Belgian star targets revenge in Bahrain following FIA Motorsport Games despair
Top three in final standings the goal for Comtoyou Team Audi Sport’s WTCR race winner
WTCR Race of Saudi Arabia provides another opportunity for Magnus to score big
A top three overall finish in the WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup for Gilles Magnus would mean mission accomplished and revenge following his FIA Motorsport Games heartache last month.
Magnus was on course for gold medal glory at Circuit Paul Ricard only for a mechanical glitch to rob his Audi RS 3 LMS of drive and consign the Belgian to a hugely frustrating retirement.
Heading to WTCR Race of Bahrain this week (November 10-12), the Comtoyou Team Audi Sport driver is firmly in contention for a top-three finish in this season’s final standings with the King of WTCR title still in reach for the 23-year-old ace.
“To be very honest winning the title will be very difficult,” said the three-time WTCR race winner. “Mikel Azcona and Hyundai are clever enough and they have quite a big margin so it will be really tough to catch them. But I still believe I can finish in the top three and that’s, for me, the main target because second or third would be goal achieved.”
Revenge sought after FIA Motorsport Games heartbreak
Magnus stepped up to the WTCR for the 2020 season with support from the RACB National Team, a renowned talent-backing scheme established by his country’s ASN. He was flying the Belgium flag when he suffered FIA Motorsport Games heartbreak in late October.
“It was really disappointing,” said Magnus. “I dominated the whole weekend and in my head I had already won, but it’s not over before it’s really over. It’s not been an issue with the second-generation Audi but I think the tyres we used [for the FIA Motorsport Games] maybe asked more of our driveshafts and it was the driveshaft that broke when I was leading. Two of the four Comtoyou cars had the issue in the first race so I started thinking about it and started worrying about it but I hoped I would survive. I was trying to take care and not be too aggressive in certain ways but it happened already in the first lap and it was not meant to be. It’s made me even more eager to win in Bahrain because it was a win that was really stolen from me. It was really painful and I am looking forward to trying to take revenge and getting that first spot in Bahrain.”
“Dream track” just the ticket for Bahrain-bound Magnus
Magnus has yet to sample Bahrain International Circuit’s 5.412-kilometre layout but he has visited the venue previously. “I was there for karting when I saw the WEC race. It was impressive and racing on the same weekend in WTCR is quite cool actually because I have done some regional prototype races. It’s also cool because it’s a Formula One track and it can be a dream track for us. Whenever it’s Formula One-style, big with a lot of big braking zones and high-speed, that’s what we like with our Audi. It should be a positive weekend for us and I hope we can take some good points.”
Magnus is joined at Comtoyou Team Audi Sport by Moroccan Mehdi Bennani. Nathanaël Berthon and Tom Coronel compete under the Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport banner, while WTCR newcomers Viktor Davidovski and Franco Girolami will fly the Comtoyou Racing flag in the Middle East.
Following WTCR Race of Bahrain this week, Magnus will return to the Middle East for the WTCR season-deciding WTCR Race of Saudi Arabia, which is scheduled to take place at Jeddah International Circuit from November 25-27.