continues Comtoyou alliance in WTCR, will race with Cupra power
racer gets new car for WTCR / OSCARO season two *From ice racing to touring
car racing, Panis is ‘race fit’ for 2019 *Team boss Baert: “Aurélien is
talented and shares our values”
Panis will continue to challenge in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup
presented by OSCARO, re-signing for Comtoyou Racing but switching cars to a
Panis, 24, was a WTCR / OSCARO points-scorer with Comtoyou in 2018 at the
wheel of an Audi RS 3 LMS. But with new regulations restricting the number
of cars per brand to four, and with all entries for Audi-powered drivers
already assigned, Panis will get the opportunity to drive a Cupra in 2019.
And while the car represents unchartered territory for Frenchman Panis, he
can take plenty of positives from the performances of Cupra drivers in WTCR
/ OSCARO last season.
“We saw last year with Pepe Oriola and the other drivers that the car is
really fast in every track,” said Panis, the son of 1996 Monaco Grand Prix
winner Olivier Panis. “I feel really confident with that and I’m really
happy to work with Cupra and to continue with Comtoyou Racing. Last season was
not easy from scratch, but I take a lot of experience and, in the end, the
pace was good, we were fighting in the top 10 and even in the top five. For
the second year my goal is to fight with the best drivers and to try to
jump onto the podium.
“I am very happy to carry on in WTCR for the second year in a row.
Continuity is very important and from that I am in position to reap the
benefits of months of work and progress.
Panis will start WTCR / OSCARO season two on the back of a strong showing
in the Trophée Andros ice-racing series, where he scored the best overall
finish by an all-electric car with third position in the final elite
category standings. He also won the Super Finale at the prestigious Stade
de France in Paris alongside his father. “It was a good winter for me and
for sure to be doing a competition rather than having nothing to do is
helpful for my preparations,” Panis Jr said.
For Jean-Michel Baert’s Comtoyou Racing operation, another busy WTCR /
OSCARO campaign is in store with the Belgian squad continuing to run four
cars, albeit as two separate entities under rules restricting each entrant
to a maximum of two cars.
“I am very happy to be able to renew Aurélien's contract,” said Baert. “He
shares the same values as Comtoyou Racing. He’s a very talented boy who
wins every year in experience. He won a TCR race in Buriram in 2017 and
will take both factors into account on the #WTCR2019SUPERGRID.
“This announcement also confirms the partnership we have set up with Cupra.
Jaime Puig wanted us to work together for a long time and hopefully we’ll
be very successful. One thing is certain, we expect a lot of success in
this new collaboration.”
François Ribeiro, Head of Eurosport Events, the WTCR promoter, said: “We
saw good progression from Aurélien in 2018 and we expect the same in
2019 when he will benefit from the continuity of being part of the Comtoyou
family for another year. He gained self-confidence and will have a great
level of competition on the #WTCR2019SUPERGRID to benchmark his progresses.”
Comtoyou Racing will reveal its second Cupra-powered driver and more
details of its WTCR / OSCARO campaign in due course, following the
announcement last week that rookie Niels Langeveld (Netherlands) and
Frédéric Vervisch (Belgium) will compete in its Audi Sport customer
racing-supported attack driving the Audi RS 3 LMS under the Comtoyou Team
Audi Sport banner.