i30 N TCR customers MRacing-YMR and BRC Racing Team’s Gabriele Tarquini captured the teams’ and drivers’ titles respectively on the final weekend of the 2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) season at the Guia Circuit in Macau.
In Race 1 Tarquini made a good start in his BRC racing Team i30 N TCR to move from seventh into fourth before breaking for turn 3, Lisboa. The Italian was then able to hold onto his position, surviving two restarts after safety car periods. By finishing second, after having taken an early lead, MRacing driver Yvan Muller was able to narrow the gap slightly to his championship rival. However, importantly, the result helped to narrow the championship contenders from seven to just he and Tarquini before Sunday’s races.
Race 2 proved dramatic from the very start. 14th on the grid Tarquini found himself an innocent victim of an accident ahead, a chain-reaction through the field resulting in heavy front end damage to the #30 i30 N TCR. He was able to bring the car back to the pit, allowing the team extra time to prepare for Race 3. Muller meanwhile, made up a place in the opening corners from fifth on the grid. He later made the move into third to take a second podium of the weekend, and close the gap to Tarquini to just 18 points ahead of the finale.
Tarquini made a great start to Race three, climbing into the top-ten on the opening lap while Muller settled into fifth place, one place behind Norbert Michelisz’s BRC Racing Team entry. Even once promoted into fourth place – still with Michelisz ahead – the 16 points he won were not enough to overhaul Tarquini’s advantage as he completed the race in tenth before taking to the podium as the drivers’ champion.
Mr. E. S. Chung, Executive Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Group said: “We are extremely proud to see a Hyundai customer secure the inaugural FIA World Touring Car Cup title. Congratulations to the MRacing-YMR team and Gabriele Tarquini on a great job this season. It is an honour to have seen our Hyundai i30 N TCR performing so strongly against impressive competitors in the maiden season of WTCR, and indeed around the world. It is testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone at Hyundai Motorsport. Customer Racing plays an important role in our global brand strategy, so it is fantastic that we can celebrate such a milestone achievement in WTCR. For the Hyundai name to feature so prominently in circuit racing is a real privilege, and I am hopeful it will lead to greater things in the future.”
Andrea Adamo, Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing Deputy General Manager said: “This is a massive achievement for the Hyundai i30 N TCR, and of course for Gabriele Tarquini and MRacing. I can only congratulate them further on superb seasons in the series. The FIA World Touring Car Cup has been hugely competitive, both in for the drivers and teams categories, so for our customers to come away first and second in both standings is the perfect demonstration of the performance of the car. For the i30 N TCR to end its first season of racing with the two most prestigious titles in TCR competition, is the perfect reward for everyone who has worked on the project.”
Gabriele Tarquini said: “It’s obviously a great feeling to win the title. It’s been a year of hard work, not only for me, but by all of the BRC Racing Team and Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing as well. The competition in FIA WTCR this year has been fantastic – right down the final race. There have been so many good moments, and the Hyundai i30 N TCR has proved itself to be the car to beat all season. I, in fact all the Hyundai drivers, have been fast and consistent all year, and with both titles for a Hyundai there is the evidence to prove it.”
*Subject to confirmation of the results by the FIA