The Frenchman and the Scot proved all their racing qualities on the difficult round of WTCR Race of Germany at Nurburgring. Despite racing the Nordschleife for the first time, both team mates handled the so-called “Green hell” with cleverness to score some more important points.
On Friday afternoon Thed Björk repeated himself and conquered his second Pole Position after winning a fantastic qualifying battle on the Nürburgring Nordschleife: the Swede imposed his M Racing YMR Hyundai in a thrilling second Qualifying session in which lap times dropped dramatically. After a strong 1st part of qualifying, in the last Q2 moments, Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil teammates Vernay & Shedden found themselves bumped down to P11 and P15 respectively, with championship leader Gabriele Tarquini between them in P14.
Race 2 of WTCR Race of Germany took place on this Saturday morning at 11:00 local time over the distance of 3 laps. Esteban Guerrieri rose from third on the grid to win on his Honda from the first lap to beat reverse-grid Pole Position starter and Nordschleife rookie Pepe Oriola. Wildcard entry René Rast struggled away with a clutch problem and then clashed with Rob Huff’s Volkswagen and speared off the track. Further drama on lap 1 down the field: championship leader Gabriele Tarquini crashed out, after contact with Gordon Shedden’s RS 3 LMS. Vernay claimed seventh, while Shedden survived his moment with Tarquini to finish eighth in his Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team entry.
Thed Björk made a clean start and swooped right to defend his lead from fellow front row starter Vervisch into Turn 1, as the Belgian was chasing his rival during all the race with a door-to-door contact, but positions did not change. Vernay closed as 7th again and his teammate Shedden ended 14th with an heroic work of the Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team mechanics between Race2 and Race3, to repair Gordon’s car and allow him to contest the last race of the weekend. Thed Björk claimed his first win of the season, becoming the seventh different winner jumping on third in the Drivers' standing behind new leader Muller and Tarquini. Vernay & Shedden are in 8th and 14th overall, while Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team confirms his 5th place in Teams' standing with 106 points. The WTCR will resume next weekend with the WTCR Race of Netherlands at Zandvoort for rounds 10, 11 and 12.
#69 Jean-Karl ‘Jay Kay’ VERNAY: “I am pretty happy with the weekend as a whole. I tried to do my best all weekend. Race 1 was pretty good but we were just lacking a bit of performance with our car compared to the other Audis. Race 2 could have been much better again but I got hit in the first lap and lost two positions. There was a lot of contact which wasn’t really always fair but we managed to score points. I think I’m the only one to score points in every race so that’s pretty good. Now we just need a little more performance.”
#52 Gordon ‘Flash’ SHEDDEN: “Today has been a very tough day in Germany, the races were brutal. Quite a lot of damage on many cars which is never good for anyone but that’s the NordScheilfe! I finished the races which is good in my first visit here. Hopefully we can continue he to make more progress with the car and I’m already looking forward to racing next weekend.”
WTCR 2018 Race of Germany (GMT +2) Circuit: Nürburgring Length: 25.3 Km Race distance: 3 Laps
FRIDAY, MAY 11th
Qualifying 2: 1 - Bjork / SWE / MRacing YMR / Hyundai i30 N / 8’55.085 2 - Vervisch / BEL / Audi Sport Comtoyou / RS 3 LMS / 8’56.125 3 - Michelisz / HUN / BRC Racing / Hyundai i30 N / 8’56.534 11 - Vernay / FRA / Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil / RS 3 LMS / 8’59.952 15 - Shedden / GBR / Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil / RS 3 LMS / 9’01.702
SATURDAY, MAY 12th
Race 2: 1 - Guerrieri / ARG / All-inkl.com / Honda Civic TCR / 3 Laps 2 - Oriola / SPA / Campos Racing / Cupra TCR / +1.148 3 - Vervisch / BEL / Audi Sport Comtoyou / RS 3 LMS / +2.988 7 - Vernay / FRA / Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil / RS 3 LMS / +6.148 8 - Shedden / GBR / Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil / RS 3 LMS / +14.954
Race 3: 1 - Bjork / SWE / MRacing YMR / Hyundai i30 N / 3 Laps 2 - Vervisch / BEL / Audi Sport Comtoyou / RS 3 LMS / +0.793 3 - Muller / FRA / MRacing YMR / Hyundai i30 N / +8.947 7 - Vernay / FRA / Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil / RS 3 LMS / +18.858 14 - Shedden / GBR / Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil / RS 3 LMS / +30.584