Jean-Karl Vernay admits he could perhaps have been TCR Europe Champion, but for missing the round at Zandvoort in May.
The Team WRT racer eventually finished as Vice-Champion to Mikel Azcona by 22 points despite a late pass on the Spaniard in the season finale at Circuit de Catalunya.
Vernay’s primary focus in 2018 has been the FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) alongside ex-BTCC racer Gordon Shedden.
With the two categories sharing the bill in Holland, Jaap Van Lagen instead deputised for the Frenchman.
Though the regulations permitted Vernay to compete in both championships, the additional risk of picking up accident damage will have likely factored into the 2017 TCR International Series Champion’s thought process.
“I won’t say we should have been champion, but we could have had more chance to win it if we didn’t miss an event,” explained Vernay to TouringCars.net
“Maybe the TCR Europe is not the equivalent of WTCR but a title is a title and for sure we didn’t want to finish second. It’s been a difficult season because of the weight compared to the others.”
“We gave everything, did two pretty cool races. I spent a bit too much time behind Azcona if I wanted to fight for the podium. But we can be really proud of our season even though we didn’t win the championship.”
He also said that, with the Balance of Performance weight and his absence considered, finishing as runner-up overall is something to be proud of.
“We were the only Audi which meant we were always with 60kg, we missed an event and then we had one shitty weekend in Budapest. P2 is already very good and we can be proud, all the sponsors and for Audi and WRT, it’s pretty good. Azcona did a very good season, he was very consistent and has a good car. He did a good job so congratulations to him.”
The Audi Sport racer heads next to the WTCR Race of Japan at Suzuka on 27-28 October.