL-INKL.COM Münnich
Motorsport Honda. The three-time British Touring Car champion chased
his prey hard and made his decisive move on lap 12, as Vervisch joined
the battle. He would now chase Ehrlacher, but the Honda driver would
hold off the Audi to claim fourth. However, his rapid getaway was
adjudged to have been too rapid and he received a 30-second penalty for
a jumped start.
Aurélien Comte drove well in his DG Sport Compétition PEUGEOT 308TCR to
finish what would become fifth from ninth on the grid, while Kevin
Ceccon delivered an encouraging sixth place for Team Mulsanne in his
Alfa Romeo, gaining two positions from his qualifying placing to ensure
a wide diversity of racing brands in the top positions.
ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport’s Honda-powered Esteban Guerrieri had
to work hard for his eventual seventh place after pressure from
Berthon, who had lost further places on lap eight when a challenge on
Vervisch and Shedden ahead of him cost him dear.
Behind Berthon, his Comtoyou team-mate Aurélien Panis was ninth ahead
of the team’s third Audi of Dupont who inherited P10, although it was a
disappointing return after such a strong qualifying by the RACB
National Team member.
Boutsen Ginion Racing’s Chinese driver Ma Qing Hua finished a battling
P11 after an entertaining duel with the Sébastien Loeb Racing
Volkswagen Golf GTI TCRs of Mehdi Bennani and Rob Huff. The Golfs also
lost out to double Ningbo race winner Thed Björk, who was the highest
placed Hyundai i30 N TCR driver in P12.
His YMR team boss Yvan Muller finished behind the Golfs in P15, while
WTCR OSCARO points leader Gabriele Tarquini was P17. His BRC Racing
team-mate Nobert Michelisz had a difficult race, having started from
the back of the grid following an engine change, the Hungarian pitted
at the end of the first lap, although he did briefly return to the action
later in the race to gain some much needed track time.
Second Qualifying for WTCR Race of China-Wuhan takes place at 09h00
local time on Sunday morning, with Race 2 scheduled to start at 15h45.