Marcello Lotti ‘doesn’t understand’ Target withdrawal decision

WSC president Marcello Lotti has insisted that he doesn’t understand the decision taken by Target Competition to withdraw from TCR Europe mid-way through the Paul Ricard weekend.

The Hyundai team announced it was withdrawing from the series with immediate effect after qualifying at the French circuit saw both Dušan Borković and Marco Butti lapping two seconds off the pace of the front-runners.

Target insisted that the decision was because of the ‘very unfavourable’ Balance of Performance in place for the Elantra N TCR, which it argued was rendering the car uncompetitive against its rivals on track.

However, Lotti insisted that he was struggling to understand the decision given the success enjoyed by the Elantra elsewhere this season and expected the team to take a similar move in TCR Italy if it felt unable to compete.

“We take note of the team’s decision, but we don’t understand it, especially as the Hyundai Elantra cars proved to be competitive in all the TCR series around the world while running under the same BoP,” he said.

“Martin Cao leads in the very competitive TCR China after having won three races, Josh Buchan has scored two wins in TCR Australia and lies second in the standings, Mat’o Homola is the leader of TCR Eastern Europe with three wins, in the Kumho TCR World Tour Norbert Michelisz won twice and is second in the points and the Bryan Herta Autosport cars are first and second in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.

“Looking at these results, we can’t share Target Competition’s decision; however, if this is their view, we now expect them to withdraw from TCR Italy as well, where Butti has claimed pole position in all the three events held so far and has won the season opening race at Imola.

“We also expect some kind of reaction from Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing.”

Following the decision to withdraw from the series, the team was hit with fines of €20,000 – €10,000 for each car – as stewards ‘did not receive any official statement or information about the withdrawal of the car from the competition’.

An additional fine of €5,000 per car was handed out for the social media post from the team stating its withdrawal, which was deemed to be ‘behaviour that is unsporting and does not respect the spirit of the series’.