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MUNDIAL WTCR NA HUNGRIA

Sábado, 21 Abril 2018 11:10 | Actualizado em Quarta, 15 Janeiro 2020 13:38


Race preview: FIA WTCR Race of Hungary
WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO, Rounds 4-6 of 30
Hungaroring, near Budapest, 27-29 April

FANS FIRED UP FOR HOME WTCR HERO MICHELISZ

*Thousands preparing to follow Hungarian sporting icon
*On-track rivalry with legend Muller creates added intrigue
*Local young talents get their chance as wildcards
 

Three races and a whole heap of action marked the start of a hugely exciting era for international motorsport as the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO fired up in Morocco earlier this month. While Gabriele Tarquini did the bulk of the winning on the streets of Marrakech for the Hyundai-powered BRC Racing Team, his team-mate and home hero Norbert Michelisz will be gunning for glory when the Hungaroring hosts the WTCR from 27-29 April.

Michelisz, who lives in Pécs in southern Hungary, endured a torrid weekend in North Africa with a fire in qualifying and a wheel falling off his Hyundai i30 N TCR among the problems he encountered. But with the prospect of racing in front of grandstands packed with vociferous local fans cheering his every move – or blowing air horns in appreciation – the 33-year-old will be more determined than ever to get his title challenge back on track. “It was a pretty unlucky weekend in Morocco, but I still managed to get important points,” said Michelisz. “We have 27 races ahead and nothing is lost. I’m very motivated for my home race.” 

Michelisz v Muller: Episode 3
As well as double Morocco winner Tarquini, one driver Michelisz will be particularly eager to beat at the Hungaroring is Yvan Muller. The four-time World Touring Car champion upset the large majority of Hungarian motorsport fans when he appeared to allow Tiago Monteiro to overtake him in the 2016 season finale in Qatar, a move that effectively gifted the Portuguese – Muller’s close friend – third place in the final standings at Michelisz’s expense. 

And there was no love lost at the same fixture 12 months later when Muller was drafted in to the factory Volvo Polestar line-up to boost lead driver Thed Björk’s title shot. Although a weekend of woe wrecked Michelisz’s chances, the presence of Muller on the grid simply riled Hungarian fans in their thousands. And their dislike of arguably touring car racing’s most successful driver boiled over three weeks ago when Michelisz and Muller collided at the start of Race 3 in Morocco as Muller returned to full-time racing in fine form. 

Respect all drivers, says champion Björk
But World Touring Car champion Björk has called on fans to show respect to all drivers as WTCR Race of Hungary fever grips. Yvan Muller’s team-mate doesn’t want fans to “push the limit” in their support of Norbert Michelisz over other drivers, particularly his fellow YMR driver and boss, who has received a number of online comments. 

“All the fans in Hungary that follow motorsport are really good,” said Swede Björk. “They are so passionate for Norbert, the atmosphere is fantastic with the air horns and this is what I like. But some fans are a little too fanatical. They should push to a certain level but not push it too hard.”

An extra energy boost
Given the bulging grid of WTCR racers, Michelisz’s focus won’t just be on Muller during what will be a hectic schedule of practice, qualifying, racing and numerous promotional commitments.  “Racing in front of the Hungarian fans is amazing,” he said. “It’s always huge pressure in the week before the race. But as soon as I jump out of the car after the last race I cannot wait for the next year to be back in the car racing in front of my fans. I hugely appreciate all the support because it’s really special to have these people standing behind me. No matter what happens they are 100 per cent there and supporting me. It gives me an extra boost many times and extra energy, especially when things are not really going my way.” 

New era takes shape
With a rulebook designed to promote corner-by-corner overtaking, a packed grid featuring four world champions and a host of national and international touring car title-winners, an abundance of young stars, three ex-Formula One drivers and seven customer racing brands, the stage is set for a thrilling spectacle at the Hungarian Grand Prix venue, which hosted the FIA World Touring Car Championship from 2011-2017. 

In an intriguing twist, WTCR – the new name for the WTCC – gets three races per weekend, plus a second qualifying session. There’s also the ground-breaking TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver award, which goes to the racer scoring the most points during a weekend and live Race 1 coverage on Facebook and at OSCARO.com, website of the WTCR Series Presenting Partner partner and the world’s leading online retailer of original automotive spare parts. Fans in Hungary will be treated to live coverage of all races on M4 Sport, while two local young stars – Dániel Nagy and Attila Tassi – have been handed wildcard entries in recognition of their talent and potential. 

ESSENTIALS
All you need to know:
Click here for the event guide, timetable and other essential information
Who’s in it to win it? Click here to find out more about the WTCR drivers
Meet the WTCR Race of Hungary wildcards: Click here for more information
WTCR explained? Click here to find out more
Standings: Click here to find out who is in front after the opening three races
For everything else… Go to the online WTCR Media Centre by clicking here

THE CHALLENGE AHEAD
Located less than 20 kilometres northeast of Budapest, the Hungaroring is famed for hosting the first Formula One grand prix behind the old Iron Curtain in 1986. Ever-present on the F1 calendar since, the Hungaroring has also become a popular venue for world touring car racing, particularly since the emergence of Norbert Michelisz as a local hero and especially following his pole-to-flag victory in 2015. Resurfaced for 2016 with re-profiled kerbing to boot, the track blends tight turns and fast sweeps while its valley location makes for an initial descent before a climb back up to the high-speed Turn 4.

WHO’S ON THE GRID?
World Touring Car champions:
Thed Björk, Rob Huff, Yvan Muller, Gabriele Tarquini
WTCC Trophy winners: Mehdi Bennani, Tom Coronel, Norbert Michelisz
WTCC race winners: Yann Ehrlacher, Esteban Guerrieri, Gianni Morbidelli, Pepe Oriola 
British Touring Car champions: Fabrizio Giovanardi, Gordon Shedden, James Thompson
TCR title winners: Aurélien Comte, Benjamin Lessennes, Jean-Karl Vernay
Young racing hopefuls: Denis Dupont, John Filippi, Mato Homola, Norbert Nagy, Aurélien Panis, Zsolt Szabó
International racers: Nathanaël Berthon, Frédéric Vervisch
Wildcards: Dániel Nagy, Attila Tassi

FIVE TO WATCH
1 Benjamin Lessennes v Attila Tassi:
Lessennes, Tiago Monteiro’s stand-in at Boutsen Ginion Racing, will be the youngest driver on the grid, albeit by 15 days over Attila Tassi, last year’s TCR International runner-up and one of Hungary’s big hopes for the future. Who will be the top teen?
2 Dániel Nagy: Twenty-year-old Nagy will be eager to make the most of his wildcard selection as he returns to international competition after one and a half seasons spent battling bad luck in the WTCC. He will drive for M1RA, the team co-founded by Norbert Michelisz.
3 Gianni Morbidelli: The ex-Formula One driver scored his one and only WTCC win at the Hungroring in 2014. Having raced at the track in TCR International last season, the Italian returns in a Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta alongside compatriot Fabrizio Giovanardi.
4 Esteban Guerrieri: With WTCR Race of Morocco not delivering the return Honda-powered Guerrieri had hoped for, expect a backlash from the ALL-INKL.COM Münnich ace Argentine.
5 Pepe Oriola: Team OSCARO by Campos Racing’s Spaniard showed plenty of promise in Morocco and impressed at the Hungaroring in the TCR International Series last season. 

WHAT THE WTCR DRIVERS HAVE SAID ABOUT THE HUNGARORING

Thed Björk (YMR Hyundai i30 N TCR): “It’s a challenging track because it’s very technical, it can be hot outside and with so many cars in the races you can easily get stuck [in traffic]. But these cars are different from last year so I think we will have good races. Of all the permanent tracks we race at, qualifying will be the most important at the Hungaroring.”

Mato Homola (DG Sport Compétition PEUGEOT 308TCR): “It’s my home race because it’s closest to Slovakia and my home city Bratislava and many Slovak fans will come. I have raced there a couple of times and every time I had quite good results. I like the track, it’s not so fast but it’s twisty, it’s challenging with a good atmosphere.”

Rob Huff (Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR): “Ultimately the cars will be closer, these cars allow us to race much closer and the Hungaroring always creates lots of overtaking opportunities. Then we have the fantastic fans, probably the best fans we get. They are there for Norbi but they tend to have a few favourites as well and I’m very privileged to be one of those so I have a lot fans in Hungary. Budapest itself is an amazing place to be, full of culture and history and a wonderful place to stay for a few days after the race.”

Gianni Morbidelli (Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR): “The track is perfect for touring car racing. I have raced there in Formula One as well and I have good memories because I won with BMW in the European Touring Car Championship and the only race I won in WTCC was there also. The atmosphere is very good, people have a passion for motorsport, more for Michelisz but they have a passion for touring car and it’s great to be there. My wife is half Hungarian, her parents live in Budapest, it’s a beautiful and romantic city.”

Zsolt Szabó (Zengő Motorsport Cupra TCR): “So far I have competed once at the Hungaroring and I stood on the podium, which is a very nice memory, the best I have ever had and it would be good to repeat it again and again. Given the competition this year getting a point would be fantastic and I can hardly wait for the Hungaroring weekend because this is the race where my friends and family can come to see me compete and that gives me extra motivation. It is my most important weekend and my goal is to show them what I can do.”

WEEKEND FORMAT EXPLAINED

In a major change to the previous WTCC race weekend format, each WTCR event will consist of three races – an increase from the previous two. One qualifying session and one race will take place on the opening day, with the second day more in keeping with the old WTCC timetable: namely a three-phase qualifying session and two races with the first race utilising a reverse grid.

Day one (28 April): Free Practice 1 (30 minutes), Free Practice 2 (30 minutes); First Qualifying (30 minutes); Race 1 (12 laps)
Day two (29 April): Second Qualifying Q1 (20 minutes); Second Qualifying Q2 (10 minutes); Second Qualifying Q3 (top-five shootout); Race 2 (12 laps, top 10 positions after Second Qualifying reversed); Race 3 (15 laps, grid as per combined order after Q3)

Points allocation (races only, Q3 top five awarded points on a 5-4-3-2-1 scale):

Race

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

R1

27

20

17

14

12

10

8

6

4

2

R2

25

18

15

12

10

8

6

4

2

1

R3

30

23

19

16

13

10

7

4

2

1


WTCR RACE OF HUNGARY IN NUMBERS
7:
Drivers racing at the Hungaroring have won seven World Touring Car titles between them
2: Zsolt Szabó was racing online two years ago but has made rapid progress since Zengő Motorsport handed him his dream opportunity to compete for real
4: Yvan Muller won more World Touring Car races at the Hungaroring than any other driver with four triumphs. Attila Tassi was a double winner when the TCR International Series visited in 2017
11: Eleven different nationalities will be represented at WTCR Race of Hungary
24: Drivers will be permitted to use 24 Yokohama tyres at WTCR Race of Hungary

FAST FACTS
1:
After 30 years of operation, the Hungaroring was finally resurfaced in 2016 with 57,000 square metres of asphalt laid. And to prove just how smooth the new covering was, five WTCC drivers ate goulash while sat on the track for a photocall.
2: One of the highlights of the WTCC Race of Hungary weekend is the Nagy Futum parade through the streets of Budapest, which, this year takes place on the Tuesday after the event (1 May).
3: Home hero Norbert Michelisz is the fastest driver around the Hungaroring in a TCR car – both in qualifying and race mode. Set in a Honda Civic Type R TCR last June, Michelisz’s qualifying best is a 1m52.740s, while his fastest race time is a 1m54.252s.
4: Hungary is one of the oldest countries in Europe. It was founded in 896, before France and Germany became separate entities, and before the unification of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.
5: Hungarian inventions include the Rubik’s cube (Erno Rubik), the ballpoint pen (László Bíró) and the theory of the hydrogen bomb (Edward Teller).

WHERE TO WATCH THE WTCR
In a significant move First Qualifying and Race 1 will be live on Facebook in most countries, plus on OSCARO.com in Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and USA. Eurosport will broadcast live coverage of Second Qualifying, Race 2 and Race 3, plus highlights of First Qualifying and Race 1. All qualifying sessions and races will be live on Eurosport Player. Live coverage will also be broadcast on Fox Sports (Latin America), J SPORTS (Japan), M4 Sport (Hungary), OSN (Middle East and North Africa) and 2M in Morocco. An additional exciting agreement for live broadcasts will be announced soon. 

E
THE WTCR IS PROMOTED BY EUROSPORT EVENTS LTD
DISCOVERY HOUSE, 566 CHISWICK HIGH ROAD, LONDON W4 5YB, UK.
TEL: +44 2036813000, F +44 2036813250
REGISTERED IN ENGLAND & WALES UNDER NO. 4361881 VAT NO. GB 792 1320 40 

 

FIA WTCR Media Centre

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FIA WTCR Media Centre


 

FIA WTCR Media Centre


FIA WTCR Media Centre


 

FIA WTCR Media Centre


 

FIA WTCR Media Centre



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