Tarquini is first winner of WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO*
After 30 all-action races, title tussle comes down to final round and three points
Vervisch becomes driver number 15 to triumph in 2018 with Race 2 victory
Guerrieri holds off King of Macau Huff to score Suncity Group Guia Race glory
Muller leads self-run squad to WTCR OSCARO Teams’ title
While Esteban Guerrieri and Frédéric Vervisch joined Jean-Karl Vernay as WTCR Race of Macau winners, it was Gabriele Tarquini who had the biggest cause for celebration by claiming the inaugural WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO by a mere three points*.
Piloting a Hyundai i30 N TCR for BRC Racing Team on Yokohama tyres, Tarquini won the first event of the year in Morocco and has been firmly in the title fight ever since.
Despite a troubled Second Qualifying in Macau leaving him outside of the top 10 for Sunday’s deciding races, Tarquini did just enough with a P10 finish in Race 3 to hand him the title spoils ahead of Yvan Muller, the TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver of the event.
“I have the memory nine years I was thinking to stop racing because what do you want to achieve more than a world title?” said Tarquini. “It’s probably the best time to stop, but I was thinking ‘why should I stop, I want to race. I have the adrenaline, I am not very slow, I can compete again.’ And I decided, because SEAT stopped, to start again with a private team in 2010, 2011, 2012 and then I was back in a Honda team. So I didn’t stop and this has been the greatest season. And I must also thank Hyundai for choosing me in the beginning, all the team, the mechanics and my team-mate. And I also want to congratulate Yvan, who made a great job through the season. He was my toughest opponent.”
Magnificent Muller guides self-run team to entrants’ award
Yvan Muller gave his all to snatch the crown from Gabriele Tarquini’s grasp but his podium brace wasn’t quite enough to claim the top prize although his self-run, Hyundai-powered YMR squad, which was formed on the eve of the season, beat BRC to the Teams’ title thanks to his and Thed Björk’s collective efforts. Muller celebrated his triumph by announcing plans to drive for the all-new Lynk & Co Cyan Racing line-up in WTCR OSCARO in 2019. “Like I said to my team, I would easily give one of my titles to be a team champion. I will be with Lynk & Co for next year.”
Huff can’t quite make it Macau win number 10
Rob Huff claimed a double DHL Pole Position in his Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI but had to settle for third and second – plus the TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy for his efforts.
Guerrieri adds to Nürburging victory with first Macau win
Esteban Guerrieri soaked up immense pressure from DHL Pole Position starter Rob Huff to win Race 3, his second triumph of the season following his success at the Nürburgring Nordschleife earlier in the year. The Honda-powered ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport driver headed Huff and Norbert Michelisz with Muller fourth, Yann Ehrlacher fifth and Cupra-mounted Pepe Oriola completing the top six for Team OSCARO by Campos Racing.
Vervisch makes it winner number 15 of 2018
Frédéric Vervisch became winner number 15 of the inaugural WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO, pulling off a great pass to demote DHL Pole Position starter Timo Scheider to claim the Race 2 victory, taking the lead around the outside at Mandarin. Scheider took second with Yvan Muller third and Kevin Ceccon fourth in his Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Esteban Guerrieri and Yann Ehrlacher completed the top six respectively.
Race winner quotes
Jean-Karl Vernay, Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team, Audi RS 3 LMS (Race 1): “Well, I had a good start and I was hoping for a safety car, pretty much. The start was pretty good, I was able to stay in the front pack before Mandarin, Yvan was on the inside for the next corner and I just tried to help him, to push him, to go into P2. The smartest thing was it was too difficult to overtake him so I just stayed second, which was already very good and I was hoping for a safety car. And it happened the lap after. With our top speed we knew we would be able to overtake and that is what happened. After that they were quicker than us in the old town because we had a quite heavy car, so I just tried to stay out front and make no mistakes, be really consistent, make a good exit from the last two corners so Yvan could not overtake, and it was good. I’m really happy, happy for Audi and the team and the sponsors. The target was to be P3 in the championship after Race 1. I’m really happy and excited, but we have to stay focused on tomorrow and the races to come. Then we might celebrate tomorrow, but there is still a long way [to go].”
Frédéric Vervisch, Audi Sport Team Comtoyou, Audi RS 3 LMS (Race 2): “We had a strong car on the straight. Our start was quite okay, I managed to overtake Ceccon and then I was behind Timo, but on the first lap he was pulling away so I thought it would be difficult. But on the second lap his pace dropped a bit and I thought it was a possibility to overtake. But it’s not easy, but I could just overtake before Mandarin. I said it was now or never, thanks to my great car, and then I think it was just about controlling the race and not making any mistakes because they were fighting. I am very happy and it’s great to be in front of these two legends. I am very happy for the team as well, for our first victory.”
Esteban Guerrieri, ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR (Race 3): “It was a fantastic season, I really enjoyed it, with a lot of sparks with everybody here as well, but we know how it is. We know how we have to race, a bit too much sometimes, but this is racing and we always have to learn. I’m happy to finish the season in this way, winning in Macau. I have two wins this year, in Macau and on the Nordschleife, so I cannot ask for more. It was a great year and also finishing third [in the standings] I’m very pleased. I was disappointed on Friday, but if I’d known I would win today, that’s fine. I’m pleased with this guy here [Rob Huff] and I learned a lot defending from him, and of course we will have a nice battle again next year. Thanks to my team, my family, I have a lot of support and to my mother who is fighting… I am very happy, thank you.”
WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup presented by OSCARO title winner quotes:
Gabriele Tarquini, BRC Racing Team, Hyundai i30 N TCR: “It’s great. I have the memory nine years ago walking to this press conference with a world title, and I was thinking to stop racing because what do you want to achieve more than a world title? It’s probably the best time to stop, but walking there I was thinking ‘why should I stop, I want to race. I have the adrenaline, I am not very slow, I can compete again.’ And I decided, because SEAT stopped, to start again with a private team in 2010, 2011, 2012 and then I was back in a Honda team. So I didn’t stop and this has been the greatest season. And I must also thank Hyundai for choosing me in the beginning, all the team, the mechanics and my team-mate. And I also want to congratulate Yvan, who made a great job through the season. He was my toughest opponent. It was already nine and 10 years ago because we fought in 2008 and 2009. I’m really pleased he came back to race because he wanted to stop, and I remember I suggested to him: ‘I said why do you want to stop so young?’ And now I am very happy he is back and is fighting again. And I forgot my family – my wife, my daughter and son!”
WTCR OSCARO: key numbers of 2018
5: Gabriele Tarquini
4: Thed Björk, Jean-Karl Vernay
3: Yvan Muller
2: Yann Ehrlacher, Esteban Guerrieri, Rob Huff
1: Mehdi Bennani, Kevin Ceccon, Aurélien Comte, Mato Homola, Norbert Michelisz, Pepe Oriola, Gordon Shedden, Frédéric Vervisch
6: Thed Björk
4: Rob Huff
3: Norbert Michelisz
2: Gabriele Tarquini, Jean-Karl Vernay
1: Kevin Ceccon, Aurélien Comte, Gordon Shedden
5: Gabriele Tarquini
4: Thed Björk, Jean-Karl Vernay
3: Yann Ehrlacher, Norbert Michelisz
2: Rob Huff, Pepe Oriola, Frédéric Vervisch
1: Mehdi Bennani, Kevin Ceccon, Esteban Guerrieri, Yvan Muller, Dániel Nagy
Gabriele Tarquini 73; Jean-Karl Vernay 63; Thed Björk 48; Yvan Muller 32; Gordon Shedden 28; Yann Ehrlacher 26; Rob Huff 22; Mehdi Bennani 18; Aurélien Comte and Esteban Guerrieri 16; Kevin Ceccon 15; Norbert Michelisz 14; Pepe Oriola 10; Gordon Shedden and Frédéric Vervisch 5; Timo Scheider 3.