Yukinori Taniguchi is all but certain of claiming the inaugural Eurosport Asia Trophy title at next weekend’s World Touring Car Championship finale at Macau after securing a deal to drive for NIKA Racing.
Having driven a Weichers-Sport BMW and Campos Racing SEAT León at the last two rounds in Japan and China, respectively, the deal means that Taniguchi will become the first driver in WTCC history to pilot three different cars and drive for three different teams in a single season.
With a maximum of 20 championship points up for grabs, Taniguchi’s 17-point lead in the Asia Trophy looks all but insurmountable, particularly now he will be in the most competitive car on the grid.
Taniguchi is no stranger to the Chevrolet Cruze 1.6T, having piloted one full-time for Bamboo Engineering in 2011.
Taniguchi’s fellow countryman Hiroki Yoshimoto had been slated to drive for NIKA Racing at Macau – as he had done for the team at his home race at Suzuka – but a last-minute schedule clash has effectively opened the way for Taniguchi to snaffle the seat.
That still leaves the third Campos Racing SEAT León seat up for grabs ahead of next weekend’s season finale. The car was meant to have been driven by Macau racer André Couto, who instead took up a drive in the Audi R8 LMS Cup series.