Honda Civic Type R TCR teams head to this weekend’s sixth round of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup at the Slovakia Ring eager to enter the summer break on a high.
With two wins and three podiums already this season, Yann Ehrlacher lies second in the Drivers’ points and has helped his team; ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport to third in the Teams’ Championship.
Having celebrated his 22nd birthday last week, the Frenchman is keen to return to the top step of the podium after major car damage sustained in Portugal – in an opening-lap incident of other drivers’ making – denied him the chance of another big points haul.
Like Yann, team-mate Esteban Guerrieri has never raced at the Slovakia Ring and also aims to use the event to bounce back from a frustrating weekend in Portugal in which a second place in Race One was the high point.
The Nrburgring race winner lies eighth in the points table, but is the fifth-best qualifier in the WTCR and has put his car inside the top five on the grid on four occasions in 2018.
The German team will run two cars this weekend. With James Thompson unavailable and the damage sustained by all three cars in Portugal requiring lengthy repairs, there has not been time to prepare and test a replacement driver. They will return to a three-car line-up for the Asian races.
Boutsen Ginion Racing’s Benjamin Lessennes added to his impressive rookie season at world level with a pair of top-10 finishes in Portugal.
The 19-year-old Belgian is another Slovakia Ring newcomer, but is looking forward to racing at a conventional circuit after experiencing the demands of the Vila Real street circuit last time out.
His team-mate Tom Coronel, by contrast, was a race winner in World Touring Cars at the Slovakia Ring in 2013 and is always a hugely-popular figure wherever the WTCR paddock moves.
Having been added to the calendar recently as a replacement for the now-cancelled Race of Argentina, the Slovakia Ring returns to World Touring Cars for the first time since 2016.
On that occasion, a victory for Honda’s Tiago Monteiro put him on top of the championship, and the Portuguese driver – who confirmed recently that he plans to return to racing later in the year – will again be on-site to help the team with his track experience.
Unusually in the WTCR, practice and qualifying take place on Friday with two races and second qualifying on Saturday and the final 11-lap event on Sunday morning.