source: Audi Sport
- High price for poor qualifying results in FIA WTCR
- All four drivers in the points on the circuit at Ningbo
- Accidents not of its own doing deprive Audi Sport of better positions several times
Unfavorable positions in both qualifying sessions deprived Audi Sport customer racing of better results on the seventh race weekend of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup in China. In the end, seventh place clinched by Frédéric Vervisch following a display of fighting spirit in the third race was the best result for the Audi RS 3 LMS at Ningbo.
In China, Comtoyou Team Audi Sport and Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport experienced an extremely difficult weekend because the four Audi Sport drivers clearly remained below their expectations as early as in both qualifying sessions. Tenth position by Niels Langeveld for the first sprint race was the best result in qualifying. The Dutchman in the Audi RS 3 LMS of Comtoyou Team Audi Sport improved to ninth place in a race that saw no major positional shifts. In the turbulent second race, Jean-Karl Vernay was the best driver under the banner of the four rings. From 13th on the grid, the Frenchman had already fought back to seventh position when shortly before the end of the race some fierce battles with plenty of body contacts ensued. Vernay was one of the victims and ultimately crossed the finish line in the eleventh spot.
Subsequently, the third race turned out to be the best one for Audi Sport this weekend. Frédéric Vervisch had entered the final competition in fourteenth place. The Belgian from Comtoyou Team Audi Sport made up one position after another, avoided contacts with his opponents in an accident-prone race and in doing so improved to seventh place. Gordon Shedden from Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport clearly moved forward twice as well: from the 25th spot, he fought back to 14th position after fierce attacks by his rivals in the second race and to 15th in the third round. The victims of accidents not of their own doing in the last race included two Audi Sport drivers, Jean-Karl Vernay and Niels Langeveld. Even so, each of the four drivers of an Audi RS 3 LMS scored points in China.
“That all four drivers showed a strong fight in China and kept making up ground in the races is a positive,” said Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “Our weakness this time was clearly in the qualifying sessions. This deprived our drivers of many chances. We need to move on from the weekend in China and clearly improve in qualifying at the next round.”
Following the race in China, Japan is coming up next on the FIA WTCR calendar. From October 25 to 27, the touring car racing series will hold its eighth event on the challenging circuit at Suzuka.