Jean-Karl Vernay says he is confident of producing a better performance in the FIA World Touring Car Cup at the Hungaroring this year than in 2018, despite the circuit not expected to suit the Audi RS3 LMS.
Vernay raced five times on the Hungaroring in 2018 in an Audi, but the Frenchman was only able to score a best result of seventh across the WTCR and TCR Europe races.
Despite that, Vernay feels that he and his WRT team can perform better at the Budapest circuit this year to build on the podium finish he secured last time out in Marrakech.
“I hope we will be so also at the Hungaroring, despite [it] being a challenging track for us,” said Vernay. “The team has worked very well, and I am confident we will be better there than we were last year.
“It will be crucial to bring home as many points as possible, as this year more than ever, the championship is going to be very close.”
Vernay heads to Hungary three weeks after suffering from a high-speed shunt in the final race in Morocco, when his car suffered from a brake failure and he was pitched into the wall at high speed.
“I had a few bruises in my legs because of the accident, but I did not feel stiff. I think it is also due to the intense physical training I did over the winter.
“Although we could have netted two podium finishes instead of one, Marrakech was positive, because we proved competitive.”
WRT Sporting Director Pierre Dieudonné believes that the current Balance of Performance [BoP] measures are working well for the team, allowing the preparation work put in during the off-season to pay dividends.
Nevertheless, the Belgian – a race-winner in the original incarnation of the WTCC in 1987 – is expecting a challenging weekend at the Hungaroring.
“The important thing is that the pace of our cars was excellent and competition very close, which indicates that the Balance of Performance is working better this year,” said Dieudonne.
“It still very early into the season to draw conclusions, but the hard work we have been doing during the winter is yielding its fruits.
“The Hungaroring was a difficult weekend for us last year, it is far from being the track that suits better our cars, but I am confident that the work done is going to allow us to be in a much better position this time.”