The race for the 2022 WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup Drivers’ and Teams’ titles reaches its climax in Saudi Arabia this weekend (November 26-27) when the final chequered flag will be waved on the all-action series after five seasons and 108 races.
With a 60-point advantage in his bid to be crowned King of WTCR, Goodyear #FollowTheLeader Mikel Azcona is preparing to head to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit in the knowledge that it’s very much his title to lose following a standout campaign in his BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse Elantra N TCR.
Indeed, the third fastest time in Qualifying will be enough to make him the first Spaniard and the third BRC-run driver to win the coveted title, regardless of how Néstor Girolami − his closest rival – performs aboard his ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR.
“WTCR Race of Bahrain was fantastic, a very good weekend for us,” said Azcona. “This is a very important moment of my career and I know I can achieve a great result. My goal is to win the world title and I will do everything possible to get this.”
Girolami, a two-time winner in 2022, said: “The title looks very hard now but it’s not finished, so we’ll be in maximum attack for Jeddah and see where that leaves us.”
While Azcona, 26, is in the title ascendency after 16 rounds, the chase for second and third in the final WTCR standings remains wide open. Of those preparing for battle on the newly completed Short Track at the spectacular Red Sea venue, four can still finish runner-up, while third place is between five drivers.
The inaugural WTCR Race of Saudi Arabia, which marks the first world-level touring car race to take place in the country, represents unchartered territory for all drivers with the 3.450-kilometre Jeddah Corniche Circuit’s Short Track never previously used in competition.
The Short Track essentially takes drivers from the exit of Turn 3 towards the Turn 4 left-hand corner. But instead of continuing to Turn 5 on the Full Track, drivers dive right and head through to a sweeping hairpin turn, before accelerating towards Turn 6 and then onto the left-hander at Turn 7.
Norbert Michelisz, the 2019 King of WTCR and the winner of Race 2 at WTCR Race of Bahrain last weekend, said: “I don’t have a clue about the circuit. I was watching some Formula One races [on the Full Track] and usually street circuits are good for us. I really like them, but Jeddah will be a completely new challenge.”
Esteban Guerrieri, who starts WTCR Race of Saudi Arabia as a 10-time winner in the series, which remains a record, said: “It’s a short track and let’s see how hot it is, how dirty the track is in the beginning and how it evolves during the weekend. To be honest I have to be learning while going on but we’ll go there and give it everything.”
Following Qualifying from 18h30 local time on Saturday November 26, Race 1 is set to start at 19h40 on Sunday November 27 and is scheduled to thrill fans for 30 minutes plus one lap. Race 2 is due to begin at 22h15 with drivers in action for 25 minutes plus one lap. The event will be broadcast live on the Eurosport platform, including Eurosport Player, and on other networks around the world.
Provisional entry list:
#5 Norbert Michelisz (HUN) BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse, Hyundai Elantra N TCR
#9 Attila Tasi (HUN) LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler, Honda Civic Type R TCR
#16 Gilles Magnus (BEL) Comtoyou Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS
#17 Nathanaël Berthon (FRA) Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS
#18 Tiago Monteiro (PRT) LIQUI MOLY Team Engstler, Honda Civic Type R TCR
#24 Ahmed Bin Khanen (SAU), Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS*
#29 Néstor Girolami (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR
#33 Tom Coronel (NLD) Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS
#72 Franco Girolami (ARG) Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS
#79 Rob Huff (GBR) Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición
#86 Esteban Guerrieri (ARG) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR
#88 Nicky Catsburg (NLD) BRC Hyundai N Racing Team, Hyundai Elantra N TCR*
#96 Mikel Azcona (ESP) BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse, Hyundai Elantra N TCR
#99 Dániel Nagy (HUN) Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición
#110 Viktor Davidovski (MKD) Comtoyou Racing, Audi RS 3 LMS*
WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup for Drivers provisional standings after 16 rounds:
Goodyear #FollowTheLeader: Mikel Azcona, 297 points
2 Néstor Girolami, 237 points
3 Nathanaël Berthon, 200 points
4 Rob Huff, 187 points
5 Norbert Michelisz, 179 points
WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup for Teams provisional standings after 16 rounds:
1 BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse, 476 points
2 ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, 372 points
3 Comtoyou DHL Team Audi Sport, 283 points
4 Comtoyou Team Audi Sport, 277 points
5 Zengő Motorsport, 251 points
WTCR Trophy provisional standings after 16 rounds:
1 Rob Huff, 124 points
2 Mehdi Bennani, 91 points
3 Tom Coronel, 87 points
4 Dániel Nagy, 46 points
5 Bence Boldizs, 7 points
To view the full provisional standings follow this link: https://www.fiawtcr.com/standings/
World Touring Car CupWTCRWTCRSEASON 2022SportCircuit1SportWorld Touring Car CupCircuitWTCRSEASON 2022WTCR01Friday, November 25, 2022 - 12:39pmFriday, November 25, 2022 - 12:39pm