Twelve months ago, BRC Racing Team left the WTCR Race of Morocco with two race wins and Gabriele Tarquini in the lead of the Drivers Championship. 2019 is a very much different situation.
The new Balance of Performance for this season has been adjudged to have an adverse effect on the Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing teams for the opening weekend of the 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR).
Despite struggling in practice to refine the setup on his Hyundai i30 N TCR, Tarquini was able to stay inside the top half dozen and would enjoy his best starting position of the weekend in the reverse grid race two, where the Italian started alongside stablemate Nicky Catsburg on the front row.
Catsburg, who is making his debut in WTCR this year, was leading comfortably for the first nine laps until a technical issue saw the Dutchman retire. Tarquini picked up the lead and held on, despite a safety car period, to take his first win of the year.
Whilst Tarquini was scoring well up front, the remaining drivers had a torrid time. Norbert Michelisz took his best finish of the weekend in race three, securing eighth place in the second BRC Hyundai N Squadra Corse entry.
In the BRC Hyundai N Lukoil Racing Team lineup, Augusto Farfus enjoyed his return to Touring Car action and managed to take his best finish of eleventh place in race two, whilst Catsburg’s only finish of the weekend came in the first race. Tenth place was scant reward for his hard work.
Hungary is next up on the calendar, with the next three races due to take place at the end of the month on a circuit that should suit the Hyundai, however, they are already playing catchup with twenty-seven races left.