Pepe Oriola says he ‘could not have had a better season finale’ after ending the inaugural FIA World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) season in joint fifth in the standings, after taking two top ten finishes in Macau.
Oriola went into the weekend battling to end the season in third in the drivers’ standings, having been fourth overall after the previous event in Japan.
By finishing seventh in Saturday’s first race the Campos Racing driver kept that chance alive, but not for long. In race two Oriola was caught up in a multi-car accident at the Lisboa corner, after initially making contact with Yann Ehrlacher, putting him out of the race.
The Spaniard then went on to finish sixth in the final race of the weekend, but it was not quite enough to end the year ahead of Jean-Karl Vernay, who was classified higher by virtue of having taken four wins to Oriola’s one.
Nevertheless, Oriola ends the season with the highest overall placing of a Spanish driver in World Touring Cars, something which the 24-year-old is proud of.
“I am very happy because throughout the season we have gone from less to more,” said Oriola. “We have worked very hard and I have to thank CUPRA and Campos Racing for their support and confidence.
“We have formed a winning team that has taken me to make history and become the best qualified Spanish driver in a World Touring Car Championship.
“To be sixth is a great triumph and more when I’m tied with Vernay in points and just one behind the fourth classified.
“In addition, I finished ahead of [Thed] Björk, the 2017 WTCC champion. So, I have shown, once again, that I am among the best of the championship on a circuit, Macau, which is like my second home and where one of my sponsors comes from. I could not have had a better season finale.”