Second round of the World’s Cup for the Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport - entered Audis RS3 LMS of Vernay and Shedden, while Urrutia and Potty start their campaign in the European TCR series.

It is a very busy weekend ahead for the Team WRT crews dealing with TCR cars, as both the FIA WTCR and the TCR Europe gather at the Hungaroring, the hilly track on the outskirts of Budapest, for what will be the second round of the season for the WTCR and the season-opener for the continental series. Once a year, the two series share an event, although racing separate races. Last year it was Zandvoort hosting the joint event, this year it will be the Hungaroring, but one thing won’t differ: the very large crowds that usually flock to both tracks.

After a reassuring FIA WTCR debut at Marrakesh, the Leopard Racing Team Audi Sport Audis RS3 LMS of Jean-Karl Vernay and Gordon Shedden aim at being better rewarded in terms of results, although the Hungaroring is not the favourite track of the RS3 LMS. In the TCR Europe (and TCR Benelux), Team WRT will start its 2019 campaign, with its two ‘young guns’, Santiago Urrutia and Max Potty, in a multi-brand entry. The Uruguayan will be at the wheel of an Audi RS3 LMS, while the Belgian will drive a Volkswagen Golf GTi.

In the FIA WTCR, the season opening at Marrakesh was certainly positive, although the results could have been better. “The important thing”, underlines Sporting Director Pierre Dieudonné, “is that the pace of our cars was excellent and competition very close, which indicates that the Balance of Performance is working better this year. It still very early into the season to draw conclusions, but the hard work we have been doing during the winter is yielding its fruits. The Hungaroring was a difficult weekend for us last year, it is far from being the track that suits better our cars, but I am confident that the work done is going to allow us to be in a much better position this time.”

Jean-Karl Vernayhas forgotten about the scary end of his weekend in Morocco, when he violently hit a wall at the end of Race 3 because of a brake failure, and agrees totally with Dieudonné’s analysis: “I had a few bruises in my legs because of the accident, but I did not feel stiff”, said the Frenchman. “I think it is also due to the intense physical training I did over the winter. Although we could have netted two podium finishes instead of one, Marrakesh was positive, because we proved competitive. I hope we will be so also at the Hungaroring, despite being a challenging track for us. The team has worked very well and I am confident we will be better there than we were last year. It will be crucial to bring home as many points as possible, as this year more than ever, the championship is going to be very close.”

Gordon Shedden, on his side, is equally confident: “I had a good race pace at Marrakesh and scored points, but was penalized by the difficulty of overtaking on an urban track”,says the Scot. “The Hungaroring, although a different type of track, is also known for being a track where overtaking is a challenge, so it will be key to qualify as well as possible. It is a F.1 track and I enjoyed very much driving there for the first time last year.”

After a successful inaugural year in 2018, the TCR Europepromises to be even more competitive and closely-fought this year, with over 30 cars entered and 8 brands represented. Team WRT, like often, is betting on young talents and has entrusted its cars to a pair that barely exceeds 40 years in … aggregate age!

Santiago Urrutiawill debut with tin-top cars after a successful career in single-seaters on the two sides of the Atlantic. “For me, at this first round, the important thing is continue learning touring car racing and score points”,says the Uruguayan, “If I can be in the top-10, it will be a positive thing. I know the track, and that is already a good point.”

Maxime Pottyis ready to capitalize on the experience gained in the TCR Europe last year and definitely happy to be back with the squad with which he debuted in TCR racing. “I look forward to this season”, says the Belgian, “The winter tests have gone well, the team is great and I am pleased to be back with Team WRT. Having a full TCR Europe campaign of experience will certainly help. The Golf GTi should be competitive at the Hungaroring and it will be useful to rely on the many data that the team has on this track.”

FIA WTCR - Round 2
Hungaroring, Hungary, 26-28 April 2019

Timetable (all in local time = CET)

Friday 26thApril 2019
17:00-17:45 Free Practice 1

Saturday 27thApril 2019
09:45-10:15 Free Practice 2
11:45-12:15 Qualifying 1
15:15-15:45 Race 1 (12 laps)

Sunday 28thApril 2019
10:00-10:55 Qualifying 2
15:30-16:00 Race 2 (12 laps)
17:00-17:35 Race 3 (15 laps)

TCR Europe - Round 1
Hungaroring, Hungary, 26-28 April 2019

Timetable (all in local time = CET)

Saturday 27thApril 2019
10:30-11:00 Free Practice 1
13:45-14:15 Free Practice 2
16:00-16:35 Qualifying 1 & 2

Sunday 28thApril 2019
11:25-11:50 Race 1 (23 min + 1 lap)
14:30-14:55 Race 2 (23 min + 1 lap)