Pepe Oriola could move to Target with new Opel Astra

2015 TCR International Series’ runner-up Pepe Oriola is rumoured to be switching to champions Target Competition for 2016, and will also depart the SEAT brand with which he was reunited this season, with Target Competition confirming a change of brand for 2016, which is believed to be the new OPC-developed Opel Astra.

Target have run Oriola’s younger brother Jordi in the SEAT León Eurocup for two years, with the 18-year-old making a strong Macau debut last weekend. The Italian-based operation are switching marques as new manufacturers join TCR, with Opel suspected to placing their new Astra OPC car in the hands of the team.

“Things are going to change next year, we will welcome a new brand, which will give us a strong support,” said co-team principal Andreas Gummerer to TouringCartimes. “The 2015 season was great, but we will no longer have a relationship with SEAT. We are also going to sell our Eurocup Leóns, so we can focus completely on this new chapter for Target Competition.”

Oriola says he wants to stay in TCR for next season, after leaving the WTCC at the end of 2013 at the end of the Super 2000 ‘TC2T’ era.

“I think this championship is growing a lot. At the last race it has nearly 30 cars and there are new brands coming, so we want to stay,” said Oriola to TouringCarTimes.

Drawn on speculation that he is about to leave Hong Kong/UK-based Craft-Bamboo Racing and SEAT after one season with the team, and jump across to Target’s Opel programme. Oriola said it was commercial factors that would drive any such move, and that it was no reflection on Craft-Bamboo.

“I’m really happy with Craft-Bamboo and Lukoil too,” said Oriola. “They’re a really professional team. I’m waiting for some offers though and we’ll see where we’ll go, but if I move it’s not because of them, it’s going to be just because of offers or contracts or things like that.”