Pepe Oriola leaves Spa back in the lead of the championship

Craft-Bamboo Lukoil enjoyed a strong weekend in Spa-Francorchamps, with Pepe Oriola retaking the lead of the drivers’ championship from Gianni Morbidelli, and with team-mate James Nash now up to second in the standings, just two points behind heading to Imola.

The Spaniard enjoyed a strong weekend, finishing second in race one, but struggled to make good progress in race two and had to settle for seventh behind team-mate Nash, scoring just six points but vitally jumping ahead of WestCoast Racing’s Gianni Morbidelli in the standings, with the Italian failing to finish the race.

“I’m happy with the result as I am now back in the lead,” said Oriola. “I am a little bit sad because I was a little faster than James (Nash) but I wasn’t going to risk any points for the team,” he added.

Oriola also echoed his team-mate Nash’s sentiment that the Volkswagens have an unfair advantage through the current balancing measures. The Volkswagens of Team WRT finished 1-2-3 in race two, and were quick all weekend but with track limits, technical issues and driving infractions damaging their results in race one.

“I am really happy for the team because we still have a big lead in the teams’ championship and are now one and two in the drivers’. Let’s see the Balance of Performance now that the Volkswagens have had the 1-2-3 because they deserve to have more weight now. I am looking forward to Imola next round so I can increase the gap.”

Oriola will carry 20kg of compensation weight at the next round in Italy courtesy of having scored the second post points over the weekend with 28. Aku Pellinen scored 38 and elevated himself to fourth in the standings and will carry 30kg in his Honda, while Jean-Karl Vernay will carry 10kg onboard his Golf GTI TCR.

“It is nice to be one and two in the drivers’ championship and to also be leading the teams’ championship,” said Craft-Bamboo CEO Richard Coleman.

“The team will look forward to a quick turnaround to Imola, which is a circuit we haven’t been to before but there is no reason why it won’t suit us. My feeling has been that the VW has had an easy time in the BoP and that has been masked by the fact that WRT are new to the series and are new to the car. It is clear now that are on top of things and I hope that the BoP gets adjusted accordingly for Imola.”