Jean-Karl Vernay slams the TCR BoP levels after qualifying
Reigning TCR International Series champion Jean-Karl Vernay has joined the growing criticism of the TCR Balance of Performance (BoP) measures after qualifying, with Vernay qualifying as the best of the six Audi drivers in 15th position.
Following on from a introspective take after qualifying on Saturday, when Vernay said the team were still working to find the best from the car, the pace appeared to go up a level on Sunday with the Hyundais unstoppable after qualifying, with their closest threat coming from the Münnich Hondas of Esteban Guerrieri and Yann Ehrlacher.
Mehdi Bennani was the best placed of the Volkswagen-Audi Group cars in seventh after Qualifying 2, 1.4 seconds from Norbert Michelisz’s lap record-setting time of 1:52.1, while Vernay was barely in the 1:53s in the first part of qualifying.
“The problem is we’re having to drive 200%, which is what I did, and when I compare myself to the other Audis, I think we did an OK job, but when I see the gap it’s disgusting, really. I’m really pissed about the FIA and the BoP, it’s a joke, seriously,” said Vernay to TouringCarTimes.
“We saw in Marrakech what happened, and I said it then, if the gap is four-tenths in Marrakech in a race with four corners, it’s going to be at least a second here, and it’s even more.
“Maybe I’m not a good driver, I don’t know. We’re hearing ‘It’s Norbert, he lives here, he knows the track’, etc. and I think that’s really disrespectful to all the other drivers who are not driving the Hyundai and the Honda. I can only drive with what I have, I don’t want to think too much about the BoP, but if they want the championship to be alive until Macau, they’re going to have to do something.”
Vernay is still fourth in the drivers’ standings following his reversed grid race victory three weeks’ ago in Morocco, but is just a few points ahead of Norbert Michelisz, Yvan Muller and Esteban Guerrieri, who are all set to score big in today’s two races with top six starting positions.
“It’s not my job to sort it, Audi’s taking care of the BoP, but for sure we’re not happy,” added Vernay. “When you do your job and do a great lap and at the end you’re P15…I’m sure Francois (Ribeiro, championship promoter) is unhappy too, as for him it’s not as it’s supposed to be. The FIA and TCR have done something wrong; we knew before Marrakech, but they didn’t hear us.”