After three enthralling weekends of FIA World Touring Car Championship action, the series has its only sequence of back-to-back events.
With Honda and BMW claiming their first race wins of the season at the Slovakia Ring, who will emerge with top honours around the twisty Hungaroring?
|2013 WORLD TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP RACE OF HUNGARY
|Date:||4-5 May 2013|
|Venue:||Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary|
|Race Lap Record:||1:55.937 Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T) – 2012|
|Event Schedule:||Free Practice Session 1||Sat 09:00-09:30|
|Free Practice Session 2||Sat 11:45-12:15|
|Qualifying Session 1||Sat 14:30-14:50|
|Qualifying Session 2||Sat 14:55-15:05|
|Sunday Warm-Up||Sun 08:45-09:00|
|Race 1 (12 laps, 53km)||Sun 12:35-13:05|
|Race 2 (12 laps, 53km)||Sun 14:50-15:20|
|Past Winners:||Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)||2012 (Race 1)|
|Norbert Michelisz (BMW 320TC)||2012 (Race 2)|
|Alain Menu (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)||2011 (Race 1)|
|Yvan Muller (Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T)||2011 (Race 2)|
Having played host to the Formula 1 circus since 1986, the Hungaroring is an iconic venue on the F1 calendar (not least of which because it was the first major motorsport event to occur behind the ‘Iron Curtain’), but also because it is synonymous for its slippery surface and lack of overtaking.
The much bigger braking distances needed for World Touring Car Championship machinery have rendered overtaking concerns to be rather trivial, but the undulating track certainly presents its own challenges.
Its slow-speed corner sequences play into the strengths of a car with good traction and handling, while also rewarding those that can preserve tyre wear.
Rewind to 2012
The Hungaroring was a late addition to the 2011 World Touring Car Championship calendar after the sudden cancellation of the Race of Morocco at Marrakech, and it marked the first time that the championship paid a visit to the country.
With homegrown driver Norbert Michelisz in the field, a huge crowd flocked to the circuit to witness the Hungarian claim an emotional lights-to-flag win in Sunday’s second race:
The opener was dominated by the RML Chevrolet squad, which claimed a podium lockout led by Yvan Muller, who led home teammates Rob Huff and Alain Menu.
This weekend’s event sees a 24-car field tackling the twists and turns of the Hungaroring, with the addition of France’s Hugo Valente joining the grid in a second SEAT being run by the Campos squad. Valente had a couple of WTCC outings late last year.
Here’s this weekend’s provisional entry list:
|1.||Münnich Motorsport||SEAT León WTCC 1.6T||Robert Huff|
|3.||Castrol Honda WTCC Team||Honda Civic WTCC||Gabriele Tarquini|
|5.||Zengõ Motorsport||Honda Civic WTCC||Norbert Michelisz|
|6.||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||BMW 320 TC||Franz Engstler*|
|7.||Liqui Moly Team Engstler||BMW 320 TC||Charles Ka-Ki Ng*|
|9.||Bamboo Engineering||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||Alex MacDowall*|
|10.||LADA Sport Lukoil||LADA Granta||James Thompson|
|11.||LADA Sport Lukoil||LADA Granta||Mikhail Koslovskiy|
|12.||RML Chevrolet||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||Yvan Muller|
|14.||Bamboo Engineering||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||James Nash*|
|15.||ROAL Motorsport||BMW 320 TC||Tom Coronel|
|17.||NIKA Racing||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||Michel Nykjær*|
|18.||Castrol Honda WTCC Team||Honda Civic WTCC||Tiago Monteiro|
|19.||Campos Racing||SEAT León WTCC 1.6T||Fernando Monje*|
|20.||Campos Racing||SEAT León WTCC 1.6T||Hugo Valente*|
|22.||Special Tune Racing||SEAT León WTCC 1.6T||Tom Boardman*|
|23.||RML Chevrolet||Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T||Tom Chilton|
|25.||Proteam Racing||BMW 320 TC||Mehdi Bennani*|
|26.||PB Racing||BMW 320 TC||Stefano D’Aste*|
|37.||Münnich Motorsport||SEAT León WTCC 1.6T||René Münnich*|
|38.||Münnich Motorsport||SEAT León WTCC 1.6T||Marc Basseng|
|55.||ROAL Motorsport||BMW 320 TC||Darryl O’Young*|
|73.||Wiechers-Sport||BMW 320 TC||Fredy Barth*|
|74.||Tuenti Racing Team||SEAT León WTCC 1.6T||Pepe Oriola|
* Denotes Yokohama Independent Trophy competitor. Entry list is subject to final FIA confirmation.
Facts, Stats & Predictions
The 2013 season has been a much more varied affair so far, with five different drivers claiming victory, while four different manufacturers have celebrated wins in the opening six races.
Yvan Muller – the only driver with two wins so far and Hungary’s only multiple racewinner – continues the lead the Drivers’ Championship standings, and he lies 24 clear of Gabriele Tarquini, who rocketed up the standings with Honda’s first manufacturer win last time out at the Slovakia Ring.
The success of the Honda Civics has led to an increase in the three cars’ penalty ballast this weekend, which could give crowd favourite Norbert Michelisz a tougher challenge when it comes to repeating the emotional win he enjoyed here last year.
A drop in weight certainly helped BMW show much more competitive form last weekend in Slovakia – Tom Coronel claimed the marque’s first win of the season in Race 2 – but the 320TCs still lack the outright qualifying speed to make them genuine contenders for Race 1 honours.
This again promises to be a fascinating weekend of touring car action. As always, make sure you visit RichardsF1.com for all of the latest news and analysis from Hungary!