Photo: WTCC Media

End of term for the 2013 WTCC, as it goes to Macau

The Chinese administrative region of Macau plays host to the FIA World Touring Car Championship for the ninth time this weekend, and as of next year, the event will become the only race which has had a permanent fixture on the WTCC calendar, affirming its position as the Championship’s ‘Blue Riband’ event.

The street circuit hosted a climactic finale last year between the three Chevrolet drivers Rob Huff, Alain Menu and Yvan Muller, with Huff coming out on top at what is perhaps his strongest circuit. This year it’s a much quieter affair, with the drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles already decided, and just a few of the Trophy titles to be finalised.

That said, the drivers are taking second place in the standings quite seriously. Honda’s Gabriele Tarquini currently holds the spot, which will be a strong result for the Japanese manufacturer in its first season, but the RML Chevrolet of Tom Chilton and the bamboo Chevrolet of James Nash are both in with a shout of second as well.

Last year’s champion Rob Huff has the potential to finish in fifth position in this year’s rankings, driving the ageing SEAT León WTCC for the last time before his switch to Lada for next season. The Briton will have a tough fight with last year’s Yokohama Trophy champion Norbert Michelisz at the event. Huff has won five times at the Guia circuit, and holds the qualifying lap record of 2:29.422, and will also be chasing a record breaking sixth win there, but the SEAT hasn’t won at Macau since 2010, then driven by Michelisz, who then took his debut win in the Championship.

“I always look forward to returning to Macau and I adore the Circuito da Guia,” said Huff. “It can never be underestimated – it’s mega! The walls are never far away and the weather is known for being unpredictable so there’s little margin for error; you need your wits about you and it’s all about precision.”

There are still titles to be won however, and the biggest battle remaining is that for the Yokohama Drivers’ Trophy, which is a straight fight between the two bamboo-engineering team-mates James Nash and Alex MacDowall, with one of the team’s drivers now certain to deliver the Silverstone-based operation their first title in their fourth season.

Nash has by far the upper hand. The 27-year-old has a 41 point margin over MacDowall with just 43 to play for, meaning just eighth in class in either race will be enough to secure victory, regardless of MacDowall’s progress.

MacDowall needs to win both races in the category with one of the bonus points in order to stand a chance of overhauling Nash’s lead, which is a tricky feat at the hard-to-pass street circuit.

“We’ve got to absolutely go for it in Macau”, said MacDowall, “Bravery rewards a driver around there, you have to really go for it, have maximum commitment and not be scared of crashing as the quickest line is when you brush the barriers on each side of the track. It’s a fantastic circuit – you really have to drive it on the edge to find the most time.”

Nash’s focus as always is on the overall standings, targeting his former team-mate for third and to end up as best of the remaining Chevrolet drivers behind Yvan Muller.

“The fight for a top three overall is still on and that is what my focus will be on,” said Nash. “Gabriele is probably too far from me now but Tom in third is only seven points away.”

A record entry of 34 cars will take part at the Guia Race, with 11 cars also competing in the Eurosport Asia Trophy which is currently lead by Yukinori Taniguchi.

Guia Race Of Macau Entry List

No – Driver – Nat – Team – Car
1 – Rob Huff – GBR – Münnich Motorsport – SEAT León WTCC
3 – Gabriele Tarquini – ITA – Castrol Honda Racing Team JAS – Honda Civic
5 – Norbert Michelisz – HUN – Zengõ Motorsport – Honda Civic Super 2000 TC
6 – Franz Engstler* – GER – Liqui Moly Team Engstler – BMW 320 TC
7 – Charles Ng* – HKG – Liqui Moly Team Engstler – BMW 320 TC
8 – Mikhail Kozlovskiy – RUS – LADA Sport Lukoil – Lada Granta Sport
9 – Alex MacDowall* – GBR – bamboo-engineering – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
10 – James Thompson – GBR – LADA Sport Lukoil – Lada Granta Sport
12 – Yvan Muller – FRA – RML – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
14 – James Nash* – GBR – bamboo-engineering – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
15 – Tom Coronel – NED – ROAL Motorsport – BMW 320 TC
18 – Tiago Monteiro – POR – Castrol Honda Racing Team JAS – Honda Civic
20 – Hugo Valente* – FRA – Campos Racing – SEAT León WTCC
22 – Tom Boardman* – GBR – Special Tuning Racing – SEAT León WTCC
23 – Tom Chilton – GBR – RML – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
25 – Mehdi Bennani* – MOR – Proteam Racing – BMW 320 TC
26 – Stefano D’Aste* – ITA – PB Racing – BMW 320 TC
33 – Yukinori Taniguchi*^ – JPN – Nika Racing – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
37 – René Münnich* – GER – Münnich Motorsport – SEAT León WTCC
38 – Marc Basseng – GER – Münnich Motorsport – SEAT León WTCC
55 – Darryl O’Young* – HKG – ROAL Motorsport – BMW 320 TC
60 – Filipe de Souza^* – MAC – China Dragon Racing – Chevrolet Cruze LT
61 – Ng Kin Veng^* – MAC – China Dragon Racing – Chevrolet Cruze LT
62 – Lam Kam San*^ – MAC – China Dragon Racing – Chevrolet Lacetti
63 – Célio Alves Dias*^ – MAC – China Dragon Racing – Chevrolet Lacetti
66 – Jerónimo Badaraco^* – MAC – Son Veng Racing – Chevrolet Cruze LT
70 – Jo Merszei*^ – MAC – Liqui Moly Team Engstler – BMW 320si
73 – Fredy Barth* – SUI – Wiechers-Sport – BMW 320 TC
74 – Pepe Oriola – SPN – Tuenti Racing Team – Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T
77 – Mak Ka Lok*^ – MAC – RPM Racing – BMW 320si
79 – Eurico De Jesus*^ – MAC – PAS Macau Racing Team – Honda Accord Euro-R
80 – Michael Soong*^ – MAC – Campos Racing – SEAT León WTCC
81 – Konstantins Calko* – LAT – Campos Racing – SEAT León WTCC
88 – Henry Ho*^ – MAC – Liqui Moly Team Engstler – BMW 320si

* Drivers eligible for the Yokohama Trophy
^ Drivers eligible for the Eurosport Asia Trophy

Guia Race Of Macau Compensation Weight

Car Model – Ballast – Final Weight
Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T – +40kg – 1,190kg
Honda Civic Super 2000 TC – +40kg – 1,190kg
BMW 320 TC – +10kg – 1,160kg
Chevrolet Cruze LT – +0kg – 1,150kg
Chevrolet Lacetti – +0kg – 1,150kg
BMW 320si – +0kg – 1,150kg
Honda Accord Euro-R – +0kg – 1,150kg
SEAT León WTCC – -10kg – 1,140kg
Lada Granta Sport – -20kg – 1,130kg

Guia Race Of Macau Timetable

Thursday 14th November
13:50 – Testing

Friday 15th November
08:30 – Free Practice 1
12:15 – Free Practice 2
15:35 – Qualifying

Sunday 17th November
08:30 – Warm Up
11:05 – Race 1 (9 Laps)
12:20 – Race 2 (9 Laps)

All times are CST. GMT -8/CET -7