Event preview: Super six all set for Sochi WTCR title showdown

Event preview: Super six all set for Sochi WTCR title showdown

22.11.2021: WTCR VTB Race of Russia Sochi Autodrom 26-28 November 2021 Six drivers remain in the hunt to become the King of WTCR for 2021 as the all-action, wide-open fourth WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup season heads for its climax at Sochi Autodro

WTCR VTB Race of Russia
Sochi Autodrom
26-28 November 2021



Six drivers remain in the hunt to become the King of WTCR for 2021 as the all-action, wide-open fourth WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup season heads for its climax at Sochi Autodrom in Russia next week (November 26-28).



Yann Ehrlacher, the reigning King of WTCR following his 2020 title triumph for Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, tops the provisional standings by 36 points as the Goodyear #FollowTheLeader. But with a maximum of 60 up for grabs at the inaugural WTCR VTB Race of Russia, the outcome is far from settled with two races remaining.



Comtoyou Team Audi Sport’s Frédéric Vervisch and Honda-powered Esteban Guerrieri (ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport) trail Frenchman Ehrlacher by 36 and 37 points respectively, while Lynk & Co-equipped Cyan pair Santiago Urrutia and Yvan Muller, Ehrlacher’s four-time FIA World Touring Car Cup title-winning uncle, are also in contention.



Jean-Karl Vernay is not out of the fight either but with a 55-point deficit to Ehrlacher, the Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team driver faces a tall order to take the title. Nevertheless, the gap between second and sixth is only 19 points, while Gabriele Tarquini, currently 12th in the provisional order, can finish second.



For Tarquini (BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse), the first King of WTCR in 2018, WTCR VTB Race of Russia marks the end of an era with the Italian legend announcing on the eve of his home round of the series earlier this month that the current campaign will be his last as a full-time driver. However, the 59-year-old’s charge from P11 on the grid to fifth place in Race 2 at Adria International Raceway was proof that he won’t be slowing down just yet.



Having clinched the WTCR Trophy for independent racers at WTCR Race of Italy, Gilles Magnus switches his focus to trying to wrap up the FIA WTCR Junior Driver Title in Sochi, although Luca Engstler can still deny the Belgian federation-backed talents. Magnus can also help Comtoyou Team Audi Sport stop Cyan Racing Lynk & Co from taking the entrants’ award for the third time.



Néstor Girolami will head to Russia on the back of winning a two-driver TCR South America endurance race in Buenos Aires last weekend, where Guerrieri and Tom Coronel (Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport) were also in action. Mikel Azcona (Zengő Motorsport), meanwhile, will also be on winning form following his triple victory in the TCR Spain finale at the wheel of a CUPRA Leon Competitión.



Azcona is ninth in the provisional WTCR standings after 14 races, nine points behind seventh-placed Norbert Michelisz and five behind Thed Björk. Along with Bence Boldizs, Rob Huff and Tiago Monteiro they will all aim to score big during the season finale.



Built to host the 2014 Russian Grand Prix, the 5.858-kilometre Sochi Autodrom is new for the bulk of the WTCR grid, although Jordi Gené, Attila Tassi and Vernay have all raced at the track with Gené winning the first of two TCR International counters in 2015. Urrutia and Nathanaël Berthon have raced single-seaters in Sochi in the past.



WORLD FIRST AS LADA SPORT ROSNEFT REVS UP FOR WTCR DEBUT AT HOME




LADA Sport ROSNEFT will make its debut in the WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup when the 2021 season reaches its title-deciding climax at Sochi Autodrom.


As well as competing in the all-action WTCR for the first time, LADA Sport ROSNEFT’s participation at WTCR VTB Race of Russia will provide fans of the series the chance to see the LADA Vesta Sport TCR in action when drivers Kirill Ladygin and Mikhail Mityaev will become the first Russians to take part in a WTCR event.


Ladygin, the TCR Russian Touring Car champion for 2021, and Mikhail Mityaev, who placed third in the standings, will compete as wildcard racers, which means they won’t be able to chase WTCR points and will also have to carry an additional 10 kilograms of compensation weight.




WTCR 2021 OVERVIEW



Representing 12 countries, the 2021 WTCR line-up features six FIA world title winners − including current King of WTCR Yann Ehrlacher − plus seven drivers 25 or under.



All drivers count on fuel from P1 Racing Fuels and tyres from Goodyear. Along with a Balance of Performance and a compensation weight formula, their use helps to create a level playing field. Meanwhile, significant cost-control measures help maintain strong grid numbers and allow privateer teams with limited technical support from manufacturers to fight at the front.



The 2021 season is set to comprise eight weekends with practice, qualifying and two races timetabled at each event. All events enjoy extensive live global broadcasting.



As well as the FIA Drivers’ and Teams’ titles, the FIA WTCR Junior Driver Title is for the best racer 24 or under at the start of 2021 with no WTCC/WTCR experience prior to 2019. Independent racers competing without direct manufacturer funding are eligible for the WTCR Trophy, while the TAG Heuer Best Lap Trophy and TAG Heuer Most Valuable Driver accolade are awarded at each event.



The Goodyear #FollowTheLeader recognises the driver at the head of the title standings after each qualifying session or race. They are presented with the Goodyear #FollowTheLeader blue jacket and carry the Goodyear #FollowTheLeader yellow windscreen strip on their car until such time that they no longer top the points classification.




WHAT’S NEW FOR 2021?


*There will be double-headers only in 2021 with two rather than three races at each event


*New cars from Audi (second-generation Audi RS 3 LMS) and Hyundai (Elantra N TCR) join the grid


*P1 Racing Fuels is WTCR’s Official Fuel Supplier


*Jordi Gené is a WTCR newcomer, while Rob Huff and Frédéric Vervisch are back having missed out on the action in 2020


*Adria, Estoril, Most, Pau-Arnos and Sochi are new venues for 2021, while Czech Republic, France Italy and Russia host the WTCR for the first time


*The Rookie driver award is redefined and renamed as the FIA Junior Driver Title


*WTCR promoter Discovery Sports Events (previously Eurosport Events) holds the FIA’s Three Star Environmental

 

 

DID YOU KNOW?




*The 2021 WTCR season has been wide open from the start with 10 winners from 14 races so far, 16 podium finishers and a different driver on top in all seven Q3 pole position shootouts. In addition, nine out of 11 all-season entrants have finished on the podium so far while seven out of 11 teams have won races.


*Esteban Guerrieri is the WTCR’s most successful driver in terms of race wins with the Honda-powered driver triumphing 10 times for ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport.


*The Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition as the Official Safety Car of the WTCR for a second season. Bruno Correia from Portugal is the Official Safety Car Driver at WTCR VTB Race of Russia.






Richard Rodgers, photos WTCR DPPI

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22.11.2021 / MaP

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