Event preview: Four WTCR title fighters head to Malaysia but who will be king in Sepang?
December 6th 2019
*Michelisz leads Guerrieri and Muller by nine and 11 points respectively *Björk also in contention for title glory as seven drivers battle for fifth place in final order *Teams’ award up for grabs on Sensational Sunday with races by day, at dusk and night *WTCR Race of Malaysia part of inaugural Races of Malaysia motorsport festival with EWC
Event preview: FIA WTCR Race of Malaysia
WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO 2019
Deciding rounds 28-30 of 30, Sepang International Circuit, 12-15 December
Three races left, 85 points up for grabs and four title chasers preparing for battle, the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO is all set for season super-finale time in Sepang.
After nine weekends and 27 action-packed races, the #WTCR2019SUPERGRID has completed #RoadToMalaysia with Norbert Michelisz at the head of the pack.
But with his margin over Esteban Guerrieri a mere nine points, the chase for international touring car racing’s biggest prize could well go down to the WTCR / OSCARO’s first night race on Sunday 15 December, the final scene of the inaugural Races of Malaysia festival of motorsport drama, which also features the FIM Endurance World Championship-counting 8 Hours of Sepang.
Unlike in the EWC where two (wheels) is the magic number, in the WTCR it’s all about four with Yvan Muller and Thed Björk completing the title-chasing quartet. Mulller, a winner of four FIA World Touring Car titles in the past, is two points behind Guerrieri, while Björk faces the prospect of cancelling out a 28-point deficit to Michelisz if he’s to win a second World Touring Car crown.
Here’s a summary of what each title chaser has to do in order for their name to be written on the giant WTCR / OSCARO trophy.
Michelisz wins the WTCR / OSCARO title if he…
*Wins all three races or scores 66 points in total (65 points would leave him vulnerable)
*Wins two races, takes one DHL Pole Position and one sixth place. That would give him 65 points. In that case, Guerrieri can score no more than 74 points. That would make them tied on 381 points, but Michelisz would become champion on countback based on the number of races won
*Wins two races, finishes fourth in the other race and scores at least three qualifying points
*Wins one race, finishes second in the two other races and scores seven qualifying points
*If he tops First Qualifying and wins two races, he needs at least at least sixth position in the other race. Alternatively, he'll be safe from a Guerrieri attack if he finishes lower (seventh, eighth, etc) in the races, but if his Second Qualifying position is better (fifth, fourth, third, second, first)
*If he’s second in First Qualifying and wins two races, he needs at least fourth in the other race. Just like in the previous case, he can allow himself a lower finish in the other race – fifth, sixth, etc. if his Second Qualifying position is better (from fifth to first)
*If he’s third in First Qualifying and wins two races, he still needs at least P4 in the other race (66 points in total). Like in the previous scenario, he can finish a place lower in the other race, but would need more points from Second Qualifying (needs to be fourth or better)
Guerrieri wins the WTCR / OSCARO title if he…
*Wins all three races and scores at least as many qualifying points as Michelisz
*Scores 84 points in total, because in that case Michelisz cannot score more than 74
*Wins one race and finishes second in the remaining two races, plus wins two pole positions. That would make 75 points but Michelisz should score 65 points or less (i.e. two race wins, one fourth position and less than two points from qualifying)
Muller wins the WTCR / OSCARO title if he…
*Wins all three races and scores at least two qualifying points more than Michelisz
*Wins one race, finishes second in the two remaining races, plus takes two pole positions. That would give him 75 points, but Michelisz should score 63 or less (two wins, one fifth, less than a total of four points from qualifying)
*If he scores all 85 points, because in that case Michelisz can score no more than 73
Björk wins the WTCR / OSCARO title if he…
*Wins all three races and claims both pole positions, providing Michelisz does not finish second in all three races (two seconds and one third for Michelisz would be fine for Björk, assuming Michelisz does not score more than one qualifying point
*But even if Björk scores the maximum possible 85 points, a second FIA World Touring Car title is not guaranteed due to other results
*If Michelisz wins one race and finishes another in the top five, Björk’s chances are slim
And this is what they’ve had to say…
Norbert Michelisz (Hungary) Age: 35 Team: BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Car: Hyundai i30 N TCR Points: 316 Position: First
It’s in his hands… “It’s pretty much like I wanted it to be a couple of race weekends ago. This is the very important part of the season and to go to Malaysia with the psychological advantage of leading is better than being behind. But the margin is very small and we are not in a comfortable position. However, it’s in my hands and this is a nice feeling.”
Power not pressure… “The closer the event comes the more you think about the pressure. This season I managed the pressure side pretty well. Honestly, I feel confident and quite powerful and I think we have a very good package for Malaysia.”
Best of the best… “My three rivals have been fighting for championships since a very long time. They are all on top of their game, they are all the best of the best and in the end, you cannot say who is the biggest threat. It’s a new circuit for me and my contenders and if it’s the same for everyone I’m okay with that. Going for the WTCC title in Qatar in 2017 was the most intense day of my life so far but I’m pretty sure Malaysia will top that.”
Esteban Guerrieri (Argentina) Age: 34 Team: ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Car: Honda Civic Type R TCR Points: 307 Position: Second
Achievement conquered… “It’s an achievement conquered because I wanted to arrive at the last race in the fight. It means we have done a good job during the year and we’ve always been fighting and trying to take all the opportunities possible. I’m proud of my team and Honda of course.”
Sepang spice… “I tested in Sepang at the beginning of the year. The track is cool, it’s a long track and many things can happen with the weather changing there. That will add some spice to the title decider.”
Ready to fight… “Of all the rivals nobody is stronger. Norbi is some points in front of us and has that in his pocket. But they will all be strong and there are three brands in the fight. We will try to be up there and competitive for the final race. Let God decide.”
Yvan Muller (France) Age: 50 Team: Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Car: Lynk & Co 03 TCR Points: 305 Position: Third
Experience counts… “Experience is important, absolutely. I could see in Macau some stress on some rivals. I’ve had this in my career but not now, I have no pressure on my shoulders. I have four titles and one more means I can still do the job correctly.”
China cheers… “There have been ups and downs this season. I lost a lot of points in Marrakech when I was leading but had a mechanical failure. At other circuits I could not score points but the speed was there and in WTCR with 30 races, everything is possible, like we showed in China [when we won two races].”
No knowledge, no problem… “I don’t know Sepang and I give up after 10 laps on the simulator. But we have two practice sessions to learn the track. In Macau I did a pole position and win two races so I am there in the fight and this means a lot.”
Thed Björk (Sweden) Age: 38 Team: Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Car: Lynk & Co 03 TCR Points: 288 Position: Fourth
Fantastic feeling… “It’s fantastic to be in the chase of the world title again and the year I am not in the title fight means I have done a really bad job. This is where I want to be, this is where I am supposed to be. Having won a world title before takes some pressure off. Let’s go and get it.”
Simulate to accumulate… “We obviously come to new tracks in this championship and we have to adapt as fast as possible and with our simulator we can work together to adapt the cars and the drivers to the track as quickly as possible. Therefore, having not raced at Sepang is not a concern, it’s just more exciting.”
No fear… “I don’t fear anyone actually. In Macau, like during the year, we’ve seen some pretty good standards of driving. I am in it to win it, together with Yvan. We are two, we are stronger as two so let’s see if they fear us.”
Season super-finale gets unique format
WTCR Race of Malaysia not only marks the category’s first visit to the country, it’s also the first time that the three races making up a WTCR / OSCARO event take place on the same day. In an exciting change to the usual format, the races are scheduled for Sunday 15 December at 15h15, 18h15 and 20h10 local time with the third race held under the Sepang International Circuit’s newly installed floodlights. All three races will be broadcast live around the world including on the Astro channel in Malaysia. Practice and qualifying take place on 13 December with Saturday 14 December devoted to the 8 Hours of Sepang, round two of the 2019/20 FIM Endurance Championship for motorbikes, plus the Esports WTCR OSCARO live final.
Fearsome fight in fifth-place battle
While the battle for the WTCR / OSCARO title is finely balanced, it’s also hugely close in the race to finish in the final top five with 16 points covering Yann Ehrlacher in fifth and Johan Kristoffersson in P11. The other drivers in contention for fifth are 2018 title winner Gabriele Tarquini, current best-placed rookie Mikel Azcona, three-time WTCR winner Néstor Girolami, former World Touring Car champion Rob Huff and Jean-Karl Vernay, who along with Huff is one of only a handful of drivers with recent race experience of the Sepang International Circuit.
Teams tussle for top honour
Cyan Racing Lynk & Co’s Yvan Muller and Thed Björk might be playing catch-up in the Drivers’ title table, but it’s the Swedish team supported by the Chinese brand that heads the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO for Teams. It’s 72 points in front of BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse and 88 ahead of Honda-equipped ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport.
It’s crazy but I’ll be ready: Malaysian MotoGP rider Syahrin up for Sepang double-header
Malaysian MotoGP rider Hafizh Syahrin is gearing up to do double time at the Sepang International Circuit’s Races of Malaysia event next week. As well as contesting the 8 Hours of Sepang EWC event, the 25-year-old will take part in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO super-finale. Syahrin, who recently completed the MotoGP season with the Red Bull KTM Tech 3 squad and entered the Sepang 1000km Endurance Race last month, will effectively be on track for seven days in succession, meaning his physical and mental fitness will be tested to the extreme. Click to view the press release.
De Oliveira set to go wild at Sepang
Multiple championship winner João Paulo de Oliveira will join the #WTCR2019SUPERGRID at WTCR Race of Malaysia after securing a wildcard entry for the Sepang International Circuit season super-finale in a Honda Civic Type R TCR. The Brazilian, who lists the Formula Nippon and All-Japan and German Formula 3 titles on an impressive CV, is continuing his partnership with Hong Kong-based KC Motorgroup. Click to view the press release.
Malaysia WTCR wildcards Cheah and Syahrin powered by Hyundai
Two of the three local drivers holding wildcard status for the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO super-finale in will do so with Hyundai power. Rising star Mitchell Cheah and MotoGP racer Hafizh Syahrin are entered under the Hyundai Team Engstler banner in a pair of Hyundai i30 N TCRs. The car represents unchartered territory for both with Cheah’s experience built driving the Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, while Syahrin is a TCR category novice having only recently made his car racing debut, albeit in a Toyota Vios. Douglas Khoo, the other Malaysian wildcard in action at Sepang, will pilot a CUPRA TCR. Click for full story.
Haglöf’s back! Swede returns for WTCR super-finale
Daniel Haglöf will be back on WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO duty in Malaysia. The PWR Racing driver and co-founder handed over his regular CUPRA TCR to Robert Dahlgren at WTCR Race of Macau last month to reward his fellow Swede for his TCR Scandinavia title triumph and take advantage of Dahlgren’s Circuito da Guia knowledge. For the WTCR super-finale at the Sepang International Circuit, Haglöf – a podium finisher at WTCR Race of Hungary in April – will return to the driving seat and team up with PWR’s season-long campaigner Mikel Azcona, who is aiming to finish the season as the top rookie. Click for full story.
Cheah to be “200 per cent focused” against WTCR rivals
Malaysian rising star Mitchell Cheah will be “200 per cent focused” when he makes his debut in the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO on home soil. Cheah, a frontrunner in the ADAC TCR Germany’s junior division, is one of three local wildcards competing at the Sepang International Circuit from 12-15 December in what will be his first appearance in a Hyundai i30 N TCR. “The opposition in WTCR is just a crazy line-up, it’s just madness. All world-class drivers are within one second and a small mistake will put you out the window. I will have to be 200% focused and try to be as quick as these guys.” Click for full story.
Twenty-seven races, 13 winners and a tightly-poised WTCR title table
Thirteen drivers have won races in 2019, while all seven customer racing brands have celebrated race victories to underline another hugely competitive second WTCR / OSCARO season. Click here to view the provisional 2019 standings.
Welcome to the #WTCR2019SUPERGRID
The #WTCR2019SUPERGRID celebrates the fact that of the 26 all-season racers, seven have won 14 FIA world titles, while the others have shared 29 major championships between them.
Ex-Formula One racer Gabriele Tarquini carries the number 1 on his BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse i30 N TCR for winning the inaugural WTCR / OSCARO title last season. He triumphed in the second race of this year in Morocco and took win number two by beating team-mate and home hero Norbert Michelisz in the third race in Hungary.
After missing out on the 2018 WTCR / OSCARO crown by three points in a seven-way title decider, four-time world champion Yvan Muller has returned to campaign a Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR developed by Geely Group Motorsport from China. He bagged his first wins of the season at Lynk & Co’s home event in September to announce his emergence as a title contender.
Thed Björk partners Muller at Cyan Racing Lynk & Co and started his bid for a second FIA world crown by giving Lynk & Co an historic victory in Morocco. He was a double winner at WTCR Race of Netherlands in May.
Rob Huff (SLR VW Motorsport Golf GTI TCR), the 2012 WTCC champion, is one of 12 of the 15 winners from 2018 back in action in 2019. Following a challenging start to the year, the Briton led in Slovakia and scored his first podium of the season in Japan. He also qualified on pole for the inaugural TCR Malaysia race at Sepang in January.
After being forced to miss WTCR Race of Macau in his ultimately unsuccessful attempt to win the FIA GT World Cup title for a second year running, BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team’s Augusto Farfus, is back on WTCR / OSCARO duty in Sepang and aiming for more podium visits.
Double FIA World Rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson (SLR Volkswagen) became a two-time WTCR winner with victory in Japan’s third race in late October. He was then the best placed of the Circuito da Guia rookies in Macau last month.
Like Kristoffersson, three-time WTCC champion Andy Priaulx (Cyan Performance Lynk & Co) was new to WTCR at the start of 2019, but left Macau with a long overdue series win on his standout CV having impressed in China and Japan.
Winner of Race 1 in Marrakech, Esteban Guerrieri (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR), topped the standings after the first race in Hungary and was back in front after winning Race 2 at Zandvoort. Having held first overall throughout the summer, a frustrating Ningbo weekend meant the Argentine dropped to second in the table. But he fought back in style in Japan by winning Race 1 and completing the weekend as the TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver. He’s second in the standings ahead of WTCR Race of Malaysia, nine points behind Norbert Michelisz.
Driving for BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse, Michelisz added victories in China and Japan to triumphs in Germany and Portugal earlier in the year and fought for the WTCC title in 2017.
Jean-Karl Vernay (Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport) had high hopes of his first 2019 victory in Hungary when he lined up on the reverse-grid Race 2 pole. But a clutch issue meant a sluggish start resulting in the Frenchman settling for second ahead of impressive newcomer Daniel Haglöf (PWR Racing), who is back in his CUPRA TCR after handing over the reins to Robert Dahlgren in Macau, where Vernay made a long-awaited return to the podium. And speaking of Vernay, the Frenchman bagged a brace of fifths when the TCR International Series visited Sepang in 2016.
Vernay’s team-mate Gordon Shedden and Comtoyou Racing pair Niels Langeveld and Frédéric Vervisch complete the Audi-powered attack with Vervisch winning in Slovakia – the result of an impressive charge from ninth on the grid – and taking a podium double in Germany. In his first season in WTCR / OSCARO, Langeveld took a breakthrough podium in Japan. Shedden won once last season and won’t be giving up on his efforts to emulate that achievement at Sepang having been unable to start all three races in Macau due to damage sustained in a qualifying crash.
A number of exciting young guns have been challenging the established order in 2019. They include Mikel Azcona, who graduated to WTCR as the TCR Europe champion to race a PWR-run CUPRA, and his close rival in recent seasons, Attila Tassi, the 20-year-old Honda-powered KCMG driver. Although Vila Real was unchartered territory for both back in July, Tassi took the DHL Pole Position for Race 3, while Azcona scored a breakthrough win in Race 2. Azcona, currently the best-placed rookie in the standings, was a podium finisher again in China, where Honda-powered Tassi produced his highest-scoring weekend.
Kevin Ceccon (Team Mulsanne) and Yann Ehrlacher (Cyan Performance Lynk & Co) are already winners in WTCR, but at 26 and 23 respectively, they remain among a list of talented youngsters that also includes Aurélien Panis, who switched to CUPRA power for 2019 with Comtoyou Team DHL CUPRA Racing and set the fastest lap in Race 1 in China. Ex-single-seater racer Ceccon – who raced at Sepang in GP2 in 2013 – was twice on the podium in Macau, while Ehrlacher led and was the TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver in Vila Real.
Tom Coronel, who took part in a 12-hour sportscar race at Sepang in 2009, partners Panis at Comtoyou. Coronel’s fellow Dutchman Nicky Catsburg (BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team) was a winner in the World Touring Car Championship in the past but has yet to convert his obvious speed into a 2019 podium finish. ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport’s Honda-powered Argentine Néstor Girolami, who like Catsburg is another series newcomer for this year having triumphed in the WTCC, is a three-time WTCR winner.
Benjamin Leuchter made the most of his Nordschleife knowledge to score an emotional home victory in Germany back in June. However, Sepang is another trip into the unknown for the SLR Volkswagen driver. Moroccan Mehdi Bennani also relies on Volkswagen power but has endured a frustrating 2019 season by his high standards.
Having become the first Chinese to score WTCR points in 2018, Ma Qinghua made more history as the first Chinese driver to win a WTCR / OSCARO race when he triumphed in Race 3 at the Slovakia Ring in his Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce by Romeo Ferraris. Like team-mate Ceccon, he’s raced in GP2 at Sepang in the past.
Tiago Monteiro is in his first full season since serious head and neck injuries ended his hopes of winning the WTCC title in 2017. The Portuguese, a Formula One podium finisher in the past, drives a Honda Civic Type R TCR for Hong Kong-based KCMG. Having scored an emotional home win in Vila Real in July and run at the front in Japan, Monteiro returns to Sepang where he finished 12th and 13th in the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2005 and 2006 respectively.
They said what? WTCR drivers on Sizzling Sepang
This is what some of the #WTCR2019SUPERGRID members have had to say about the Sepang International Circuit.
Kevin Ceccon (Team Mulsanne, Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR by Romeo Ferraris): “I have done the simulator for Sepang and I am really excited to go there now. It’s going to be an intense weekend with everything packed in two days. I want to see how it feels to do a parade in the middle of Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday evening. I am really focused to get a great result because I like Malaysia and I like the circuit and I remember when I raced there in GP2. Of course, the car is completely different, in GP2 it’s a single-seater, really light with a lot of downforce, but at least I know the circuit. It’s the last race of the year and we have to maximise the result. It will be my first race in touring car in the dark, with the lights so it’s going to be something new and will be really different compared to the other races. Everyone will be fighting so we must be ready.”
Mitchell Cheah (Hyundai Team Engstler, Hyundai i30 N TCR): “I have been driving this track for more than five years and I am very confident driving around Sepang but even then with the TCR car, or any other car that I jump in, I always find new ways to attack the corners and try to improve from there. To keep it realistic, I think with the extra 20 kilograms of ballast for the wildcard drivers, it’s going to make it tough for me to fight against the world-class drivers but a top 10 finish for the weekend would be a good result for me and that’s what I aim for.”
Tom Coronel (Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing, CUPRA TCR): “Sepang is very cool, it’s a mega facility and a new track for many so I’m very excited. I raced there in a 12-hour race in a Porsche in 2009 so I know the track. It’s one of those circuits that should be on our calendar. It’s the whole atmosphere with the trees, it’s a different country that you are used to race in.”
Tiago Monteiro (KCMC, Honda TCR): “I can’t believe it’s almost the end of the season already; it’s gone so fast. We’ve had some huge highs like the victory in Portugal in front of my home fans and the pole position at Suzuka, and you can see from the number of races won by Hondas that it’s a strong car. Sepang was a huge challenge when I raced there in Formula One because of the heat and humidity even outside the car. The speeds are lower and the races are shorter in WTCR, plus we’re racing later in the day, so that will be easier to cope with, but I still expect the action on-track to be intense. The aim, as always, is to finish strongly and go into the winter on a high.”
Hafizh Syahrin (Hyundai Team Engstler, Hyundai i30 N TCR): “It will be interesting and exciting because never has a rider done this kind of crazy things two times in one weekend. For sure I cannot put any target because I am not sure what’s impossible or possible but I always think possible and I will try to learn and try to take the experience. It will be hard because we have EWC on Saturday for eight hours, then three races in the car on Sunday. But I will keep my body preparation well and keep resting because this will be important. I hope I can do well in the car and we try to show a nice fight. I hope the fans will like it.”
Jean-Karl Vernay (Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS): “I love Sepang, I really enjoyed racing there. It’s a long circuit where you can make a big difference with your driving. There are fast corners, slow corners, you can really use your driving skills and overtaking is possible. When I was there in 2016, the races were super-cool to watch with a lot of big fights. With the level of the grid this year it’s going to be really fun with big fights for sure.”
All you need to know about WTCR Race of Malaysia
Rounds: 28, 29 and 30 of 30
Venue: Sepang International Circuit
Date: 12-15 December 2019
Location: Jalan Pekeliling, 64000 KLIA, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
Length: 5.543 kilometres
Time zone: GMT +8 hours
Race 1 distance: 9 laps (49.887 kilometres)
Race 2 distance: 9 laps (49.887 kilometres)
Race 3 distance: 12 laps (66.516 kilometres)
WTCR qualifying lap record: To be established (TCR category record: Roberto Colciago, Honda Civic Type R TCR, 2m15.021s, 30/09/16)
WTCR race lap record: To be established (TCR category record: Diego Moran, Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR, 2m16.672s, 07/04/19)
Home of the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix from 1999-2017, the Sepang International Circuit hosts the 2019 WTCR / OSCARO super-finale as part of the Races of Malaysia double-header with the FIM Endurance World Championship for motorbikes. The event will run to a unique format with all three races taking place on the same day in late afternoon, at dusk and at night under floodlights. Sepang’s 5.543-kilometre lap features two long straights to aid overtaking, plus a variety of medium and high-speed corners. And with the track untried by the bulk of the drivers an exciting spectacle is in store.
FROM BEHIND THE WHEEL WITH GABRIELE TARQUINI
Ahead of his final race as WTCR / OSCARO title holder, this is what the BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse driver has had to say about the Sepang International Circuit. “We had a short run at the beginning of the season just to discover the track and I’m very pleased with what I experienced. The track size and the design are very nice and the race will be very exciting because it’s very wide with long straights. For sure there will be big fights, big overtaking places and the races will be very nice to see.”
TEN MALAYSIA FACTS
1: The Sepang International Circuit opened for business in 1999 after 14 months under construction.
2: It’s located some 45 kilometres from the capital Kuala Lumpur but a mere 11 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
3: The 5.543-kilometre layout, which was resurfaced in 2016, features 15 turns and eight straights. There are also separate North and South circuits, which can be used simultaneously.
4: Sepang was home to the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix from 1999-2017. Eddie Irvine won the inaugural race for Ferrari with Max Verstappen winning the final event driving a Red Bull.
5: KCMG WTCR / OSCARO driver Tiago Monteiro took part in two Malaysian Grands Prix, placing P12 in 2005 and P13 the following season.
6: Monteiro’s KCMG colleague Attila Tassi is no stranger to Sepang having placed seventh and ninth when the TCR International Series visited in 2016.
7: Kevin Ceccon and Team Mulsanne WTCR team-mate Ma Qinghua were in action when Sepang hosted GP2 in 2013. Ceccon scored a weekend high of P17 in the Feature Race although illness ruled out Ma from the Sprint Race.
8: Sepang was the setting of the inaugural TCR International Series event in 2015. When TCR International returned in 2016, Jean-Karl Vernay took a pair of fifth-place finishes. Douglas Khoo, one of the wildcards competing in the inaugural WTCR Race of Malaysia finished P15 and P17 in the two counters.
9: Rob Huff was quick out of the blocks when he raced in the opening TCR Malaysia round in January of this year with the Briton claiming pole for the first race.
10: Mitchell Cheah, a wildcard at WTCR Race of Malaysia, joined the TCR Malaysia entry for the final round and won on his debut from pole position.
PROVISIONAL KEY TIMINGS*
Monday 9 December
Wildcard testing: 19h00-22h00
Tuesday 10 December
Wildcard testing: 09h00-11h00
Kuala Lumpur driving parade and promotional activities (W Hotel/surrounding area): 17h00-21h00
Thursday 12 December
Pre-event press conference: 17h00 (Media Centre, Sepang International Circuit), Mitchell Cheah, Norbert Michelisz and Hafizh Syahrin in attendance
Friday 13 December
Free Practice 1: 10h00-10h45
Free Practice 2: 12h45-13h15
First Qualifying: 15h15-15h45
First Qualifying DHL Media Zone: 15h45 estimated (South Paddock pitlane)
Hafizh Syahrin group interview session for international media (Media Centre): 17h00-17h30
Second Qualifying Q1: 19h30-19h50
Second Qualifying Q2: 20h00-20h10
Second Qualifying Q3: 20h20 (first car starts top five DHL Pole Position shootout)
Second Qualifying DHL Media Zone: 20h20 estimated (South Paddock pitlane)
Post-Qualifying press conference: 20h45 estimated (Media Centre)
Saturday 14 December
WTCR / OSCARO title contenders group interview session (Media Centre): 10h45-11h15
FIM EWC 8 Hours of Sepang: 13h00-21h00
Autograph session (Fan Village stage): 14h00-1500
Esports WTCR OSCARO live final (The RIFT, Third Floor, Mid Valley Megamall): 16h00-21h00
Sunday 15 December
Autograph session (Fan Village stage): 12h00-13h00
Race 1: 15h15 (9 laps)
Race 1 podium: 15h55 estimated
Race 1 press conference: 16h10 estimated (Media Centre)
Race 2: 18h15 (9 laps)
Race 2 podium: 18h55 estimated
Race 3: 20h10 (12 laps)
Race 3 podium: 20h50 estimated
Race 3 press conference: 21h05 estimated (Media Centre) followed by WTCR / OSCARO title winner group interview session
Official WTCR / OSCARO title winner pictures (starting grid): 22h00
*All timings are local (GMT +8 hours) and subject to change
Media Accreditation Centre location:
White tent before northside paddock entrance, Sepang International Circuit, Jalan Pekeliling, 64000 KLIA, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
Media Accreditation Centre opening hours:
09h00-18h00: Wednesday 11 December
08h30-17h30: Thursday 12 December
08h30-18h00: Friday 13 December
08h30-12h00: Saturday 14 December
08h30-14h00: Sunday 15 December
Media Centre location:
First Floor (area with tinted glass wall), paddock area
Media Centre opening hours:
08h00-23h00: Tuesday 10 December
08h00-23h00: Wednesday 11 December
08h00-23h00: Thursday 12 December
07h30-24h00: Friday 13 December
07h30-24h00: Saturday 14 December
07h30-until last journalist leaves: Sunday 15 December
11h00-13h00: Monday 18 November
Media car parking:
P2 and P3 behind the north paddock area. A media shuttle bus service will be operational
WTCR Race of Malaysia data kit: Available to download here
Who’s in it to win it? Click here to find out more about the WTCR drivers
WTCR / OSCARO explained: Click here to find out more
Live timing: https://www.fiawtcr.com/live-timing/
Where and how to watch: Click here for more information
For everything else including image gallery… Register at the WTCR / OSCARO media site by clicking here.
ALL-SEASON ENTRY LIST (all drivers use Yokohama tyres as standard)
1 BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
5 BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Norbert Michelisz (HUN) Hyundai i30 N TCR
8 BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Augusto Farfus (BRA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
9 KCMG Attila Tassi (HUN) Honda Civic Type R TCR
10 Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Niels Langeveld (NLD) Audi RS 3 LMS
11 Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Thed Björk (SWE) Lynk & Co 03 TCR
12 SLR VW Motorsport Rob Huff (GBR) Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR
14 SLR Volkswagen Johan Kristoffersson (SWE) Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR
18 KCMG Tiago Monteiro (PRT) Honda Civic Type R TCR
21 Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing Aurélien Panis (FRA) CUPRA TCR
22 Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Frédéric Vervisch (BEL) Audi RS 3 LMS
25 SLR VW Motorsport Mehdi Bennani (MAR) Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR
29 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Néstor Girolami (ARG) Honda Civic Type R TCR
31 Team Mulsanne Kevin Ceccon (ITA) Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR by Romeo Ferraris
33 SLR Volkswagen Benjamin Leuchter (DEU) Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR
37 PWR Racing Daniel Haglöf (SWE) CUPRA TCR
50 Comtoyou DHL Team CUPRA Racing Tom Coronel (NLD) CUPRA TCR
52 Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Gordon Shedden (GBR) Audi RS 3 LMS
55 Team Mulsanne Ma Qinghua (CHN) Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR by Romeo Ferraris
68 Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Lynk & Co 03 TCR
69 Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA) Audi RS 3 LMS
86 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Esteban Guerrieri (ARG) Honda Civic Type R TCR
88 BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team Nicky Catsburg (NLD) Hyundai i30 N TCR
96 PWR Racing Mikel Azcona (ESP) CUPRA TCR
100 Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Yvan Muller (FRA) Lynk & Co 03 TCR
111 Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Andy Priaulx (GBR) Lynk & Co 03 TCR
WTCR Race of Malaysia wildcards
15 Hyundai Team Engstler Hafizh Syahrin (MYS) Hyundai i30 N TCR
27 Hyundai Team Engstler Mitchell Cheah (MYS) Hyundai i30 N TCR
38 KC Motorgroup João Paulo de Oliveira (BRA) Honda Civic Type R TCR
65 Viper Niza Racing Douglas Khoo (MYS) CUPRA TCR
Malaysia qualifying format/starting grids explained
First Qualifying (for Race 1):
All cars on track for 30 minutes
Fastest five score points on 5-4-3-2-1 basis according to the final classification
Second Qualifying (for Races 2 and 3):
Second Qualifying is split into three phases, Q1, Q2 and Q3:
All drivers on track for 20 minutes
Fastest 12 drivers progress to Qualifying Q2
All other drivers eliminated, taking no further part in the session
The 12 drivers who progressed from Q1 on track for 10 minutes
Fastest five drivers progress to Qualifying Q3 for the DHL Pole Position Shootout
Remaining seven drivers eliminated, taking no further part in the session
The fastest five drivers get 20 seconds to select their running order with the quickest driver from Q2 choosing first followed by the second fastest driver and so on until all five starting positions have been selected.
Drivers notify team managers of their choice by radio and the selection is made online by the respective team managers.
The five drivers will get one warm-up (out lap), one timed lap and one slow down lap (in lap).
Points are awarded on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis according to the final classification.
Drivers must be within 105 per cent of the fastest driver in order to qualify.
Race 1: The starting grid is based on the final classification of First Qualifying – taking into account any grid penalties that are applied – with the fastest driver on the DHL Pole Position.
Race 2: The first 10 positions according to the final classification of Second Qualifying Q2 are reversed to form the first 10 places on the starting grid for Race 2 taking into account any grid penalties that are applied. That means the driver in position 10 in Q2 starts on the DHL Pole Position with the driver in position nine starting second etc.
The drivers in position 11 and 12 according to the final classification of Second Qualifying Q2 fill positions 11 and 12 on the grid taking into account any grid penalties that are applied.
Drivers in positions 13 downwards according to the final classification of Second Qualifying Q1 complete the remainder of the grid in descending order taking into account any grid penalties that are applied.
Race 3: The fastest five drivers according to the final classification of Second Qualifying Q3 fill the top five positions on the Race 3 grid in descending order, taking into account any grid penalties that are applied.
Positions 6-12 on the grid are according to the positions 6-12 of Second Qualifying Q2, taking into account any grid penalties that are applied.
The remaining positions are filled by the drivers from position 13 downwards according to the final classification of Second Qualifying Q1 and taking into account any grid penalties that are applied.
WTCR points explained
First Qualifying and Second Qualifying points
The fastest five drivers in First Qualifying and Second Qualifying according to the final classification score points as follows: DHL Pole Position = 5 points; second position = 4; third = 3; fourth = 2; fifth = 1
The same points-scoring system is applied to the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO for Teams.
Race 1, 2 and 3 points
The top 15 classified finishers in Races 1, 2 and 3 score points as follows:
First position = 25 points; second = 20; third = 16; fourth = 13; fifth = 11; sixth = 10; seventh = 9; eighth = 8; ninth = 7; 10th = 6; 11th = 5; 12th = 4; 13th = 3; 14th = 2; 15th = 1
The same points-scoring system is applied to the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO for Teams.
From 2019, wildcard drivers are no longer be eligible for points. All scores count.
Trophies are presented to the first three drivers in Races 1, 2 and 3
A representative of the winning team in Races 1, 2 and 3 also receives a trophy
At the end of the season, the top 3 drivers receive a trophy with the winning driver receiving the giant perpetual WTCR Drivers’ Trophy measuring 120cm in height, plus a trophy from the FIA. The winning team receives a trophy from the FIA
Driver setting the fastest lap across all three races receives the TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy
Racer scoring the most points across the weekend becomes the TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver