At every World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) event on the calendar, two wildcard entries are permitted to take part. This time, as the championship heads to the Slovakiaring, local driver Andrej Studenic will be joined by Czech racer Petr Fulin.
Fulin is no stranger to TCR competition. In 2017, he became the European Touring Car Champion behind the wheel of a Cupra (formerly SEAT Leon) TCR, and has also competed in the now-defunct TCR International Series in an Alfa Romeo with Team Mulsanne.
For his entry into the WTCR, Fulin will pilot his championship-winning Cupra TCR under the banner of his own team, Fulin Race Academy. Eager to get going, the Czech has plenty of experience at the Slovakiaring which he hopes to use to his advantage against some of the world’s most elite touring car drivers:
“On one side it was difficult because we had to find the money but, on the other side, maybe it’s the last opportunity for me to be inside WTCR together with great drivers like Yvan Muller and Gabriele Tarquini. They are not really old but they could soon decide to finish their career so I said I had to be there. Life is short and we have to enjoy it so we decided to race.”
“Our goal is to enjoy the weekend and to have a nice experience. We know the track but we have the oldest car and will have 20 kilograms more inside for the wildcard handicap,”
“Also, the competition will be very strong and Vila Real showed that drivers are able to learn new tracks very quickly. That’s why we are pushing everything preparing for the weekend. Maybe this championship could be something new for next season.”
Studenic meanwhile will compete in a Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR for the Brutal Fish Racing team. The Slovak has sampled a great variety of GT, touring and hillclimb race cars over the course of his career, and will hope to be able to adjust to TCR machinery quite quickly:
“Thanks to Mat’o Homola we got an offer from the WTCR OSCARO promoter to sign up for the WTCR Race of Slovakia. As a team we race in TCR Europe and TCR Middle East. Because of my vast racing experience, the team decided to line me up for the occasion.
“Our Brutal Fish Racing Team owns two Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR cars and I coach our two drivers. I’ve only driven this car for a few dozen kilometres, which is very little compared to the WTCR competition. I do have a lot of racing experience, but not with this type of touring car. I hope the two free practice sessions will be enough for us to set up the car and get a clearer view.
“Naturally we have ambitions, without them we wouldn’t be racing at all. However, I have no clue how we’ll stand up to the experienced competition.”