FIA WTCR - Race of Portugal - 26-27/06/2021 - Jean-Karl Vernay scored another podium in the second round of the FIA WTCR at the Circuito do Estoril.
The Engstler Motorsport driver propelled his Hyundai Elantra N TCR into Q3 during Saturday’s qualifying session, a session in which the five fastest drivers compete for pole position on one lap, and set the third fastest time. A good omen before the two races…
Race 1: a short lap and then off…
In Race 1, Vernay made a good start from 7th position (inverted grid) but behind him, Girolami missed his braking and violently hit the #69 Hyundai Elantra, causing a puncture. The Frenchman only returned to the track after his pit stop on lap 11 to check the car was working properly. An unfortunate race incident as it sometimes happens…
The podium for Race 2
Jean-Karl Vernay started perfectly from his 3rd position on the grid behind the Honda of Monteiro and Guerrieri but the latter stalled. He was overtaken by a third Honda, the one from Attila Tassi. He put the pressure on the Hungarian rider throughout the race. At the front, Monteiro took the lead. Unfortunately, the Portuguese rider was forced to stop by the decision of the race direction: his engine cover had lost a fastener and was half open!
Until the finish, Jean-Karl was looking for the opening but Tassi did not make any mistake and took his first WTCR victory.
2nd under the chequered flag, Vernay keeps the lead of the championship with 5 points ahead of Attila Tassi, Yvan Muller and Santiago Urrutia.
“The objective of Race 1 was to score points. I had a great start from seventh on the grid, but Girolami didn’t brake and the resulting contact ruined my race,” said Jean-Karl Vernay. “Race 2 was much better and it was great to be in a position to fight for the lead and finish on the podium. We are still leading the drivers’ championship and the aim is to continue this momentum. The season is still very long but the points we took this weekend are very important […] I feel sorry for Tiago, he deserved to win today. In the second race he was easily ahead and I don’t know what happened to him, but it’s a pain when you miss out on a win.”