FIA World Touring Car Cup regulars Augusto Farfus (BRC Hyundai N LUKOIL Racing Team) and Daniel Haglöf (PWR Racing) will be missing in action at this weekend’s Race of Macau.
Farfus will be attempting to defend his FIA GT World Cup crown on the Guia street circuit, and with Macau regulations prohibiting drivers from contesting more than one category at the event, the Brazilian was forced to choose. Having already confirmed his BMW GT racing programme, he has stepped aside from his WTCR duties.
“It’s painful to be honest because it’s a track where I perform extremely well and I was very much looking forward to being in Macau in WTCR, but also to help the team and to be part of the WTCR family,” Farfus explained.
“Unfortunately, not like [at the] Nürburgring [24 Hours] where I was allowed to race in both [categories] in the same weekend, at Macau, due to different codes, it is not possible. We did try to find a compromise but unfortunately it was out of my control. It’s a one-off [absence] but I’ll be back again [in WTCR].”
His place will be taken by promising German teenager Luca Engstler (pictured top), who impressed in his wildcard outing in a customer Hyundai i30 N TCR at the Race of Slovakia earlier this season. The youngster won this year’s TCR Asia and TCR Malaysia titles, while also claiming race wins in this year’s TCR China and TCR Europe championships.
“I’m really happy to have this chance,” said Engstler. “Since first driving the Hyundai i30 N TCR last year I have been able to progress to first winning races, and then winning championships with the support of the Hyundai Motorsport Customer Racing department and the Junior Driver programme. It will be a new track for me, and I expect the weekend to be very physical with three races on a very demanding street circuit. In such a competitive series as WTCR you need arrive at the start of the weekend completely ready, so I’m using every minute to prepare.”
Over at PWR Racing, meanwhile, Robert Dahlgren will make his WTCR debut this weekend.
PWR Racing owner/driver Daniel Haglöf, who has no previous racing experience on the daunting Macau Guia circuit, has opted to step aside this weekend and hand over to Dahlgren who raced there in the 2011 FIA World Touring Car Championship.
Dahlgren’s appointment is both a reward for winning this year’s TCR Scandinavia title with PWR Racing (pictured below) and also a strategic call by Haglöf to help with rookie teammate Mikel Azcona’s championship challenge. With Azcona also having no Macau experience, it is hoped that the Spanish youngster will benefit from Dahlgren’s prior knowledge.
“I’m both proud and grateful for the opportunity to represent PWR in WTCR,” said Dahlgren. “The whole team have been developing our CUPRA TCRs continuously over the season, both at home in TCR Scandinavia and internationally in WTCR. Therefore, I’m very eager to see how our car works and performs in this environment. Macau is one of the most exciting tracks in the world in my opinion and I’m looking forward to competing there again, helping the team produce the best possible result in this tight championship battle.”
The FIA WTCR Guia Race of Macau takes place from 14-17 November.
Image via TCR Media