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Preview: Who will #RaceAtHome the best when Pre-season Esports WTCR title battle rages on in Mighty

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ByFIA WTCR
10/07/2020 at 07:00 | Updated 10/07/2020 at 07:02

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The battle for the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship will reach a crucial phase when a virtual Circuito da Guia in Macau hosts the penultimate event of the online version of the WTCR − FIA World Touring Car Cup this Sunday (12 July).

With back-to-back wins at Slovakia Ring and Ningbo International Speedpark, Cyan Racing Lynk & Co’s French flyer Yann Ehrlacher tops the standings by six points ahead of the ultimate-gamer-turned-racer Norbert Michelisz.

BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse-run Michelisz, from Hungary, bagged a maiden Pre-season Esports WTCR win at Ningbo to charge back into title contention. And hopes will be high for a second victory with Eurosport and other channel around the world broadcasting the action from 23h00 CET.

Honda-powered Esteban Guerrieri, who had topped the order for ALL-INKL-COM Münnich Motorsport, is third overall, two points down on Michelisz − the driver who beat him to the real WTCR title last season − and eight adrift of Ehrlacher.

Mato Homola (Slovakia, BRC Racing Team), Attila Tassi (Hungary, ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport) and Mikel Azcona (Spain, CUPRA Racing) are also in title contention with Azcona the only member of the top six yet to win a Pre-season Esports WTCR race.

PROVISIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS AFTER ROUND 8 OF 12:
1 Yann Ehrlacher (France), Cyan Racing Lynk & Co, 129 points
2 Norbert Michelisz (Hungary), BRC N Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse, 123
3 Esteban Guerrieri (Argentina), ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, 121
4 Mato Homola (Slovakia), BRC Racing Team, 117
5 Attila Tassi (Hungary), ALL-INKL.DE Münnich Motorsport, 108
6 Mikel Azcona (Spain), CUPRA Racing, 108
7 Néstor Girolami (Argentina), ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport, 92
8 Niels Langeveld (Netherlands), Comtoyou Team Audi Sport, 87
9 Bence Boldizs (Hungary), Zengő Motorsport, 69
10 Aurélien Comte (France), DG Sport Compétition, 44

Can Björk make his mark on the track he learned online?
Thed Björk was a Macau rookie when the FIA World Touring Car Championship visited in 2017, the year of his world title triumph. Despite never driving there before, Björk described his Macau weekend as “the game-changer” after he finished fourth and fifth in the two races to score crucial points. And it was thanks, in part, to the knowledge of the 6.120-kilometre street course that the Swede had built up driving on his home simulator from RaceRoom Racing Experience.

“Macau was brand new for me and you hear that the first time you go to Macau you are seven seconds off, because Macau is such a challenge,” Björk said. “I was so happy because in the qualifying, [Rob] Huff is just fantastic in Macau, but I was six or seven tenths off him in qualifying. And being near the top there, I went into the mental phase of ‘keep the points, keep the points, don’t do a zero, just focus and don’t hit anything’.”

Björk, part of the Cyan Performance Lynk & Co attack, bought his simulator at “the beginning of 2016 when I was going to learn all the WTCC tracks because I was a rookie,” he recalled. “And I choose Yvan Müller’s car because my car was not in the game. I had no dream about what was going to happen in 2017. I haven’t done so much practicing. Mostly it’s my son who’s practicing, but I’m gonna do the best I can and see how far I can get.”

A step up from Monaco: Coronel can’t hide his Macau fascination
Tom Coronel has made a steady start to the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship in his DHL-backed Comtyou Racing-run Audi RS 3 LMS. He’ll be aiming for a top 10 at one of his favourite tracks, albeit the virtual version.

“If you say a street circuit already a racing driver starts to get excited,” said Dutchman Coronel. “You have Monaco but then you have the next step and it’s Macau. You have the high speed, it’s so tight and it’s easy for somebody in front of you to make a mistake and that will give you a big handicap. Once you’ve touched the barrier and had damage to your car your confidence will be one step down and you will never get it back, never. Once you have a problem you will carry it like a backpack full with led. You have to get in the Macau mode and taste the track, absorb the tension of the whole situation.”

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

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 Pole: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: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 03 TCR

SEASON SO FAR: NINGBO INTERNATIONAL SPEEDPARK RECAP (6 July 2020)
Race 1:
1 Yann Ehrlacher (France) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR
2 Néstor Girolami (Argentina) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R TCR
3 Mikel Azcona (Spain) CUPRA Racing CUPRA Leon Competición
DHL Pole:Yann Ehrlacher (France) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR
Fastest lap:Yann Ehrlacher (France) Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 03 TCR
Race 2:
1 Norbert Michelisz (Hungary) BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Squadra Corse Hyundai i30 N TCR
2 Aurélien Comte (France) DG Sport Compéticion Peugeot 308TCR
3 Mato Homola (Slovakia) BRC Racing Team Hyundai i30 N TCR
DHL Pole:Aurélien Comte (France) DG Sport Compéticion Peugeot 308TCR
Fastest lap:Esteban Guerrieri (Argentina) ALL-INKL.COM Münnich Motorsport Honda Civic Type R 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.

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 Macau round scheduled for 23h00 CET on Sunday 12 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:

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 Macau event on 12 July the Pre-season Esports WTCR Championship reaches its climax at a virtual Sepang International Circuit on 19 July. Eurosport 1 is set to broadcast the action from 23h00 CET.

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

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The post Preview: Who will #RaceAtHome the best when Pre-season Esports WTCR title battle rages on in Mighty Macau appeared first on FIA WTCR | World Touring Car Cup.

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