ETCC - Czech Republic ready for a most epic ETCC Showdown | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

ETCC - Czech Republic ready for a most epic ETCC Showdown

02.10.17

ETCC - 2017 Race of Most - Preview 

RACE PREVIEWFIA ETCC Race of Most, rounds 9 and 10 of 12, 6-8 October 2017

*Five drivers can still land ETCC title glory at Autodrom Most
*Exciting season finale broadcast live on Eurosport
*Leader Fulín aims to end two years of hurt at home event

The all-action FIA European Touring Car Cup reaches a thrilling climax in Czech Republic this weekend (6-8 October) with five drivers still able to land the coveted title.

Home hero Petr Fulín, Swiss Christjohannes Schreiber, Hungarian Norbert Nagyand Macedonian Igor Stefanovski are all firmly in contention for the ETCC crown. Peter Rikli, who partners compatriot Schreiber in his family team, still has a mathematical shot at the silverware but will need his rivals to effectively non-score, such is the points deficit he must overcome.

As well as the title fight, the ETCC's first visit to Most will deliver a number of other highlights including:

*Seventeen-year-old Czech Václav Nimč makes his European Touring Car Cup debut and becomes the first driver to race a Volkswagen Golf TCR in the ETCC
*Poland’s Maciej Laszkiewicz and Czech Petr Čížek join the list of ETCC first-timers in Lema Racing SEATs. They currently compete in the Clio Cup Central Europe series.
*Both races will be broadcast live on Eurosport and streamed as they happen at FIAETCC.com.

Elsewhere, Germany’s Andreas Pfister reckons Most will be “good” for touring car racing but fears his older-specification SEAT will keep him out of the podium fight.

Portugal’s Fábio Mota will be keen to end his ETCC campaign on a high after his qualifying pace at Zolder went unrewarded in the races.

Serb Mladen Lalušić returns to ETCC action after missing the Zolder weekend and partners Mota at LEIN Racing, while Bulgaria’s Plamen Kralev, the sole Audi RS3 LMS exponent on the entry, continues to hone the set-up of his Kraf Racing-run machine to his liking.

Hungarian lady racer Anett György completes the runners for Zengő Motorsport on the back of her best weekend so far at Zolder last month.

THE ETCC TITLE RACE AND HOW IT STANDS

Petr Fulín (CZE) Age: 40 Car: SEAT León Team: Křenek Motorsport Points: 63 Position: 1
What he said? “You need to drive with your head, and I was successful like that with third place in Zolder. You can count any numbers and points ahead, but then a broken car can surprise you. The most important [thing] is to finish the races. I wouldn’t want to see one car jump way ahead with a clear advantage and the rest fighting for scraps. All the title contenders are equally good.”
Why he can win? Unrivalled track knowledge, huge incentive after missing out on ETCC title gold two years running makes the experienced Czech a favourite for top honours.

Christjohannes Schreiber (CHE) Age: 29 Car: Honda Civic Team: Rikli Motorsport Points: 57 Position: 2
What he said? “Fulín is the favourite for the title and he has the advantage of racing on his home track. Of course it will mean a lot to me to win the title but I don't feel too much pressure. Apart from the technical issues we had this year I'm very happy how this year went, so everything that will come is like the cherry on top for me.”
Why he can win? After troubled mid-season run, Schreiber hit back in style with victory at Zolder and will be hard to beat if he’s back to his dominant early-season best.

Norbert Nagy (HUN) Age: 22 Car: SEAT León Team: Zengő Motorsport Points: 56 Position: 3
What he said? “It’s going to be a Fulín track and maybe just some official testing and free practice might be not enough to catch him. I think about the championship but I always look at it just after the last race. I don't want to know too much about the figures, I just want to enjoy the racing.
Why he can win? Having scored-back-to-back poles but no wins so far in 2017, Nagy has nothing to lose and everything to gain at the season finale.

Igor Stefanovski (MKD) Age: 34 Car: SEAT León Team: Stefanovski Racing Team Points: 55 Position: 4
What he said? “I go to Most to win and fight for the championship. That's my and my team's ambition. I don't know the Most circuit, hopefully we do some testing there beforehand.”

Why he can win? Trailing title leader Petr Fulín by the greatest margin of the main title contenders means the pressure is off Stefanovski who has form when it comes to winning FIA titles: he’s a double European hillclimb champion after all.

TEENAGER NIMČ SET FOR ETCC FINALE IN VOLKSWAGEN GOLF
Seventeen-year-old Czech Václav Nimč will step up to the FIA European Touring Car Cup when the all-action series visits his homeland for ETCC Race of Most. Nimč, in his maiden campaign in the Renault Twingo Cup with the Křenek Motorsport Junior Team, will become the first driver to race a Volkswagen Golf TCR in the ETCC. German outfit Steibel Motorsport, a long-term Křenek Motorsport partner team, has been enlisted to run Nimč’s Golf. Nimč’s father, Václav Sr, achieved success in the past, most notably in the German Super Tourenwagen Cup in the 1990s at the wheel of an Opel Vectra. And Nimč is already showing signs of continuing the family tradition with several podiums in his first season of circuit racing.

LATECOMERS SWELL MOST ETCC ENTRY
While the five-way battle for FIA European Touring Car Cup title glory will take centre stage when the ETCC visits Autodrom Most, a number of new recruits will be in action at the Czech venue. Poland’s Maciej Laszkiewicz, 46, and Czech Petr Čížek, 41, join Václav Nimč (see above) on the list of ETCC first-timers. Čížek and Laszkiewicz are regulars in the Clio Cup Central Europe series and both will drive Lema Racing SEATs.

LIVE TV FOR ETCC TITLE SHOWDOWN
The hotly-anticipated FIA European Touring Car Cup title showdown at Most will be broadcast live on Eurosport 1 on Sunday 8 October. Race 1 will be shown from 10h50 CET with Race 2 televised from 12h30 CET. Both races will also be streamed live at www.fiaetcc.com where live timing, news updates, media releases and other documentation can be found.

WEEKEND OVERVIEW
After Testing on Friday 6 October and Free Practice on Saturday morning, drivers will sample the 4.212-kilometre Autodrom Most in competitive conditions for the first time during Qualifying on Saturday afternoon when bonus points will be available for the fastest three drivers. Sunday’s 12-lap races, which will settle the five-way fight for ETCC title glory and will be shown live on Eurosport 1, take place at 10h50 and 12h30.

TRACK GUIDE IN 100 WORDS
Located an hour north of the Czech capital Prague, Autodrom Most’s opening in 1983 following four years under construction gave the country its first permanent track with rival venue Brno still a road circuit at that stage. Perhaps most famous for hosting a round of the FIA European Truck Racing Championship, the ETCC is a new addition on the Most schedule for 2017 and further proof of the circuit’s ambitions for long-term growth and prosperity. And Most’s inclusion on the ETCC calendar means a return to the Czech Republic for the ETCC following visits to Brno in 2013 and 2015.

PROVISIONAL KEY TIMINGS
Friday 6 October:
 11h40-12h25: Testing Saturday 7 October: 09h40-10h25: Free Practice; 13h30: ETCC driver family photograph (location TBC); 14h15-14h45: Qualifying; 14h50 (approx.): Post-Qualifying press conference (Media Centre) Sunday 8 October: 09h55: Live concert; 09h55-10h20: Pit walk; 10h50-11h15: Race 1 (12 laps); 12h30-12h55: Race 2 (12 laps); 13h00 (approx.): race podiums; 13h15 (approx.): Post-Race press conference (Media Centre) Timings provisional, subject to change

WHAT HAPPENED IN 2016? 
Imola in Italy staged the ETCC season finale in 2016 and delivered a weekend of high drama with 21-year-old Honda driver Kris Richard taking the title on countback after the weekend finished as it had begun: with Richard and Petr Fulín level on points. The event also marked a maiden ETCC win for Igor Stefanovski, while Niklas Mackschin celebrated turning 22 by making it eight wins in the ETCC S1600 category. Finn Aku Pellinen was a double podium finisher on his ETCC return.

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2017? 
While the ETCC continued to feature at four WTCC events, including on a combined grid at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, Zolder returned to the calendar after a break of 12 months and Most hosts the ETCC for the first time at its season-finale meeting this weekend. In other changes, the ETCC Super 2000 Cup has been renamed ETCC 1 with the ETCC Super 1600 Cup renamed ETCC 2. The ETCC Nations’ Cup will not be awarded in 2017.

ETCC RULES REFRESHER
As in previous seasons, the results of Qualifying will determine the grid order for Race 1 with the results of the first race deciding the starting grid for Race 2, albeit with the top eight finishers lining up in reverse order. However, unlike in previous seasons both races will begin from a standing start. ETCC competitors will score points as follows: fastest three drivers in qualifying: 3-2-1. The top eight finishers in each class in each race will score: 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1. A race-by-race prize fund of €18,000 will be shared among the classified all-season finishers in ETCC 1. Yokohama continues as the ETCC’s tyre partner for 2017.

PROVISIONAL STANDINGS
1 Fulín 63pts; 2 Schreiber 57; 3 Nagy 56; 4 Stefanovski 55; 5 Rikli 41.5; 6 Mota 24; etc. Full standings available here.