FIA WTCR - Race of Czech - 08-10/10/2021 - For this fifth round of the 2021 WTCR season, Jean-Karl Vernay was hoping for a rebound that did not come. Despite a good qualification with a 5th time, the results of the weekend were not up to his expectations and the Engstler Motorsport team.
Race 1: Vernay avoids chaos
The Frenchman started well from his 6th position on the grid, but with an incredible reflex, he escaped the chaos caused by the failed braking of Michelisz. The rest of the race was then a long procession, the weight of the Hyundai Elantra N TCR (success ballast) not allowing him to come back on the cars in front of him and to resist to the attacks coming from the back. In these conditions, the points for 6th place in the end were welcome.
Race 2: a penalty that hurts
5th at the start of the race, “Jay-Kay” was locked in and lost a position. He resisted the pressure of Muller and seemed to be well on his way to keep this position until the finish, but the race direction decided otherwise.
On the grid, Engstler Hyundai N Liqui Moly Racing Team had discovered a problem with the #69 Hyundai Elantra N TCR and had started to work on it. But to be in order, the car had to be put back on its wheels before the 3-minute mark of the starting procedure.
Vernay had to do a drive through and dropped to 14th place, saving 2 small points and moving from 3rd to 5th place in the drivers’ championship standings.
After the weekend at the Most Autodrom, Vernay is now fifth in the drivers’ standings, Engstler is 16th, while the team remains fifth.
After the race, the driver was lucid: “In race 1, we could have been a bit luckier and claimed a place on the podium, but it could also have gone the other way and our race could have been over at the first corner! My start was good but I was delayed by the incidents in front. Then the car was not performing well and we suspected that something was damaged. In the second race I had a bad start, but I only lost one position. My pace was good but it was difficult to overtake. On the grid we had discovered that the anti-roll bar was broken and we had to change it, but we weren’t able to put the car back on its wheels when we needed to, and the penalty fell.”
There was no time to gamble. The WTCR will continue next weekend and will take place for the first time in France, on the circuit of Pau-Arnos.