Teams were set to boycott the Zandvoort race due to BoP changes
The Zandvoort race weekend nearly took a negative turn on Saturday, with TouringCarTimes understanding that four teams had told the organisers they would not race unless the Balance of Performance (BoP) changes handed to Lynk & Co were changed.
Lynk & Co had been handed a performance increase ahead of the weekend, after the Chinese manufacturer’s cars were off the pace a week ago at the Slovakiaring. The TCR technical regulations owner WSC Group granted them an increase in power to 100%, while counteracting some of the affect by adding an additional 10kg of ballast.
On Saturday morning, the Cyan Racing-run cars then dominated qualifying, locking out the top four positions, more than half a second clear of the field which was otherwise incredibly close. Many teams then called foul, and accused Cyan Racing of deliberately sandbagging at the Slovakiaring in order to get both a reduction in the FIA calculated compensation weight, and a BoP adjustment from TCR.
In a meeting of all the WTCR team managers, which Yvan Muller alluded to in his post qualifying interview on Sunday as “a secret meeting” among the teams due to the lack of attendance by Cyan Racing, an immediate change in the BoP was demanded, with four teams understood to have said they would not take part in the race if the BoP remained as it was.
Another team also then indicated they were also looking to pull out of the race, which could have seen 16 of 26 cars missing from the grid.
None of Lynk & Co’s rivals were accepting of the BoP adjustment that Lynk & Co had been given. Comtoyou Racing team principal Jean-Michel Beart voiced his disgust with the decision even before the weekend began on Friday, and his disappointment with the lack of transparency over the change, and chose to leave the circuit for the remainder of the weekend.
One of the teams stated the situation was reminiscent of “the Citroën situation”, with the source saying “This is basically a factory programme. Geely build the cars, but they are run by one team. No one else has the cars. It’s not the same as Hyundai this time last year, as their cars were available to everyone else and racing in other series; this is just like when Citroën came into WTCC with a car which only they knew the full potential of.”
In respect of the “secret meeting”, one of the organisers confirmed all team managers were invited to the discussion, including the team manager of Cyan Racing (Fredrik Wahlén), but he didn’t attend, though they admitted the meeting was held at short notice due to the tight timetable and the urgency of the issue.
WSC Group quickly restored the BoP to the same level as the previous three rounds, which was ratified by the FIA Touring Car Committee, and applied before the afternoon’s race.
Cyan Racing went on to win Race 1, just ahead of the Cupra TCR of Mikel Azcona, and then went on to take pole position on Sunday with the revised BoP, but this time their leading driver Yann Ehrlacher was only one-tenth of a second clear of Hyundai driver Norbert Michelisz.