FIA WTCR Zandvoort: Second win of the season for Audi Sport
- Jean-Karl Vernay wins in the dunes in Audi RS 3 LMS
- Third podium result within one week for Frédéric Vervisch
- First pole position for Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil team
Who dares wins: the Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team mastered every challenge in its stride at round four of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup. The three races at Zandvoort had many highs and a few lows in store for the Belgian team with the first pole position, an engine change, last place on the grid, a tactical withdrawal, two fastest race laps and 85 points in total. While Jean-Karl Vernay celebrated his second victory of the season after winning a race in the opening round in Morocco, his team mate Gordon Shedden was best Audi Sport driver in the first two races.
On his best race weekend so far with Audi Sport, Gordon Shedden established himself in the top group from the first qualifying session. Third on the grid and fourth in race one were his personal season-best performances. The Scot subsequently fought his way from eighth on the grid to take sixth in the second race and was again best Audi driver. In the third race, Shedden finished fifth. Jean-Karl Vernay meanwhile needed strong nerves in the Netherlands. After taking fifth place in race one, his team discovered an irregularity in the camshaft drive and decided to make a precautionary engine change. The consequence was that he was demoted to the back of the grid for the second race. The following morning, the Frenchman took the first pole position of the year for Audi. In the second race, he set the fastest race lap from last place, but he withdrew after five laps. The chances of making up positions too low, and the risk of damaging his car in the process too high. Instead he started the final race with a perfect Audi RS 3 LMS from pole position. A decision that paid dividends: Vernay set the fastest lap on the way to winning by 1.1 seconds.
“The team, our drivers and our engineers were faced with tough decisions in Zandvoort,” said Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “They kept a steady hand and overcame every challenge thrown at them. The reward was a victory and 85 valuable points in the drivers’ classifications.”
After suffering several setbacks in Zandvoort, Frédéric Vervisch, the third Audi Sport driver, finished the weekend in a positive frame of mind with Audi Sport Team Comtoyou. After retiring from the first race, several competitors attacked him hard in race two. Even so, with a damaged car he still scored two points for ninth place. In the final race, he improved from fourth on the grid to take third place and thus secured his third podium result within a week after having won two trophies at the Nürburgring.
Aurélien Panis had his best race so far. The Frenchman from Comtoyou Racing scored his first two points of the year after finishing tenth in the first race. His team mate and countryman Nathanaël Berthon achieved his third consecutive finish in the points with ninth place in the same race.
The private team Bas Koeten Racing raced into the hearts of the huge crowd with two local drivers. Prince Bernhard van Oranje and his compatriot from the Netherlands Michael Verhagen drove two orange colored Audi RS 3 LMS as guest starters. Both took the checkered flag in all three races ahead of several regular championship participants.
After a break of around one month, the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup resumes for the fifth of its ten events on the Vila Real street circuit in Portugal on June 23–24.