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Pepe Oriola commits to TCR for 2017 season

Pepe Oriola has revealed that he intends to compete in the TCR International Series in 2017, although the Spaniard has not yet finalised his plans or which team he will race for.

Oriola finished fourth in the 2016 championship, despite winning more races than in the 2015 season, when he finished as the runner-up.

He has competed in TCR since the very beginning, racing in both season in 2015 and 2016 at the wheel of a Craft-Bamboo Racing SEAT León.

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In Macau, Oriola went into the weekend with an outside shot at the title, but fifth in race one and third in race two failed to give him enough points to prevent Jean-Karl Vernay passing him in the championship table.

“It has been a very intense season, where I achieved better results than in the previous year in the TCR, but the competition level has been higher,” said the 22-year-old. “This allows the series to become an international reference in touring car competitions.

“I still haven’t finalised anything for next year. I only know that I will continue in the TCR Series, it’s a championship I believe in and I hope to continue involved here for many years.

“I want to thank SEAT Sport for their confidence in me since I started racing touring cars, Craft-Bamboo Lukoil for this season, my family for their unconditional support and, of course, all my fans.”

Despite losing out on a top three championship position, Oriola admits that he was happy with his weekend.

“I am really happy with my podium, because starting from P10 in Macau and getting P3 is fantastic. Every chance I had to overtake I took, and it is great that we could get the podium for the team.

“It was a sad day because James [Nash] lost the championship and I came fourth overall which is not what I wanted. I won the most races this year and it really shows the potential, we just have to work hard to make sure what happened this year doesn’t happen again.”

UPDATE: This article originally alluded to a possible entry for Oriola into the TCR Las Americas series. Whilst this was something which the Spaniard expressed an interest in, the series was ultimately put on hold due to a lack of entries.

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