Three races and a complete heap of motion marked the beginning of a massively thrilling period for worldwide motorsport because the WTCR – FIA World Touring Automotive Cup offered by OSCARO fired up in Morocco earlier this month. Whereas Gabriele Tarquini did the majority of the successful on the streets of Marrakech for the Hyundai-powered BRC Racing Workforce, his team-mate and residential hero Norbert Michelisz will probably 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 fireplace in qualifying and a wheel falling off his Hyundai i30 N TCR among the many issues he encountered. However with the prospect of racing in entrance of grandstands full of vociferous native followers cheering his each transfer – or blowing air horns in appreciation – the 33-year-old will probably be extra decided than ever to get his title problem again on observe. “It was a fairly unfortunate weekend in Morocco, however I nonetheless managed to get necessary factors,” stated Michelisz. “We’ve got 27 races forward and nothing is misplaced. I’m very motivated for my residence race.”
Michelisz v Muller: Episode 3
In addition to double Morocco winner Tarquini, one driver Michelisz will probably be significantly wanting to beat on the Hungaroring is Yvan Muller. The four-time World Touring Automotive champion upset the big majority of Hungarian motorsport followers when he appeared to permit Tiago Monteiro to overhaul him within the 2016 season finale in Qatar, a transfer that successfully gifted the Portuguese – Muller’s shut buddy – third place within the remaining standings at Michelisz’s expense.
And there was no love misplaced on the identical fixture 12 months later when Muller was drafted in to the manufacturing facility Volvo Polestar line-up to spice up lead driver Thed Björk’s title shot. Though a weekend of woe wrecked Michelisz’s possibilities, the presence of Muller on the grid merely riled Hungarian followers of their hundreds. And their dislike of arguably touring automotive racing’s most profitable driver boiled over three weeks in the past when Michelisz and Muller collided firstly of Race Three in Morocco as Muller returned to full-time racing in high-quality kind.
Respect all drivers, says champion Björk
However World Touring Automotive champion Björk has referred to as on followers to point out respect to all drivers as WTCR Race of Hungary fever grips. Yvan Muller’s team-mate doesn’t need followers to “push the restrict” of their assist of Norbert Michelisz over different drivers, significantly his fellow YMR driver and boss, who has obtained a lot of on-line feedback.
“All of the followers in Hungary that comply with motorsport are actually good,” stated Swede Björk. “They’re so passionate for Norbert, the ambiance is incredible with the air horns and that is what I like. However some followers are a little bit too fanatical. They need to push to a sure stage however not push it too laborious.”
An additional vitality increase
Given the bulging grid of WTCR racers, Michelisz’s focus gained’t simply be on Muller throughout what will probably be a busy schedule of apply, qualifying, racing and quite a few promotional commitments. “Racing in entrance of the Hungarian followers is superb,” he stated. “It’s at all times enormous strain within the week earlier than the race. However as quickly as I leap out of the automotive after the final race I can’t look forward to the subsequent yr to be again within the automotive racing in entrance of my followers. I massively recognize all of the assist as a result of it’s actually particular to have these folks standing behind me. It doesn’t matter what occurs they’re 100 per cent there and supporting me. It provides me an additional increase many occasions and further vitality, particularly when issues will not be actually going my manner.”
New period takes form
With a rulebook designed to advertise corner-by-corner overtaking, a packed grid that includes 4 world champions and a number of nationwide and worldwide touring automotive title-winners, an abundance of younger stars, three ex-Components One drivers and 7 buyer racing manufacturers, the stage is ready for an exciting spectacle on the Hungarian Grand Prix venue, which hosted the FIA World Touring Automotive Championship from 2011-2017.
In an intriguing twist, WTCR – the brand new title for the WTCC – will get three races per weekend, plus a second qualifying session. There’s additionally the ground-breaking TAG Heuer Most Invaluable Driver award, which fits to the racer scoring probably the most factors throughout a weekend and reside Race 1 protection on Fb and at OSCARO.com, web site of the WTCR Collection Presenting Companion associate and the world’s main on-line retailer of unique automotive spare components. Followers in Hungary will probably be handled to reside protection of all races on M4 Sport, whereas two native younger stars – Dániel Nagy and Attila Tassi – have been handed wildcard entries in recognition of their expertise and potential.
All it’s worthwhile to know: Click on right here for the occasion information, timetable and different important info
Who’s in it to win it? Click on right here to search out out extra concerning the WTCR drivers
Meet the WTCR Race of Hungary wildcards: Click on right here for extra info
WTCR defined? Click on right here to search out out extra
Standings: Click on right here to search out out who’s in entrance after the opening three races
For every little thing else… Go to the net WTCR Media Centre by clicking right here
THE CHALLENGE AHEAD
Situated lower than 20 kilometres northeast of Budapest, the Hungaroring is famed for internet hosting the primary Components One grand prix behind the previous Iron Curtain in 1986. Ever-present on the F1 calendar since, the Hungaroring has additionally turn into a well-liked venue for world touring automotive racing, significantly because the emergence of Norbert Michelisz as a neighborhood hero and particularly following his pole-to-flag victory in 2015. Resurfaced for 2016 with re-profiled kerbing in addition, the observe blends tight turns and quick sweeps whereas its valley location makes for an preliminary descent earlier than a climb again as much as the high-speed Flip 4.
WHO’S ON THE GRID?
World Touring Automotive 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 Automotive champions: Fabrizio Giovanardi, Gordon Shedden, James Thompson
TCR title winners: Aurélien Comte, Benjamin Lessennes, Jean-Karl Vernay
Younger racing hopefuls: Denis Dupont, John Filippi, Mato Homola, Norbert Nagy, Aurélien Panis, Zsolt Szabó
Worldwide 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, would be the youngest driver on the grid, albeit by 15 days over Attila Tassi, final yr’s TCR Worldwide runner-up and one among Hungary’s large hopes for the longer term. Who would be the high teen?
2 Dániel Nagy: Twenty-year-old Nagy will probably be wanting to benefit from his wildcard choice as he returns to worldwide competitors after one and a half seasons spent battling dangerous luck within the WTCC. He’ll drive for M1RA, the crew co-founded by Norbert Michelisz.
Three Gianni Morbidelli: The ex-Components One driver scored his one and solely WTCC win on the Hungroring in 2014. Having raced on the observe in TCR Worldwide final season, the Italian returns in a Workforce Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta alongside compatriot Fabrizio Giovanardi.
Four Esteban Guerrieri: With WTCR Race of Morocco not delivering the return Honda-powered Guerrieri had hoped for, count on a backlash from the ALL-INKL.COM Münnich ace Argentine.
5 Pepe Oriola: Workforce OSCARO by Campos Racing’s Spaniard confirmed loads of promise in Morocco and impressed on the Hungaroring within the TCR Worldwide Collection final season.
WHAT THE WTCR DRIVERS HAVE SAID ABOUT THE HUNGARORING
Thed Björk (YMR Hyundai i30 N TCR): “It’s a difficult observe as a result of it’s very technical, it may be scorching outdoors and with so many vehicles within the races you may simply get caught [in traffic]. However these vehicles are totally different from final yr so I feel we could have good races. Of all of the everlasting tracks we race at, qualifying will probably be an important on the Hungaroring.”
Mato Homola (DG Sport Compétition PEUGEOT 308TCR): “It’s my residence race as a result of it’s closest to Slovakia and my residence metropolis Bratislava and plenty of Slovak followers will come. I’ve raced there a few occasions and each time I had fairly good outcomes. I just like the observe, it’s not so quick however it’s twisty, it’s difficult with an excellent ambiance.”
Rob Huff (Sébastien Loeb Racing Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR): “In the end the vehicles will probably be nearer, these vehicles enable us to race a lot nearer and the Hungaroring at all times creates numerous overtaking alternatives. Then we’ve the incredible followers, most likely one of the best followers we get. They’re there for Norbi however they have an inclination to have just a few favourites as properly and I’m very privileged to be a type of so I’ve so much followers in Hungary. Budapest itself is a tremendous place to be, stuffed with tradition and historical past and an exquisite place to remain for just a few days after the race.”
Gianni Morbidelli (Workforce Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR): “The observe is ideal for touring automotive racing. I’ve raced there in Components One as properly and I’ve good reminiscences as a result of I gained with BMW within the European Touring Automotive Championship and the one race I gained in WTCC was there additionally. The ambiance is excellent, folks have a ardour for motorsport, extra for Michelisz however they’ve a ardour for touring automotive and it’s nice to be there. My spouse is half Hungarian, her mother and father reside in Budapest, it’s a gorgeous and romantic metropolis.”
Zsolt Szabó (Zengő Motorsport Cupra TCR): “Thus far I’ve competed as soon as on the Hungaroring and I stood on the rostrum, which is a really good reminiscence, one of the best I’ve ever had and it could be good to repeat it repeatedly. Given the competitors this yr getting a degree could be incredible and I can hardly look forward to the Hungaroring weekend as a result of that is the race the place my family and friends can come to see me compete and that offers me additional motivation. It’s my most necessary weekend and my objective is to point out them what I can do.”
WEEKEND FORMAT EXPLAINED
In a serious change to the earlier WTCC race weekend format, every WTCR occasion will encompass three races – a rise from the earlier two. One qualifying session and one race will happen on the opening day, with the second day extra in line with the previous WTCC timetable: specifically a three-phase qualifying session and two races with the primary race utilising a reverse grid.
Day one (28 April): Free Apply 1 (30 minutes), Free Apply 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, high 10 positions after Second Qualifying reversed); Race 3 (15 laps, grid as per mixed order after Q3)
Factors allocation (races solely, Q3 high 5 awarded factors on a 5-4-3-2-1 scale):
WTCR RACE OF HUNGARY IN NUMBERS
7: Drivers racing on the Hungaroring have gained seven World Touring Automotive titles between them
2: Zsolt Szabó was racing on-line two years in the past however has made fast progress since Zengő Motorsport handed him his dream alternative to compete for actual
4: Yvan Muller gained extra World Touring Automotive races on the Hungaroring than another driver with 4 triumphs. Attila Tassi was a double winner when the TCR Worldwide Collection visited in 2017
11: Eleven totally different nationalities will probably be represented at WTCR Race of Hungary
24: Drivers will probably be permitted to make use of 24 Yokohama tyres at WTCR Race of Hungary
1: After 30 years of operation, the Hungaroring was lastly resurfaced in 2016 with 57,00zero sq. metres of asphalt laid. And to show simply how easy the brand new masking was, 5 WTCC drivers ate goulash whereas sat on the observe for a photocall.
2: One of many highlights of the WTCC Race of Hungary weekend is the Nagy Futum parade by the streets of Budapest, which, this yr takes place on the Tuesday after the occasion (1 Might).
3: House hero Norbert Michelisz is the quickest driver across the Hungaroring in a TCR automotive – each in qualifying and race mode. Set in a Honda Civic Sort R TCR final June, Michelisz’s qualifying greatest is a 1m52.740s, whereas his quickest race time is a 1m54.252s.
4: Hungary is likely one of the oldest nations in Europe. It was based in 896, earlier than France and Germany turned separate entities, and earlier than the unification of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.
5: Hungarian innovations embody the Rubik’s dice (Erno Rubik), the ballpoint pen (László Bíró) and the idea of the hydrogen bomb (Edward Teller).
WHERE TO WATCH THE WTCR
In a big transfer First Qualifying and Race 1 will probably be reside on Fb in most nations, plus on OSCARO.com in Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and USA. Eurosport will broadcast reside protection of Second Qualifying, Race 2 and Race 3, plus highlights of First Qualifying and Race 1. All qualifying periods and races will probably be reside on Eurosport Participant. Stay protection may even be broadcast on Fox Sports activities (Latin America), J SPORTS (Japan), M4 Sport (Hungary), OSN (Center East and North Africa) and 2M in Morocco. An extra thrilling settlement for reside broadcasts will probably be introduced quickly.