WTCC Finale Preview

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Tarquini, Muller, Farfus, Macau.

It all comes down to this.

Once more the fight of the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) has come down to the final double header weekend at Macau, with three drivers from two different manufacturers still in contention.

Tarquini has only a slender two point margin over his SEAT Sport teammate (and reigning champion) Yvan Muller, with BMW driver Farfus 13 points behind the Italian.

The weekend, which forms the famous Guia Touring Car race at Macau as well as the WTCC finale follows the normal two races schedule with the potentially crucial 8-place reverse grid in the second race.

With a 13 point deficit back to Farfus, you might think the title is between the two SEATs, but Macau is a track that can spring surprises, Farfus won the second race last year (after bundling James Thompson's Honda out of the way) and has continued his form to the opening sessions of this year's meeting, setting the fastest time of the test session, followed by BMW teammate Jorg Muller. The Brazilian, whose season has been earmarked with some aggressive driving has also warned that he has “nothing to lose” ahead of the weekend.

The role of teammates and team orders could be vital, with previous WTCC meetings seeing manufacturer cooperation help drivers to wins and pole positions, due to the five car draft trains both the SEAT and BMW works teams are capable of creating.

Qualifying at Macau, like many street tracks, can be a huge factor in the final result as although the wide straights are a feature of the first half of the track the second half is narrow and twisting. A place barely wide enough for a pair of Touring Cars and with barriers that can end a race in an instant, and with the field boosted by several local drivers a DNF in race one could see a race two spent struggling through the pack.

But will all the BMW drivers fall in line to help Farfus recover the title from SEAT? How will the SEAT team use the trio – Rickard Rydell, Tiago Monteiro and Jordi Gene – not battling for the title? Will it let Tarquini and Muller fight and potentially take each other out, risking handing Farfus the drivers' crown and BMW the manufacturers' title, where SEAT have only a three point advantage.

Adding more uncertainty to the mix are the fortunes of the Chevrolet and Lada teams. The latter continue to improve their Priora model, and once more have James Thompson, who scored two sixth places in Italy, and so nearly took a win last year at Macau.

Chevrolet, however, are a real threat for victories. Rob Huff was third behind the two BMWs in the test session and the Cruze, which debuted this season has arguably been the best car to have on the street courses, with Huff and teammates Alain Menu and Nicola Larini combining to win all four races at Marrakech and Pau, the French track that is perhaps as close to Macau as any other circuit.

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About author
James is our Diet-Coke fuelled writer and has been with TCF pretty much since day 1, he can be found frequenting twitter at @_JBroomhead
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