WTCR - 2020 WTCR Race of Slovakia - Preview | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

WTCR - 2020 WTCR Race of Slovakia - Preview

02.10.20

The WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup’s non-stop action adventure tour heads east from the iconic Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany to a track ranked as a favourite among drivers, and with a reputation for exhilarating racing 

The WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup’s non-stop action adventure tour heads east from the iconic Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany to a track ranked as a favourite among drivers, and with a reputation for exhilarating racing.

EVENT ESSENTIALS
What? 2020 WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup, Rounds 5, 6 and 7 of 16
When? October 9-11, 2020
Where? Slovakia Ring, near Bratislava, Slovakia
Track length: 5.922 kilometres
Race 1 distance: 9 laps (53.114 kilometres)
Race 2 distance: 9 laps (53.114 kilometres)
Race 3 distance: 11 laps (64.958 kilometres)
WTCR qualifying lap record: Gabriele Tarquini (Hyundai i30 N TCR) 2m09.312s (164.8kph), 14/07/18
WTCR race lap record: Gabriele Tarquini (Hyundai i30 N TCR) 2m11.061s (162.6kph), 14/07/18

EVENT OVERVIEW
The WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup’s non-stop action adventure tour heads east from the iconic Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany to a track ranked as a favourite among drivers, and with a reputation for exhilarating racing.

Ever-present on the WTCR schedule since the series began in 2018 and a familiar fixture on the FIA World Touring Car Championship roster prior to that, the Slovakia Ring blends high-speed sweeps, tight and twisty sections, plus a peppering of climbs and descents.

With the prospect of changeable weather, an exciting challenge is in store for the all-season WTCR drivers and the wildcard racers taking to the grid for the first triple-header of the current campaign in their Goodyear-equipped TCR cars.

While two races were timetabled at the events in Belgium and Germany, WTCR Race of Slovakia features three races on Sunday October 11 following two free practice sessions and the three-phase knock-out style qualifying on Saturday October 10. As a three-race event, the new-for-2020 grid formation format will be adopted for the first time (see separate section for more information).

After two events, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co’s Yann Ehrlacher wears the yellow jacket and carries the distinctive yellow windscreen strip as the Goodyear #FollowTheLeader. The Frenchman, 24, took wins at Zolder and the Nürburgring Nordschleife, where Honda-powered ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport drivers Néstor Girolami and Esteban Guerrieri triumphed respectively.

Comtoyou Racing Audi driver Gilles Magnus, who is supported by the Belgian ASN RACB National Team initiative, heads the WTCR Rookie Driver classification, while Tom Coronel from Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport tops the WTCR Trophy table following the opening four races. In the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup for Teams, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co holds the advantage.

While COVID-19 restrictions mean the event will run behind closed doors, fans can count on extensive live broadcasting − including on RTVS in Slovakia, plus Sport TV in Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary − as well fresh and fun content across the WTCR’s social channels. The live broadcasting package covers six continents as part of the WTCR’s biggest broadcast distribution ever.

As well as the 20 all-season racers, two wildcard drivers appear on the entry list to provide added intrigue. Czech Petr Fulín, who scored a weekend-best fifth at WTCR Race of Slovakia in 2018, returns to the series and will drive a Goodyear-equipped CUPRA Leon Competición TCR for the first time. Italian Luca Filippi, a vastly successful single-seater racer with Formula One testing experience, continues his race-by-race programme in a Team Mulsanne, Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR by Romeo Ferraris having impressed on his debut at WTCR Race of Belgium last month.

WTCR Race of Slovakia is the first of two-back-back events with WTCR Race of Hungary taking place from October 16-18 at the Hungaroring. WTCR Race of Hungary event information will be issued on October 9 with the preview following on Monday October 12.

THE ALL-SEASON WTCR RACERS
1 Norbert Michelisz (HUN) BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse, Hyundai i30 N TCR

7 R Jack Young (GBR) Vuković Motorsport, Renault Mégane RS TCR

8 R Luca Engstler (DEU) Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team, Hyundai i30 N TCR

9 Attila Tassi (HUN) ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR

11 Thed Björk (SWE) Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 03 TCR, Lynk & Co 03 TCR

12 Santiago Urrutia (USA) Cyan Performance Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR

16 R T Gilles Magnus (BEL) Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS

17 Nathanaël Berthon (FRA) Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS

18 Tiago Monteiro (PRT) ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR

29 Néstor Girolami (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR

30 Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR

31 Tom Coronel (NED) Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS

55 R T Bence Boldizs (HUN) Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición TCR

68 Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR, Lynk & Co 03 TCR

69 Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA) Team Mulsanne, Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR by Romeo Ferraris

86 Esteban Guerrieri (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR

88 Nicky Catsburg (NED) Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team, Hyundai i30 N TCR

96 Mikel Azcona (ESP) Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición TCR

99 Gábor Kismarty-Lechner (HUN) Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición TCR

100 Yvan Muller (FRA) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR

R = Rookie Award contender; T = WTCR Trophy contender

THE WTCR RACE OF SLOVAKIA WILDCARDS
22 Petr Fulín (CZE) VEXTA DOMY, CUPRA Leon Competición TCR

25 Luca Filippi (ITA) Team Mulsanne, Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR by Romeo Ferraris

HOW THEY STAND
After four rounds, Yann Ehrlacher remains the Goodyear #FollowTheLeader and will carry the yellow windscreen strip at the start of the WTCR Race of Slovakia weekend. Here’s a reminder of how he and the chasing pack stand following WTCR Race of Germany:

1 Yann Ehrlacher (FRA) 92 points

2 Néstor Girolami (ARG) 61

3 Thed Björk (SWE) 61

4 Yvan Muller (FRA) 60

5 Tom Coronel (NLD) 45

6 Esteban Guerrieri (ARG) 40

7 Attila Tassi (HUN) 38

8 Jean-Karl Vernay (FRA) 37

9 Santiago Urrutia (URY) 34

10 Gilles Magnus (BEL) 34

Click HERE for full standings including Teams’, Rookie Driver and WTCR Trophy classifications

WEEKEND DIARY
Saturday October 10
Free Practice 1: 10h00-10h45
Free Practice 2: 13h45-14h15
Qualifying Q1: 16h30-16h50
Qualifying Q2: 16h55-17h05
Qualifying Q3: 17h15 (first car starts DHL Pole Position top five shootout)

Sunday October 11
Race 1: 09h15 (9 laps)
Race 2: 12h45 (9 laps)
Race 3: 14h45 (11 laps)
All timings are shown in CET, are provisional and subject to change

KEY NUMBERS
92: WTCR points scored by Yann Ehrlacher to make him the Goodyear #FollowTheLeader
225: T2 at Slovakia Ring is one of the fastest corners of the season with drivers topping 225kph
100,000: The WTCR’s #RaceToCare programme in support of the FIA’s #PurposeDriven movement aims to raise €100,000 by the end of the season in the fight against COVID-19
1: No driver has won a WTCR race in Slovakia more than once with six different winners so far
21: Gilles Magnus, 21, from Belgium, heads the WTCR Rookie Driver standings after four races

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2020?

THE DRIVERS
*Bence Boldizs, Gábor Kismarty-Lechner, Gilles Magnus, Santiago Urrutia and Jack Young are new
*Nathanaël Berthon is back after a season away, while Luca Engstler has gone full time after making two appearances in 2019

THE TEAMS
*ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport adds two cars under the ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport banner
*Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team embarks on its first all-season bid
*Zengő Motorsport returns as a full-season entrant having featured once as a wildcard in 2019
*Vuković Motorsport steps up from TCR Europe with a Renault Mégane-powered effort

THE LINE-UPS
*Yann Ehrlacher joins uncle Yvan Muller in representing Cyan Racing Lynk & Co
*Tiago Monteiro and Attila Tassi will form the ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport attack
*Jean-Karl Vernay switches to a Team Mulsanne Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR by Romeo Ferraris
*Nicky Catsburg moves to Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team

THE CARS
*CUPRA’s Leon Competición is all-new for 2020
*The Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition is the WTCR’s new Official Safety Car

THE TYRES
*Goodyear is the new official tyre supplier and will provide its Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport in one compound for dry and wet weather use

THE NUMBERS
*Norbert Michelisz takes over the coveted number 1 following his 2019 title triumph
*Gabriele Tarquini reverts to the number 30 he used to win the 2018 WTCR title
*Tom Coronel goes from 50 to 31 to mark the number of seasons he’s been racing

THE EVENTS
*Six-event, European-only scheduled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
*Zolder, Aragón and Adria are new to WTCR, which has never visited Belgium, Spain or Italy before

THE QUALIFYING FORMAT AND GRID FORMATION
*See separate section for more details

WHAT’S UP FOR GRABS?
WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup for Drivers
WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup for Teams
WTCR Rookie Driver
WTCR Trophy
DHL Pole Position
Goodyear #FollowTheLeader
TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy
TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver

WTCR QUALIFYING: HOW IT WORKS?
WTCR Race of Slovakia features a three-phase single qualifying session split into Qualifying Q1, Qualifying Q2 and Qualifying Q3:

QUALIFYING Q1
How long? 20 minutes
Who scores what? Fastest 5 score points (5-4-3-2-1)
Who gets to Q2? Top 12
Anything else? Quickest driver claims the DHL Pole Position for Race 1

QUALIFYING Q2
How long? 10 minutes
Who scores what? No points scored
Who gets to Q3? Top 5 

QUALIFYING Q3
How long? Each driver gets one out lap, one flying lap and one in lap
Who goes first in the shootout? The driver who is P1 in Q2 chooses when they run followed by the driver in P2, P3 etc.
Who scores what? Fastest 5 score points (5-4-3-2-1)
Anything else? Quickest driver claims the DHL Pole Position for Race 3

WTCR GRIDS: HOW ARE THEY FORMED?
Race 1: Final order of Qualifying Q1
Race 2: Positions 1-10 from the combined qualifying times line up in reverse order, positions 11-12 occupied by the cars from Q2 that are not in reverse order. All other cars line up behind from P13 downwards (according to their Q1 time)
Race 3: Top 5 positions occupied by order of Q3, positions 6-12 occupied by cars eliminated during Q2 (according to their Q2 time). Remaining positions occupied by cars eliminated in Q1.

HOW THEY SCORE?
The fastest 5 drivers in Qualifying Q1 and Qualifying Q3 score points as follows:
5-4-3-2-1

The top 15 classified finishers score points in each race as follows*:
25-20-16-13-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1

*The same scoring system apples to the WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup for Teams and the WTCR Rookie Driver classification. WTCR Trophy drivers score as follows: 10-8-5-3-1, 1 point for the fastest qualifying lap, 1 point for the fastest lap in each race

WTCR RACE OF SLOVAKIA: RECENT WINNERS
2019:
Race 1: Frédéric Vervisch (BEL) Audi RS 3 LMS
Race 2: Néstor Girolami (ARG) Honda Civic Type R TCR
Race 3: Ma Qing Hua (CHN) Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR
2018:
Race 1: 
Pepe Oriola (ESP) CUPRA TCR
Race 2: Gabriele Tarquini (ITA) Hyundai i30 N TCR
Race 3: Norbert Michelisz (HUN) Hyundai i30 N TCR

WTCR Q&A: YANN EHRLACHER
The Goodyear #FollowTheLeader talks confidence, praise from Yvan Muller and the prospect of great racing at the Slovakia Ring in his Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR.

You head to the Slovakia Ring on the back of an amazing performance on the world’s toughest track, the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Did you ever imagine it could have been so good?
“I always like this track, even if it’s quite difficult. You never really enjoy it but you always quite like it. I’m quite confident and happy with my pace when it’s high speed and a bit dangerous, which has always been the case when we go to a track like the Nordschleife or Vila Real. I was confident that the performance would have been quite okay but in those conditions on the wet it’s a bit of a gamble and it’s so easy to go off. I was sure the pace would be good but I never expected I would get such a good result in both races. That was mega and those kinds of weekends in racing it’s better to enjoy it because it’s not happening all the time.”

Externally at least you come across as a driver with a lot of self-belief. Has that increased even more after what you achieved in Germany?
“I was always a bit struggling with my confidence but this lockdown gave me some time to prepare myself mentally and physically. For sure what happened will give me more confidence for the rest of the season, it’s always good to be in this position and it’s a message to say, ‘the work you did is going on the right direction so keep working that way’. It’s always good to have this so you know what way to work. I will keep working that but it will definitely not make me take it easy or be over-confident, that’s for sure.”

What did it mean to you when you heard Yvan Muller say your Nordschleife drive was on “another planet” given what he’s achieved in FIA World Touring Car racing?
“I read this and I’m just super-happy. It means the work I have done since I started has been worth it to put so much energy and time on that. But it’s not just because he’s my uncle but he’s one of the most successful drivers in the championship. This makes me quite proud.”

You’ve not got to do it all again at Slovakia Ring, a circuit where you and your team struggled a bit last year. What can you achieve this year?
“Last year we were quite in the back of the grid. But we have made a lot of improvement, giving a lot of analysis to everything. We went there testing before the lockdown and we learn things and we improve ourselves. I don’t expect we will be as strong as in Zolder or the Nürburgring, although at the Nürburgring I am not sure we were the strongest because it’s a track where you not only rely on the car performance. Slovakia Ring will be difficult, the compensation weight will be introduced, but we should be able to fight for good points.”

Just how tough is a lap of the Slovakia Ring?
“It’s difficult not to make mistakes there and a mistake costs a lot of time. There are a lot of high-speed corners, a lot of corners where you go in with brakes and it’s easy to have a little lock of the brakes. If you miss an apex there you lose a lot of time because there are long straights. In the races it will not be that difficult but to put in a good qualifying lap is a matter of not doing any mistakes and having a car that’s really well set-up.”

How good will the racing be live on TV?
“With the long straights and the slipstream there is plenty of places to overtake, especially at the beginning of the race when everyone is quite close to each other. I expect the cars will be really close. Everybody can push fully in the races because the ballast [calculation] is not counting in the races. We will have really interesting and exciting races.”

DID YOU KNOW?
If previous Slovakia Ring form is anything to go by then Team Mulsanne’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta Veloce TCR by Romeo Ferraris will be one to watch. At WTCR Race of Slovakia last season, Ma Qing Hua took a win and a second place with Kevin Ceccon twice finishing third in one of the Italian machines.

MEDIA SERVICES AND RESOURCES
Virtual pre-event press conference: 18h00 CET, Friday October 9 live on Facebook. Submit questions in advance to: media@fiawtcr.com.

DHL Pole Position Media Zone (follows Qualifying, Saturday October 10): live interviews with the five drivers from Qualifying Q3 on Facebook. Submit questions in advance to: media@fiawtcr.com.

Race 1 virtual press conference (follows Race 1, Sunday October 11): with the top three finishers live on Facebook. Submit questions in advance to: media@fiawtcr.com.

Race 2 virtual press conference (follows Race 2, Sunday October 11): with the top three finishers live on Facebook. Submit questions in advance to: media@fiawtcr.com.

Race 3 virtual press conference (follows Race 3, Sunday October 11): with the top three finishers live on Facebook. Submit questions in advance to: media@fiawtcr.com.

Newsfeed: Requests to vianney_castillo@discovery.com or Lena_Trupin@discovery.com

Driver audio files and transcripts: Available on request by emailing media@fiawtcr.com.

Photo gallery (high-resolution, rights-free images), press release archive, driver profiles, statistics, Q&As and more:https://www.fiawtcr.com/media/register/

WTCR 2020 CALENDAR
WTCR Race of Belgium (Zolder, September 11-13) 2 races
WTCR Race of Germany (Nürburgring Nordschleife, September 24-26) 2 races
WTCR Race of Slovakia (Slovakia Ring, October 9-11) 3 races
WTCR Race of Hungary (Hungaroring, October 16-18) 3 races
WTCR Race of Spain (MotorLand Aragón, October 30-November 1) 3 races
WTCR Race of Italy (Adria International Raceway, November 13-15) 3 races

WHERE TO WATCH?
Click here for more information. View the press release: Biggest ever broadcast distribution announced by Eurosport Events for WTCR «COVID mode»