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Preview: Ehrlacher on a charge as WTCR drivers prepare to #RaceAtHome in Pre-season Esports

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ByFIA WTCR
03/07/2020 at 07:00 | Updated 03/07/2020 at 07:03

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Yann Ehrlacher plans to capitalise on the momentum generated by scoring his first Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship victory when the online series resumes at a virtual Ningbo International Speedpark in China on Sunday night.

The Cyan Racing Lynk & Co driver won the first of two races at Slovakia Ring last Sunday and has been training hard in his efforts to triumph again for Lynk & Co − the first Chinese car make to win an FIA international motor race − at its ‘home’ event on the RaceRoom Racing Experience platform.

“Even if it’s on the sim and I will be at home in Europe, it still feels like a home track for us as it is in China and that’s the home country for our brand,” said Frenchman Ehrlacher, 24. “The result at the Slovakia Ring was definitely good and confirmed what we have seen from the beginning of the season. We have had the pace but we had some issues in the races with contact. Slovakia was the only race that I was able to manage it from the beginning to the end without any issue and we won it, so it was good confirmation. Ningbo is a completely different type of track but it’s nice to start the event with a good basis and memory.”

Ehrlacher braced for tough technical test
Yann Ehrlacher was one of the first drivers to race at Ningbo for real following the track’s inauguration in September 2017, making him more than aware of the technical challenge offered by the 4.010-kilometre layout. “The track is really technical in real and that means it’s even more technical on the sim. This is because you have less feedback from the car and you have to translate even more information, so it will not be easy,” he said. “But the track is really nice, I’ve been training a lot to make sure I am on the spot with all the braking points and the corner speeds.”

Fond memories boost Lynk & Co-powered young gun
The Lynk & Co 03 TCR registered two wins when Ningbo hosted WTCR Race of China last season courtesy of Yann Ehrlacher’s uncle Yvan Muller. Ehrlacher capped a strong weekend for the Cyan/Lynk & Co alliance by following Muller home in second position in Race 3.

“I hope it will be as representative as the reality because, if it’s like this, then I can have a really good event in Ningo as we had with the team in real life in China last year,” Ehrlacher said. “I hope the car will behave exactly as it was in real life then we should be able to score good points.”

Easy to forget it’s virtual, not real: Erhlacher’s view on RaceRoom’s take on Ningbo
The virtual Ningbo International Speedpark hosts the fourth event of the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship and Yann Ehrlacher has been quick to point out the attention to detail paid by the RaceRooom Racing Experience team behind the online track.

“Honestly when you are driving in the sim after 10 or 15 laps, you can almost forget that you are at home in the sim because you feel you are in China in the car,” Ehrlacher said. “It’s a nice design, all the environment around is quite well represented.”

Of the potential for overtakes, Ehrlacher has a firm plan in place. “It’s the hairpin in sector two, you have a good opportunity to overtake there or make a move at the exit. If the guy is closing the door you take the outside and get a better exit. This corner is the one I would choose if I would make a move.

“A good exit out of the last corner is also important but it’s even more important in qualifying. When you start your lap, you need to optimise the speed approaching T1. In the races it’s almost impossible to overtake at that point without contact but definitely it’s the key point in qualifying.”

Guerrieri goes four it in Pre-season Esports WTCR!
Honda-powered ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport driver Esteban Guerrieri will start the Ningbo Pre-season Esports WTCR double-header back on top in the title chase having lost out to Mato Homola (BRC Racing Team / Hyundai) earlier in the campaign.

The Argentine’s runner-up spot in Race 1 and fourth place in Race 2 at the Slovakia Ring last weekend means he begins the Ningbo event with a four-point advantage in the standings.

“We finished the first half of the competition in the lead of the championship, which again is a good result considering I lost some points through no fault of my own [at the Hungaroring],” said Guerrieri. “Of course, the aim is to keep this up, but I can only control my performances and these will have to be at the same high standard to remain top.”

PROVISIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 6 OF 12:
1 Esteban Guerrieri (Argentina), ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, 99 points
2 Mato Homola (Slovakia), BRC Racing Team, 95
3 Yann Ehrlacher (France), Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, 89
4 Norbert Michelisz (Hungary), BRC N Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse, 89
5 Attila Tassi (Hungary), ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport, 83
6 Mikel Azcona (Spain), CUPRA Racing, 79
7 Néstor Girolami (Argentina), ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, 68
8 Niels Langeveld (Netherlands), Comtoyou Team Audi Sport, 65
9 Bence Boldizs (Hungary), Zengő Motorsport, 55
10 Yvan Muller (France), Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, 33

SEASON SO FAR: SALZBURGRING RESULTS RECAP (14 June 2020)

Race 1:
1 Esteban Guerrieri (Argentina) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
2 Mato Homola (Slovakia) BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR
3 Norbert Michelisz (Hungary) BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR
DHL Position:Mikel Azcona (Spain) CUPRA Racing CUPRA Leon Competición
Fastest lap:Yann Ehrlacher (France) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR

Race 2:
1 Attila Tassi (Hungary) ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
2 Mikel Azcona (Spain) CUPRA Racing CUPRA Leon Competición
3 Niels Langeveld (Netherlands) Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS
DHL Pole Position:Thed Björk (Sweden) Cyan Performance Lynk & Co Lynk & Co 03 TCR
Fastest lap:Niels Langeveld (Netherlands) Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS

SEASON SO FAR: HUNGARORING RESULTS RECAP (21 June 2020)

Race 1:
1 Mato Homola (Slovakia) BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR
2 Norbert Michelisz (Hungary) BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR
3 Esteban Guerrieri (Argentina) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
DHL Pole:Esteban Guerrieri (Argentina) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
Fastest lap:Norbert Michelisz (Hungary) BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR

Race 2
1 Néstor Girolami (Argentina) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
2 Attila Tassi (Hungary) ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
3 Mikel Azcona (Spain) CUPRA Racing CUPRA Leon Competición
DHL Pole:Aurélien Comte (France) DG Sport Compétition Peugeot 308TCR
Fastest lap:Néstor Girolami (Argentina) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR

SEASON SO FAR: SLOVAKIA RING RESULTS RECAP (28 June 2020)

Race 1:
1 Yann Ehrlacher (France) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR
2 Esteban Guerrieri (Argentina) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
3 Niels Langeveld (Netherlands) Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS
DHL Pole:Yann Ehrlacher (France) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR
Fastest lap:Niels Langeveld (Netherlands) Comtoyou Team Audi Sport Audi RS 3 LMS

Race 2:
1 Attila Tassi (Hungary) ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
2 Mikel Azcona (Spain) CUPRA Racing CUPRA Leon Competición
3 Mato Homola (Slovakia) BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR
DHL Pole:Attila Tassi (Hungary) ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
Fastest lap:Yann Ehrlacher (France) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 0 TCR

What is Pre-season Esports WTCR?
Held over six weekends until 19 July on the RaceRoom Racing Experience platform, the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship is exclusively for drivers from the WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup and gives fans the chance to watch virtual WTCR racing with a difference.

All drivers taking part will have a webcam and microphone connected, making it possible for viewers to see and hear their heroes during the races. The microphone feature will also allow drivers to be interviewed as well as interacting with their rivals. Videos of drivers on their simulators, at home and enjoying some fun moments will also be shared during the one-hour shows.

New-for-2020-liveries will be used with six epic tracks, including three that will feature in the real WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup, providing the challenge. And with the real WTCR set to visit the Slovakia Ring in October, the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship will provide a virtual taster of what’s to come in a few months from now.

Who’s on the virtual grid?
The following drivers are entered for the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship:

#1: Norbert Michelisz (Hungary), BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse, Hyundai i30 N TCR
#7: Aurélien Comte (France), DG Sport Compétition, Peugeot 308TCR
#9: Attila Tassi (Hungary), ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR
#10: Niels Langeveld (Netherlands), Comtoyou Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS
#11: Thed Björk (Sweden), Cyan Performance Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR
#18: Tiago Monteiro (Portugal), ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR
#29: Néstor Girolami (Argentina), ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR
#31: Tom Coronel (Netherlands), Comtoyou Team Audi Sport, Audi RS 3 LMS
#55: Bence Boldizs (Hungary), Zengő Motorsport, CUPRA Leon Competición
#65: Kevin Ceccon (Italy), Team Mulsanne, Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR by Romeo Ferraris
#68: Yann Ehrlacher (France), Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR
#70: Mato Homola (Slovakia), BRC Racing Team, Hyundai i30 N TCR
#86: Esteban Guerrieri (Argentina), ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, Honda Civic Type R TCR
#96: Mikel Azcona (Spain), CUPRA Racing, CUPRA Leon Competición
#100: Yvan Muller (France), Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR
#111: Andy Priaulx (Great Britain), Cyan Performance Lynk & Co, Lynk & Co 03 TCR

Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship format explained
Each Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship event will feature a 10-minute qualifying session followed by a top-five Superpole shootout, which will be included in the official broadcast.

Race 1 will last for 12 minutes with the grid using the combined qualifying results. Race 2 will also last for 12 minutes but with the top 10 qualifying results reversed to form the first five rows of the grid. Cars will appear as they will look when the WTCR begins, as planned, for real later this year.

What will you watch?
The Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship programmes will benefit from the same in-house production expertise as the real-life WTCR broadcasts in partnership with technical provider AMP Visual. The work of a 30-person team, the shows will have the same ‘look and feel’ as the WTCR broadcasts with identical on-screen graphics and expert commentary on the global feed from the voice of WTCR Martin Haven. WTCR pitlane reporter Alexandra Legouix will present the action and interview the drivers while they race at home. Esports WTCR commentator James Kirk joins the team to provide an expert view on simracing.

How to watch?
Eurosport 1 will broadcast all Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship events with the Ningbo round scheduled for 23h00 CET on Sunday 5 July (local broadcast schedules may differ and should always be consulted). The programmes will be available on the WTCR’s social media channels from 09h00 CET the next day.

In addition to coverage on Eurosport in 54 countries, Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship events will be shown on the following channels with more to be announced:

Astro (Malaysia)
Bein Sport (MENA region)
Eurosport India
Huya (China)
Motorsport.tv
Motowizja (Poland)
RTBF Auvio (Belgium)
SKY TV (New Zealand)
StarTimes (sub-Saharan Africa)
SuperSport (South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa)
Tencent (China)
Three (New Zealand)

Making it happen for the fans
Organised to give WTCR drivers the chance to engage with fans through the WTCR’s social media platforms while they wait the start of the 2020 campaign and a prelude to the full Esports WTCR online championship due to begin later this year, the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship from RaceRoom in partnership with Eurosport Events lists Goodyear, TAG Heuer, DHL, KW Suspensions, TrackTime and Liqui Moly as partners with a TAG Heuer watch going to the champion. The series will promote the FIA’s #RaceAtHome campaign.

Where’s next?
Following the Ningbo event on 5 July the remaining Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship calendar looks like this:

12 July: Circuito da Guia, Macau (Eurosport broadcast time: 23h00 CET)
19 July: Sepang International Circuit (Eurosport broadcast time: 23h00 CET)

More than a game:Clickhereto view the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship announcement.

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The post Preview: Ehrlacher on a charge as WTCR drivers prepare to #RaceAtHome in Pre-season Esports Championship appeared first on FIA WTCR | World Touring Car Cup.

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