The fight for the 2019 FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) titles will intensify this weekend as Suzuka hosts the first of three remaining races. Lynk & Co Cyan Racing is right in the title battle and is confident that the WTCR organisation will keep order after an incident-packed race weekend in China last month.
Yvan Muller has fought his way to third position in the points after a strong weekend at Ningbo, China, with two victories. The four-time World Champion is just 16 points from current points leader Norbert Michelisz of Hyundai.
"I have no doubt that the title fight will be very tough and that it will escalate this weekend," said Yvan Muller.
"We saw a lot of incidents at Ningbo but we are confident that the WTCR organisation will make sure that the fights will be fair in the coming races. We had nonetheless a great weekend in China, proving that we are continuing to make progress. I feel strong ahead of Suzuka."
2017 World Champion Thed Björk was on the receiving end of both contact and tactics from rivalling teams in China. The Swede is right behind team-mate Yvan Muller, 38 points from the championship lead.
"The feeling is really tense ahead of Suzuka, you can tell that it's not like before and that a lot is at stake. I think we can score strongly in Japan, but we need to be clever," said Thed Björk.
Yann Ehrlacher has still got a mathematical chance of claiming the title but is further behind, 69 points from the lead in seventh position. The 23-year-old expects the short version of Suzuka to make qualifying the toughest so far this year.
"I think the entire field will be covered by seven to eight tenths maximum in qualifying," said Yann Ehrlacer.
"A small mistake can drop you three to five places. We need to get everything right. I'm really looking forward to Suzuka and I hope that the fight will be fair this weekend."
Suzuka will be another new encounter for three-time World Champion Andy Priaulx who faces a steep learning curve in the two 30-minute practice sessions ahead of qualifying.
“From what I can see from watching races on TV and being on the sim it is a really amazing track," said Andy Priaulx.
"In Ningbo that first win was so near yet so far, so now I am going all out to get it. The races I expect will be really frantic, as it is getting near the end of the season and there is a lot to play for."
The race weekend in Japan starts on Friday October 25th with free practice and qualifying. The first race is held on Saturday while Sunday hosts the two final races of the weekend.
FIA WTCR Race of Japan
Times in CEST (local time is +7h)
Friday October 25th
01:30-02:15 – Free Practice 1
03:15-03:45 – Free Practice 2
06:00-06:30 – Qualifying 1
08:30-09:30 – Qualifying 2
Saturday October 26th
08:05-08:25 – Race 1 (24 laps)
Sunday October 27th
03:00-03:30 – Race 2 (24 laps)
04:30-05:00 – Race 3 (28 laps)
Points for drivers – Top 5
1 Norbert Michelisz Hyundai i30 246 points
2 Esteban Guerrieri Honda Civic 231 (-15)
3 Yvan Muller Lynk & Co 03 230 (-16)
4 Thed Björk Lynk & Co 03 208 (-38)
5 Mikel Azcona Cupra TCR 187 (-59)
7 Yann Ehrlacher Lynk & Co 03 177 (-69)
22 Andy Priaulx Lynk & Co 03 49 (-197)
Points for teams – Top 5
1 Cyan Racing Lynk & Co 438 points
2 Münnich Motorsport 415 (-23)
3 BRC Hyundai Squadra 401 (-37)
4 BRC Hyundai Lukoil 272 (-166)
5 PWR Racing 233 (-205)
6 Cyan Performance Lynk & Co 226 (-212)
What happened in the last race?
Read all about it right here.
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About Cyan Racing
Cyan Racing was founded in 1996 and was formerly named Polestar until Volvo Cars acquired the performance section and trademark in 2015. Cyan Racing is privately owned and operated. The team has claimed multiple titles, most recently the 2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup team title and the double 2017 FIA World Touring Car Championship titles for driver and manufacturer – and participated in the development of the Polestar performance models of the Volvo S60 and V60 in the years 2013 to 2015.
About Lynk & Co
Lynk & Co is the new global urban mobility brand addressing the needs and preferences of the connected generation and challenging auto industry conventions. Its products are designed and engineered in Sweden and will be sold globally.