Pepe Oriola: “It feels like Hyundai are playing with us”

Campos Racing’s Pepe Oriola says the upturn in pace by Hyundai this weekend seems highly suspicious, comparing to two rounds ago at Zandvoort, when all four of the South Korean manufacturer’s cars failed to score a point all weekend.

Equipped with new tyres in qualifying, the Hyundais went two seconds faster than practice, with Gabriele Tarquini and Norbert Michelisz locking out the front row in their Hyunadi i30 N TCRs with Yvan Muller third, nine-tenths behind Tarquini, with Oriola qualifying fifth, separated from the Hyundais by the Peugeot 308TCR of Aurélien Comte.

“It’s obvious that from the first driver to fifth is more than one second, and that’s not what the TCR concept is about,” said Oriola to TouringCarTimes.

“I don’t know if it’s about BoP, boost pressure, but this is something that we weren’t expecting this year, as this is what killed the WTCC, and it looks the same. We have a dominant car and manufacturer. What they were doing in Zandvoort, they were clearly playing; I know something about racing, and with 10mm you don’t go from being two seconds off to being one second in front.

“It feels like they’re playing with us,” he continued. “I’m really happy with the job I’m doing, I’m the first Cupra by far and I improved every lap by two or three tenths, and in the end I’m fifth in the classification which is good.”